Thursday, April 28, 2011

Gratitudes of life

I just wanted to send out a note thanking everyone who has so lovingly held my family in their prayers. I intentionally went into "turtle mode" yesterday, so if I have not responded to a call, message, or text, it is not personal; I am taking some time to process and take care of myself and my immediate family in the midst of some of life's challenges.

I am grateful for the hardworking and loving veterinary clinic staff who did their best to save our kitty, Max and who were extremely kind to us when it became clear he wasn't going to make it.

I am grateful for my home congregation, who has lifted my volunteer work from my shoulders for a few weeks while we get our feet under us again.

I am grateful for my Meadville Lombard classmates and faculty, who have been so patient and kind this year. I have a lot to "pay forward" in the coming year!

I am grateful to my kids, who have been supportive and patient with two of us being in college, and helping to make sure our house runs relatively smoothly, even in the midst of loss and feeling embattled at times, I'm sure!

I am especially grateful to my husband, who has dredged out the flooded basement, been a rock during the loss of my father and two brothers this year, and who always puts on his bravest face, even when he's tired.

I am grateful for both of my church communities - I love you all, and am moving through this year with as much patience and grace as I can muster, mostly due to the spoken and unspoken love and support from my home congregation and my teaching congregation. I cannot even believe how full my life is of wonderful, wonderful people.

I am grateful to get a chance to get to know more of my father's family, even though the reasons for that chance come out of death and grief.

I am grateful for warm spring weather, even though the rains have conspired against us and our belongings. It feels so good to have the sun on my face, and to walk the dog without layers of clothes, a hat, and mittens. It is healing to get outside and watch the trees burst into life again.

I am grateful for my teaching minister, Jean sharing the book "Great Occasions" with me. I end with a quote from Paul N. Carnes:

Inevitably our anguish frames the question "Why?" if not on our lips, in our hearts. There is no answer that removes this question - no answer that can bridge the chasm of irreparable separation. Life will never be the same, and this is as it should be, for our loved ones are not expendable. 

We can meet such loss only with our grief, that uncontrived mixture of courage, affirmation, and inconsolable desolation. Grief is enough; for, in our grief we live an answer, as in the depths love and selfishness conjoin until, if we allow it, love asserts its dominance, and we become more aware of the community of living of which life makes us a part.