Friday, May 20, 2011

When You Lose Someone You Love... all my students who have lost someone precious this year. 
I'm sorry.

When you lose someone you love, you may feel a lot of first...just a numb shock as your mind sits very still within your body and the words keep echoing over and over in empty halls. Everything outside will clamor around you with its normal, blatant brightness, while inside, in shock, you sit blindly--without lights, without noise, without feeling--reluctant to understand.
This will pass.

When you lose someone you love, you may feel a lot of anger--at yourself, at God, even at them.
"How could they leave me all alone? Why didn't God intervene this once? How was I supposed to know that things would end this way?"

Take a breath. This too will pass. And come again. And again. Be ready to deal with it.

Don't coddle anger. Release it. Give it a way out. Don't embrace it as a friend, for anger--even the kind that's born of grief-- is a bitter acid that makes a soul raw. Cast it off. Reject it. Accept instead the awkward comfort of your solemn friends, their speechless looks of kindness because they don't know what to say, their flowery little cards and tentative pats on the shoulder. They are standing there; let them hold you up. And pull close around you the tacit, silent peace of God like a sweater. You need it more than ever, especially today.

There will be guilt too, days of it.
"Why didn't I say this? Why didn't I do that? What could I have done that I didn't do?"
If you hang onto it, you'll be wrestling with a cactus, and although, at first, the pain of these wounds might seem to overwhelm the greater agony, you mustn't let the stinging splinters stay.
Pull out the spines of guilt and burn them before they fester, lest the morphine of this moment become the poison of a lifetime. Whatever guilt you hold against yourself is yours alone. The one you love released it long ago and it is gone forever...unless you keep it. Let it go.

Yes, waves of grief will frequently blindside you...but do not sorrow like those who have no hope. Say goodbye, knowing that there will be a bright morning once again. In pain, do not stop praying ; in depression, do not despair. One day a sudden stream of joy will come shining out of no where. Life will burst through. You will start to heal. Healing takes time.

There is balm in work so carry on. Pick up a broom; go mow a lawn; wield an axe, or a wildly colored paintbrush. Take comfort in caring for little children who are swift to shed their sorrows and prone to sudden smiles; mingle with them and forget to be woeful for a while. Dance on the lawn in the rain. Make yourself move. Learn to live again. Let go.

One sublime tomorrow we will all realize that this life--for all its grandly blasted notes and furious clashing discords--was only the "warming-up" of an exalted orchestra.
Nobody has yet heard the symphony...but it will be glorious.
I promise.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sky Scenery

Since January we've only had seven tenths of an inch of rain.
Everything green is in shock. No lawn mowers. No harvest.

Black cattle graze parched, yellow fields.

This morning the air was still and heavy--humid, gray and promising, but it wasn't until afternoon that rain came, a splashing and pouring, straight-down drench. Not much moisture, just a tiny taste, but rain, nonetheless.

I attended a function thirty miles out of town, and as I drove back in around seven o'clock, I pulled over to take some pictures of an unusual sky.

To the East there was a fan-shaped light in the clouds. That seemed odd because the sun was in the West.
Above and to the South large puff-ball cloud shapes hung lazily and shone as if full of light.

Toward the Southwest, a calm sunset quietly took place as if there weren't large hail and tornado spins an hour away from here.

Orville and Wilbur and Mimsy

I had to add a picture at the end of this one to make it long enough for movie maker to edit. Here's another one that's amusing. I guess I could call it cooperation. They aren't really playing the melody here, but I think they are getting the rhythm.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Take Somebody With You

It's always easier to do a hike if you take someone with you. That way, if you are balanced on a shaky bit of rock and they have already negotiated that particular route and are on solid ground, they can extend a hand to steady you and prevent a nasty skid into a patch of cactus, which grows wherever there's a bit of damp algae and may boast fragile flowers but isn't really friendly to human limbs.

It's difficult to comprehend the size of the Eagles' aerie from the valley. Those rocks which look like a little mound of pebbles are really huge boulders jutting out into the sky. There's only one way to appreciate it. Climb up there.

I took Turtle along and we helped each other find the trail, which had a habit of disappearing into pockets of scrub and thinning out over vales of rock face.

We didn't get too close to the aerie; Turtle didn't want to incense the eagles and give my blog the exciting ending it really needed for this post. Oh well. I did get a lot of great pictures as they flew overhead.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Look Behind You Every Now and Then

Since the trail was a winding one, with areas of almost flat meadow, there came a time when I was unsure of the path. You may be too. And you may ask yourself:

"Am I still climbing? Is this trail going up or down?"
The best way to judge this is to look at the path behind you.
Turn around and see where you came from.
Are you higher today than you were yesterday?
Do the things you left in the valley seem smaller?
If so, you are climbing. Keep going.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Seek the Old Paths

I thought of our graduating seniors as I began my hike to the top of Quartz Mountain...all those days they had sat and listened to my advice, and so many things I didn't find time to discuss with them.
They are beginning a journey, a climb, if you will, and an adventure of the best sort, so every bit of instruction I was telling myself seemed amplified and meaningful for their journey also.

There was a trail head, of course, where every aspiring climber began. The path was well worn at first by the feet of those who only wanted to climb a few feet higher so they could get a better picture of the lake. After a few steep sections, however, it was little more than a line of flattened grass that sometimes faded away entirely. Still, if I looked for it, to the left, the right, or ahead, I found it, and was rewarded with an easier way to scale a rugged ravine or a way around a shower of crumbly rock. Someone who had climbed before me had found the best way up; and lots of climbers since then had concurred.

Life will be like that too. Sometimes you need to look around and see where the old paths run. Think about those people you respect--those who haven't made a wreck of their lives or an avalanche for others. What trail did they take? Can you see it? Did their footprints bend any grass? That trail may save you time and trouble. Seek the old paths.

Jeremiah 6:16
Thus says the LORD: “ Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls.