He answered, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, 'Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.' But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me."
--2 Samuel 12:22-23
It’s cold. The wind is whipping around my coat’s hood and it makes my eyes water. (It’s only the wind doing that.)
There is a Civil War vet buried here at Zion Memorial Cemetery, not so common in the Pacific Northwest. The old section of the graveyard has ornate, sometimes tall, stones. The moss and lichen worked at them for over a hundred years, making it difficult reading. There aren’t a lot of things around that old. Native American petraglyphs, some trees, this cemetery.
The stones tell stories. There is the row of five stones by the sexton’s house. The three children dying within two weeks. The father two weeks after they were buried. The mother, 25 years later. She had caught tuberculosis and went to live in a tent while he, in an attempt to keep their children safe, burned their belongings. It didn’t help. They became sick. They died. He died. And she lived on another quarter century in an empty house.
There is the story behind the stone I always stop to read.
William David Greenleaf
August 30 -December 15, 1992
August 30 -December 15, 1992
That was a difficult day.
Man, it’s cold out!
I’ve been thinking about this blog. I’ve been thinking about suffering. About disease and hurricanes and wars and earthquakes and tsunamis. I’ve been thinking about parents holding their dead children. I’ve been thinking about Job.
Life is hard.
Sometimes life sucks.
I always feel a little blue this time of year. I shove it aside and work at being all that is right about Christmas for my children. But I feel a little blue.
That is OK.
The Book of Job is about suffering and I continue to grow in my understanding of the book and its message.
Sometimes pain and grief is a throbbing sharp spiky thing that one doesn’t know how to hold. Other times it is a wind that blows across great distances, over mountains and snow and whips around the edge of your tightly drawn hood to sting your eyes.
I’m turning 50 this spring. Once I thought that was old. But it doesn’t seem so old anymore. It isn’t as old as it used to be.
I don’t mind the salt and pepper beard or the wrinkles (more laughter wrinkles than anything else). I actually like some things about this whole process. I like growing up.
It seems to me that I am beginning to see what I am becoming. Within 20 or 30 years I will finally get what I need from this life. I will have matured in my faith to the point where I will be ready for eternity.
Isn’t that amazing?! By the time my life is spent I will reach the point where I am most able to understand what it is all about. (I need to listen to those elders who still find joy in life and learn from them.)
This past year was another watershed year for me. I grew.
And I learned to dance. Not anything fancy, nothing that involves a mortal partner. But inside I feel giddy. I love the Lord my God so much! I love to sing to Him, to pray to Him, to read of Him. I find my heart dancing.
The events of the fire were difficult. And the passing of some wonderful people (Tom S. and Bob C. and others...) was sad. There were physical problems (my back, my skin, etc.).
I have had some difficulties in my life. Some I haven't shared, many I have. But I look at them and I see how I have changed and grown and I love my Lord so much. Sorrow, grief, struggles, are all part of the arrangement that comes with free will. We need to accept the consequences of the freedom to choose our way over the Lord's. A fascinating side effect is that through such difficult times we grow.
I have a long way to go, but I am comfortable with my age and I can see that by the time I am old I will have finally gotten the hang of what this life is all about. I will be ready for eternity. And I think that is the key to understanding all of this. This life is a preparatory experience. It is simply a warm up lap for eternity.
I'm going to finish this lap dancing.