I’m actually rather embarrassed by my neediness. Maybe other people – who have faith and yet are having to live with the death of their child – aren’t quite so….demanding. Maybe they trust God more? So that they aren’t constantly pestering Him for signs and reassurances? Am I just super-pitiful? Or is God that loving, that kind, THAT gracious? (I’m putting that in bold because that is, of course, the correct answer. Thank you, Beth P., for the gentle smack upside my head.)
A couple of days ago I was actually asking for a “postcard” from Mark — since he’s away in another country, so to speak, couldn’t he at least send a postcard? I so-so-SO want to know what he’s experiencing. I also like hearing stories about my kids from other people – stories I’ve not heard before. Sarah lives much of her life away from us now, as did Mark (as does Mark). When people tell me something that happened with Sarah, or with Mark, it’s like getting a postcard (there’s that word again) in the mail…a snippet that makes me smile, tells me something new, something to treasure about my children.
Not long ago, we (me, my sister and a friend of hers) went to the Newseum in Washington DC. And, weirdly, we kept getting delayed in what you would expect to be a simple act: getting into the actual building (is that the entrance? No. Let’s try this door. No?! Ugh! Back around the block!), and I felt the Inner Observer in my head quietly say “why is that happening? Why are you being blocked?” After a few hours of visiting the exhibits (which were a little overwhelming to me…man’s inhumanity to man just goes on and on), we were literally on our way out the door when I heard “Mrs. Slough?!” and turned to greet one of my kids’ middle school teachers. We instantly hugged, and then we cried…we’d not seen each other in 5 years, and she knew of Mark’s death and wanted to express her feelings, her deep sorrow. And for me, seeing Rachel was like getting a postcard…she’d known Sarah, she’d known Mark, she’d experienced them in different ways, she had stories – full of his joy, his quirky humor – to tell about Mark that I didn’t know…like she had seen him just recently, in a place far away.
Before I went to work yesterday I had time for another walk around the lake. It was warmer – spring is awakening. I’d spent my hour plus in the basement, trying to get past my bratitude, my whininess about how much stuff we’ve got going on/all the things we are trying to manage when we feel so “less-than” still.
As I walked my mood improved. I noticed the birds, the blue blue sky, contrails. A little girl and I raced each other up a hill and it tickled both of us. A tiny, tiny blue butterfly flitted across my thighs. I thought about God’s grace and how He can and does work with HUMANS… He takes our imperfect, fallible, needy, sometimes whiny, snotty little selves and still uses us for good, and still loves us endlessly. I thought about Mark and postcards.
When I got home, this was stuck in the door.