Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Dancing in the Wind



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
“Willy”
Our Treasure
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.



115 comments:

bjk said...

50 in the spring...me too....it is the new 30 you know?!!

What an amazing God and what He is doing in and through you and your blog.....just amazing!!

thanks becky

Kc said...

CS, if God will then you'll beat me to the half century mark by a month or two. My heart has gone out to you many times because of your loss and trials but I know we're getting closer to the time where we'll all be reunited. I'll dance now too, for the joy of that great day. ;-)

So I Go said...

your writing always leaves an indelible mark on me. your story and your spirit combine to form quite an inspiration.

keep writing.. please.

Anonymous said...

CS, thanks for sharing your walk with us, though your writting you gave some of us hope, and not to give up, God is with us though it all!
please keep writting!
you and your family are in my prayer :)
janice

Hope said...

I needed to read this today...to remind myself that this has been quite a year for me too and that it is more good than anything else. Thank you. Your words always give me food for thought. Thank you for your generous and encouraging comments on my blog. They help keep me typing. God bless you.

JeffGeorgia said...

The difference between one that grows in the faith of our Lord and one that doesn't is this - keeping in touch with reality and keep hope for what is to come.

Coco said...

Again, thank you for writing...
for sharing your thoughts, prayers, trials, and the love of God for us.

He has known us even before we were born- we are HIS!

May the Peace and Beauty of Christmas bring Happiness to you and your family now and throughout the New Year.

Blessings.

ps
somewhere...along the posts i saw that you are a middle school teacher- i admire you! i think that age is so difficult- i'm glad that you are there to "touch" them and remind them of God's love through your actions.

Doug said...

Beautiful.

ellen said...

When I was young and dumb, I thought 50 was old, too. But being gravely told by your oncologist that you might not make it to your 50th year makes you feel suddenly young and robbed of many more vital years. I'm 51 now and still greedily fighting for more time on this earth. I believe that God is helping me in this endeavour, not to "cheat death," which I do not fear, but to continue teaching. I've been a teacher most of my life, and I still am. I'm not in a high school English classroom any more, but I believe my mandate now is to teach others how to live and how to die. And I'd like a little more time to do that, please.

curious servant said...

Ellen...

I have read your posts carefully and I have prayed for you. I wish I could do more. Do you have a blog? I would love to hear more of your story.

God bless.

Merry Christmas.

Jim said...

Th
Thank you servant, for visiting my blog.
Thanks too for sharing the way you do.
50 is a big step but you are right, it doesn't seem very old when you get there. It's come and gone for me a long time ago.
My way of thinking is that our USEFUL LIFE SPAN is from about 20 some to around the high sixties. That is about 47 years. Half is 23. 69 minus 23 = 46. You are just middle USEFUL age.
Keep cheerful, we all have down days and weeks. You are spreading a lot of cheer and encouragement, I can tell.

Diana said...

Thank you so much for your comments on my blog. I have to tell you that every time I see that "jobstale" it looks like someone with a stale job. :)

And as for my blogroll, it's a work of art! Some people collect rocks, some stamps. I collect good bloggers. There's some amazing stuff there...

I'll be checking your blog out!

Diana
Seeking Clarity

Fox's Mom said...

Thank-you for sharing the dance with us.

I was praying for you and your wife on the 15th.

Would you pray for my co-workers, Dorothy and Lynette? Mother and daughter, they have to now learn to endure the unendurable-Dorothy's son, Lynette's brother, was murdered last night.

Thank-you.
Bianca

Anonymous said...

curious servant, all i can say is "keep dancing,' buddy, "keep dancing," and bring as many of us along with you as you can. pt

Walker said...

I'm not a religious person but I believe in life and what it gives us and what is life without sorrow and pain.
Its what makes us alive.
The dead are but free of their burden of life and not gone because the living breath life into the memory of those gone.
Thanks for stopping by.

G~ said...

Hello CS. What an encouraging post. I wail and moan over getting older and people think I'm a fool (and probably, I am!) but I really struggle with it and am trying to understand WHY I struggle with it so much.

Lots of reasons all balled up together, most likely, but I AM slowly learning to enjoy each day I have and make the most of it.

God bless you!!

BHGA said...

It has been a joy, a delight, a blessing to have found you....God is good !!!

FTS said...

Growing up (as in aging) is mandatory. Growing is from within. If we fail to do that, then we've done nothing but take up space on this planet.

Fifty no longer looks that old to me, either, now that I'm a mere three years away.

Good grief, where did the years go?

Pia said...

with every experience we have in life, good or bad, teaches us something significant.

wishing you all the best this christmas season.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

David said...

Life is all about experiences and growth and how we handle those things. I am glad I stumbled upon your blog to teach me how to do better with my life and growth - even at the age of 57.

Judas Hate said...

What a wonderful outlook.

Dance on Brother!!

bornfool said...

