Monday, September 27, 2010

Fix You...

"I just wish I could fix it"...a phrase I've heard come out of the mouths of those I hold closest to my heart.  My dad, my mom, Casey are just a few who have uttered those desperate words, grasping for something, anything to release me from these heartwrenching circumstances.  And I know they would do all in their power to fix my pain, to fix my shattered dreams, to fix me.

And yet, they remain powerless.
They cannot fix me.
But, I am grateful beyond words that they love me so much that they would try.

I was reminded of that this evening as I watched a dance to Coldplay's "Fix You" at the SYTYCD live show.  This one piece choreographed by a son wanting to fix his mother's illness has touched me deeply.  Sure, it makes me think of Tony and my desire to see him whole again on this earth.  I would give my own life for that. 

But even more, I could see my loved ones' deep desire to fix me.  Day by day, moment by moment, they see my hard road, they see my struggles, and they want to take my burden away.

And I picture their own toil, their own anguish, their own tears, as the reality of my situation tells them otherwise.

The song's chorus repeats, "Lights will guide you home...and I will try to fix you."

After the show, my mom and I drove mostly in silence, I was enamored by the beautiful harvest moon guiding our way home.  What a fitting picture of the light of the Lord shining down His healing touch, all the while one of my greatest supporters sits as the passenger next to me.  On any given day, I can interchange my dad, my brother, my best and closest friends, into that seat too.

I pray God continues to remind them... "Do not fear, do not worry, I see your heart's desire. I will fix her in My time.  All you need to do is stay the course by her side."

It says in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."

Lord Jesus, comfort those who comfort me.  Stay close to their side as you remain close to mine.  And, please God, fix me.  Fix me as only You know how. Amen

Dearly loved,

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Final words

It is hard to believe that this week marks 6 months since my love departed from this world.

I often replay his final days in my mind, trying to remember what he was up to, imagining what he was feeling.  The last time I saw him was 2 days before the accident, on a Sunday.  We had spent the day before making final preparations for the top portion of our home to be rented.  Of course, Tony needed to be studying for his Executive MBA program that entire day, but he chose to help me finish the daunting task instead.  

All was going according to plan, until I heard a loud rush of water coming from the basement...the washer overflowed.  I was so frustrated; Tony took it in stride, just like he normally did.  We left it alone for the evening; Tony went on to study for a couple of hours before he came into the living room to ask me to dance.  Dance?  Yes, dance. My romantic husband again chose me over all other responsibilities, and as we twirled around our tiny living room,  I remember wishing that this moment would last forever. 

We spent our last day together with a trip to Lowe's for more home supplies, then on to worship at church.  I still picture Tony standing with his arms held high in worship, swaying back and forth, which I loved.  I left that afternoon with my friend Karen for a trip to Savannah & St. Simon's, where I had a couple of events for work.  As I told him good-bye, Tony grabbed me into his arms; looking back, I could have stayed there a lifetime.

The next 2 days were a blur for both of us.  I do recall that he spent most of it cleaning up the water in the basement and finishing up a couple more "to do" items for the house.  He took care of everything, so that I did not have to worry.  All the while, his recent promotion at work had landed him in a position to implement some unpopular decisions among the very people his heart's desire was to serve day after day.  That Tuesday afternoon, he chose to find solace in enjoying one of the first beautiful spring days of the year at the highest natural place he could get to in Atlanta.  And there, he finally started to study.

Sure, I can spend the rest of my life regretting that my Tony spent his final day on this earth taking care of house chores to make my life easier.  It certainly wasn't a glamorous day. 

Or, I can rejoice that he spent his final hours on this earth doing what Jesus calls us all to do - to love and serve others.  Jesus says in Mark 10:43-45, "...whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be a slave to all.  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve..."

Tony's final words to me, via text, came from the top of Stone Mountain.  It was as if they were scripted from heaven so that I would find comfort in them for the rest of my life:

"I'm at the top, starting to study. I wish you were here with me. It is beautiful up here, almost as beautiful as you."

And I know in my heart, that a little over an hour later, Tony heard these words from the God of the Universe:

"Well done, good and faithful servant!" ~ Matthew 25:21

Dearly loved,


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Not our home...

I've been reminded over and over this week that I am not the only one whose life has been turned upside down by tragedy and loss.  Story after story, pain continues to invade the lives of folks I know and even more I don't.

I was reminded yesterday of my first experience with a life-altering loss on September 11th, 1995, when my grandmother died suddenly.  I just adored this dear woman, who loved her grandkids more than life itself.  Of all the people I would have wanted Tony to meet, she was at the top of my list.

Add on top of this date 6 years later, September 11th, 2001, and it makes for quite the sad day.  I think none of us who lived through 9/11 could ever forget where we were, what we felt, and how it changed our lives forever.  And even if we could, we still feel the effects so much in our daily lives.  The security line at the airport always gets me - infringements on our freedom that all stemmed from deep hatred and thousands of lives lost.

It brings me back to an important truth that I took from watching those towers fall in New York.

This world is not our home.
It's not.  It's just not.
And because of the fall of man, God does not intend for it to be.
And because it's not our home, this world is not meant for our comfort and pleasure.

Occasionally I'll get the question of how I make sense of Tony's tragic fall.  Honestly, I don't think I'll ever make complete sense of it this side of heaven, becasue none of us are given a full view of our lives while on this earth. Yet, I do find peace in the truth above - that this world, full of sadness and hurt and uncomprehendable hardship, is just a temporary place until we are called home to heaven.

So I can say with full confidence, though bittersweet, that my love, my Tony, is finally home.

Dearly loved, and longing for home,

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pure joy...

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perserverance." James 1:2-3

Joy? Really? These verses about trials and excruciating pain are all about joy?  Really, God?


Yes. Joy.

I divide joy into two categories - moments of joy and ultimate joy.

Moments of joy come at just the right time.  Sometimes anticipated, sometimes out of the blue.  Sometimes in the form of a fun activity (have you seen my face whitewater rafting down the Colorado?) and sometimes caused by another (my conversation with sweet Chloe Melissa the other evening about her first dance class - you would have thought this almost 4-year-old had just won the lottery!) 

These moments of joy add such vibrant colors to life.  They come in all shapes and sizes and are just enough to keep me pressing on.  Joy, yes joy.

And then there is ultimate joy.  This joy often cannot be seen this side of heaven.  It is too large to be contained on this earth. It is the joy described in the verses above.

It is the joy that led Jesus to the cross.
It is joy that led His followers though many trials and pain.
And, it is my joy.

My joy to keep me pressing on and pressing into the Lord.
My joy, as much as I want Tony here with me, to rejoice that he is in heaven.
My joy, no matter what this life throws at me, to keep living for the life yet to come.

How else do we keep going in a world so broken and so full of pain, a world that is not our final dwelling place?  Moments of joy, as nice and refreshing as they are, are simply not enough. 

Not a moment of joy
every moment of the day
for every day of my life
could ever be enough.

Our souls are made to long for more.  Our souls are made to long for eternity.  Our souls are made to long for ultimate joy.

Dearly loved, and longing for joy,