Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Day in the Sun

The valley I live in is well known for its fog. Fog that gets so dense it becomes very dangerous to drive. When the fog rolls in to stay I find that I get rather claustrophobic. I told myself that this year I was going to escape the fog and head to the bay where the sun shines brightly in the winter. So, a dear friend and I headed over the hills to bask in the sun and get some much needed vitamin D.
But, the National Cemetery that Eric is buried in sits right at the base of one of the mountain passes that leads us to the ocean. I knew that I would not be able to go to the other side of the mountain without first dealing with what was on this side.
We found the site where Eric's stone is. It turned out exactly the way I wanted it to. My only regret is that there was not enough room to add how much he loved his family and friends. Eric just plain loved life and everyone who met him was infected with this love. As I walked closer to the stone I was overwhelmed with what has happened to me this past year. I said good-bye to the most important person in my life. I have now had to take on the responsibility of raising our children and the loneliness of being by myself on this journey.

There are times when I think that this is truly a nightmare. It is obviously not the way I would have planned my life...but, then again, if I could plan my life would I put any sorrow, any trials, any difficulties in my path? I have no desire to inflict pain upon myself. In my human flesh I would risk spiritual growth for happiness. It brings you to your knees in humble gratitude when you realize that the Lord God Almighty plans these things into our earthly lives for our good and for His glory. We grow through pain. We mature through the trials we have to walk through. We become dependent on Christ when we find how weak we are on our own.
This is the reason why I find myself compelled to walk into the pain of suffering. The sorrow is deep and the tears are true. But, they are pure...because they are a sweet gift from a loving Father. There is no self-pity here because I am willing to admit that this is good for me.

Kendra and I have been friends for almost fifteen years. I met Kendra when I was facilitating a Mommy's biblestudy group. We have sang together, recorded together, hosted parties together, and enjoyed gourmet ice cream together. She listens without judging but is definitely a voice of reason in my life. We both love to read and knit (although she is much better at it than I). She even reads the menu for me when we are in a dark that is a friend! She is one of those people that I am blessed to call my close friend.
Yesterday Kendra drove me to the cemetery and then walked and cried with me as I faced the physical reality of Eric's death. We spent the rest of the day in Gilroy, the garlic capitol of the world. We were suppose to go all the way over to the ocean but ended up shopping instead. How often does a mom of eight and a mom of six get to go try on shoes and clothes and browse through a bookstore?
While we were driving back into the fog (a rather nail-biting experience!) we both started elaborating on the subject of the simple white line that follows the edge of the road. When you take a driver's training course in the valley you learn that those white lines are your guide on foggy days. They can save your life. There are times when that is the only thing you see on the road. There is a life lesson hidden in that white paint. Sometimes we just do not see more than a few feet in front of us but the white line keeps us on the road. If you look into the fog you will be disoriented but if you keep your eyes on the right side of the road you will continue safely to your destination.
Isn't that like life? If I look too far into the future I will see only fog but if I keep my eyes on the next step I will continue on the course safely. Eventually the fog will lift but for the time being this is where I am.


godlover said...

What a beautiful post, Heather. Yes, God does, indeed, plan hardships and trials into our lives because, as you said so well, we grow through them and we become better, more balanced and compassionate people because of them. Simply put, we become more like Christ which is our goal in this life. Glad you had a day in the sun and I'm praising God for the work He is doing in you. When my son died, I kept asking, "Where did he go? Where did he go?" He was there and then suddenly he was gone to some far off untouchable place that I was not familiar with. Death is such a hard lesson, but it's one that even our Savior learned and through it He became obedient unto death. Death is the bottom line in any equation. Some are blessed by the answers to those equations. God is a God of blessing and of peace and love. In Eric's death you experienced something valuable that could not be learned in any other way. Come on up to the hills where the sun shines almost every day.
Love ya,

da halls said...

I continue to pray for you, Heather.


Peanut Butter Kisses said...

I find it interesting that many of the things that you share from your heart have been an encouragement or similar to something on my own heart as to things that are going on in my own life. Sometimes the loss or gut-wrenching agony that we go through can minister to others no matter what the pain we are dealing with. I thank you for sharing your heart and your tender pain with us. I have been encouraged time and time again with your honesty and your walk of faith. You continue to be in my prayers.

-Heather W.