It's a dance we all should learn, but not many do.

jollybeggar said...

bless you, my friend,
as you dance to even the sad songs.

shalom

(i punched out a really long comment, but then decided to remove it rather than clutter up your comment box. it's at

http://e-pistles.blogspot.com/2005/12/blue-christmas.html.

if you are interested...)

curious servant said...

I am interested!

Folks, you might check out that post be Jolly Beggar (see link in comment above).

Merry Christmas!

ellen said...

Oh yes, CS, I have a blog...Sorry, I thought it came up when you clicked on my name. It's at www.headlint.blogspot.com

Thank you most kindly for your prayers.

jollybeggar said...

pal, i don't think a 50 year-old quoting don miller needs to worry about aging. thanks for sharing some further insights on my 'blue christmas' post.

peace

Dem Soldier said...

Thanks...Happy Holidays....

50 aint that old......Hope I reach it with a meaningful way like U.....God bless U.

Paula said...

I learned an important lesson this year, that it's usually through the trials, the difficult times in our lives, when we experience God. I know personally that it's during those time I learn to love and trust him more. I love music by Steven Curtis Chapman. He has a song called Lord of The Dance and I thought of it as I read your post. Here are some of the lyrics:

On the bank of the Tennessee River
In a small Kentucky town
I drew my first breath one cold November morning
And before my feet even touched the ground
With the doctors and the nurses gathered 'round
I started to dance
I started to dance

A little boy full of wide-eyed wonder
Footloose and fancy free
But it would happen, as it does for every dancer
That I'd stumble on a truth I couldn't see
And find a longing deep inside of me, it said . . .

I am the heart, I need the heartbeat
I am the eyes, I need the sight
I realize that I am just a body
I need the life
I move my feet, I go through the motions
But who'll give purpose to chance
I am the dancer
I need the Lord of the dance

Dem Soldier said...

.....plus thanks for the link....that made my day....

Joash Chan said...

Hey man,

Sorry, but it's the only way I know how to get to you... Thank you for your concern for an online friend. I think it's been a while since someone has actually asked how I am.

Work has been extremely frustrating and painful for me and my colleagues. This Sunday is Christmas Sunday, and my colleagues have to be on standby for work. Isn't that sad? I feel like I want to be with them this Sunday, but I'm in charge of worship. Yes, Christmas has been very taxing too. My dad (also my pastor) shared about how we get so busy during Christmas that forget the real meaning of it. Indeed a lot (too much I would say) has been organised by the planning committee, but I'm determine to go through all of it with the joy of the Lord being my strength.

That's why I don't write as much as I used to in the pass few months. Next week is our youth camp, and planning hasn't really been that fun either. Anyway, I'm just very thankful that things aren't worse off. And I'm very much looking forward to the camp. Everyone in the committe is working very hard and I'm so proud of them. I'll be writing about my youth camp soon enough.

There's a meeting to attend in half an hour, then it's off for carolling in a mall.

Thanks again for asking. I really appreciate it. Merry Christmas to you too. God bless you and your family.

Joash

Lucy Stern said...

We all have trials, that is a certainty. It is how we handle the trials that count. I have a friend who said, "How many times are we going to take Attitude 101". Will we learn the first time? I try to remember that when I am under stress or something happens that I had not planned. Death and sickness are all parts of life and we all go thru them, some more than others. We just have to trust in the Lord and keep going till our time comes. Enjoy life and work with the hand you are delt....Merry Christmas

Seeker said...

I don't usually say, "I understand", unless I really can relate. I do understand, somewhat, your sense of loss and "blue" feelings. My only granddaughter, my firstborn grandchild, was stillborn a little over two years ago. In all my 49 years of living prior to losing Liana Hope, I had never felt such grief. I have grieved, but not without a sense of hope. God is still Holy. He is still Sovereign. He is still worthy.
I know your hope, as well, is firm in the Lord. Where would we be without Him?

Fox's Mom said...

Thank-you for the prayer the other night. It's like a warm cloak on a cold night-greatly needed, greatly appreciated.

Happy Christmas to you and your family, and peace be with you always.

Bianca

wilsonian said...

Cripes, you're lovely.

Around these parts, lap dancing means something else entirely... but as I've real through these comments, and have witnessed in my own inbox, you are spreading the love of Christ everywhere.

Be blessed as you go :)

Christopher said...

I've been catching up on my blog reading since returning from Christmas vacation. one day, I pray for the chance to meet some of blog authors I frequent . . . you're someone I'd like to have coffee with and chat. thanks for this post, I too think about this subject lots. Your words bring a familar ring to my soul, that's comforting. thanks for this one . . .

Maria del Carmen said...

You are happy where you're planted and that's always a good message. Just be careful doing those laps...dancing(?) Interesting. I like your blog design; my kinda colors.

Full time said...

Work from Home for a Christian Inc. 500 Company, 20+ Years old, High Tech Products. Part Time, Full Time, Medical Benefits, Luxury Car Allowance. Paid Travel, Direct Sales, Sale Managers, Train Others. THE ONLY LIMIT ON YOUR INCOME IS YOU

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