"There is a mystery to all love. Why does this one man so move me? Why does this small corner of our planet make me feel that I am home?" - Two-Part Invention by Madeleine L'Engle
Love for people truly is a mystery. Why did I fall in love with Chuck? How is it I love my children, and grandchildren, more than anyone else’s children? What is this connection to my brothers? How do I explain this love for my parents? Or the special bond I’ve had with a very few dear friends? And the cousins!!
More mysterious than that is God’s love for us. I could make a long list of attributes I love and admire about all the people I mentioned. But, what attributes do I have that would make God love me? The only good in me is what He’s put there.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8
"Music, too, tends to pluck at the chords of emotion. Tears are healing. I do not want to cry when I am not alone, but by myself I don't try to hold the tears back. In a sense this solitary weeping is a form of prayer." - Two-Part Invention by Madeleine L'Engle
I understand exactly what she means. I try not to cry in public, but it’s difficult at church sometimes. Oh, that music. The hymns he loved get me every time; at home it might be other music. Especially, but not limited to, The Avett Brothers. Occasionally it’s a scene in a movie. Or a beautiful evening sky. Or dates on the calendar.
Sometimes I’ll come across something that probably only I would understand. Like a book he read where some of the sentences were underlined. He would use an index card and make the lines perfectly straight. I’ve even found a card a time or two, with the edge faintly marked with ink where he had used it.
He was by no means OCD, but he did have these little endearing habits. Like buying the same socks and underwear at JC Penney. Or washing his work shirts every Tuesday. As often as my schedule allowed I’d do it for him. And he always thanked me. Now, this was YEARS into our marriage, not when I had four kids running underfoot and would have loved him to wash some shirts for ME. But, we all tend to mellow and learn so much as we age. As we should. And he thanked me!
"And he sits there staring at something we cannot see." - Madeleine L'Engle,Two-Part Invention, speaking of her husband in his last days at home.
I felt like Chuck did that – stared at something we did not see. Or sat with his eyes closed, just too fatigued to keep them open.
I think of the angel guard around Elisha and like to imagine just such a group around Chuck, giving comfort that we didn’t know about. I imagine him closing his eyes to me, Kat, and Leah and then opening them to a band of angels and Christ, himself. I am still so full of questions about death that I know will not be answered until I myself die.
All I know is this – “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen…” – Hebrews 11:1
“As the years have moved on, our explosions have become far less frequent as we have learned to live with each other, accepting each other’s edges and corners.”-Two-Part Invention by Madeleine L’Engle
I love that phrase “edges and corners”. We all have them. At times I have been like a dodecagon (yes, I looked it up), all full of edges and corners plus prickles like a porcupine. But, as time wore on, I was more like the glass I ordered a few weeks ago. I bought a piece of glass to put on top of my great-grandmother’s sewing machine so I could use it for a table. They beveled the glass so the edges would be smooth and polished. I think Chuck and I both became more rounded and mellow over the years. We argued less and gave more than took from each other.
It is rare and wonderful when family members are best friends. – A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sittser
Chuck and I were best friends. I count my brothers as pretty good friends, too.
“…any God worth believing in is the God not only of the immensities of the galaxies I rejoice in at night when I walk the dogs, but also the God who cares about the sufferings of us human beings and is here, with us, for us, in our pain and in our joy… I need a God who is with us always, everywhere, in the deepest depths as well as the highest heights.” -Two-Part Invention by Madeleine L’Engle
This song has taken on new meaning for me this year. In peace and in sorrow, He is there. He is here.
It is providential that it was the hymn I read this past Sunday afternoon, still going through Aunt Marie’s hymnal. The story of this hymn was briefly mentioned that morning at church. You can read about it HERE.
Last year, my dear friend, Jeannie, gave me a necklace inscribed with this song title. It has become precious to me. I thank God for people like Horatio Spafford and Jeannie.
I wrote this three years ago. Rather apropos today…
I find myself questioning without doubting
Not understanding but believing
For what is faith?
The substance of things hoped for
Even when my mind is perplexed
My heart is pierced with truth
The evidence of things not seen but sure
Indications and manifestations to hold me
To keep me on the way
Hope, that thing with feathers
Faith fluttering as a breeze
Mystifying yet dependable
“…you don’t have to understand things for them to be.” – from A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.
As some of you are aware, I put in for retirement effective June 1 and we placed our home on the market. The house went under contract immediately and we close on 5/19/20.
Unfortunately a few weeks ago I was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. We have consulted with UAB oncologists and decided to return to Jax, FL as planned and I have an appointment at Mayo Clinic this Thursday.
I wish all of you the very best in all life as to offer. Angie and I covet your prayers for strength, wisdom and that the Lord be glorified in our circumstances.
According to the Scripture all 'our days are numbered' so whether mine are few or many "I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ; who with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for my sins..."
Please forgive me if I ever offended you in anyway, it is never intentional but still there is no excuse.
I pray his blessings upon each of you.
Just a little over a month after this Chuck was gone.
I just finished reading Two-Part Invention by Madeleine L’Engle. I didn’t realize when I started it that it was not only a memoir of her marriage but a very detailed telling of her husband’s death. They were married forty years and their relationship was so very much like Chuck’s and mine, though our lives and careers couldn’t have been more different.
She tells of their first date: “But we had talked for ten hours without noticing the time passing.” This is very much what happened with us – maybe not ten hours in one setting, but we talked and talked on each date. I miss those talks.
“When Christ was born as a human baby, he ensured that He would die, because death is something that comes to every human being. But because Jesus Christ was wholly God as well as wholly human, He rose from the grave, to the astonishment not only of the Roman overlords and the powerful Jews in the Sanhedrin, but to the astonishment of all those who had been with Him during His earthly life. The Resurrection, too, is beyond the realm of fact and bursts into the realm of love, of truth, for in Jesus, truth and love are one and the same.” – from The Rock That is Higher by Madeleine L’Engle.
I enjoy the lights and presents and coziness of family as much as the next person. But, I also have a sadness in my heart when I see so many who don’t know this Christ that Christmas is supposed to be about. “Away in a Manger” for most is a cute song kids sing in little choirs, along with “Jingle Bells” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”.
Listen to a song that tells more of the story of Christmas
O Come O Come Emmanuel
O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer Our spirits by Thine advent here Disperse the gloomy clouds of night And death’s dark shadows put to flight
“What can we prove about Christ’s coming in glory? Nothing. It is far beyond the language of limited proof. Indeed, our entire faith rests on a joyous acceptance of the factually impossible. When we celebrate Christmas we are celebrating that amazing time when the Word that shouted all galaxies into being, limited all power, and for love of us came to us in the powerless body of a human baby. My faith is based on this incredible act of love, and if my faith is real it will be expressed in how I live my life, but it is outside the realm of laboratory or scientific proof.” – from The Rock That is Higher by Madeleine L’Engle
Sometimes we, I, get caught up in trying to figure everything out. Trying to prove things. I forget what my faith is all about when I get caught up in the way the world thinks.
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29
There are some things I may never understand. But, there are many that I do and many that I should. There are enough things made clear in scripture that I can wait to understand the other things.
Today is The Avett Brothers concert in Pelham, Alabama. As hard as it is to listen to sometimes, I sure hope they play No Hard Feelings.
“Why does it seem so often to be a human quality to forget those who have done good things for us, and to remember those who have hurt us?” – from Sold Into Egypt by Madeleine L’Engle.
“Even as a tiny girl, she would just absorb the meanness of people around her, and as that strange girl slapped her, Margaret literally turned the other cheek. ‘I just took it,’ she said sixty years later. ” – from Ava’s Man by Rick Bragg