Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Thank You Letter, a Convoluted Poem About Trees, and a Mischievous Kitty

God blesses the undeserving. I’m blessed every day. There are certain people in my life that He works through regularly, primarily my wife, family, co-workers, and church family. While I am grateful for all of them, it is of this last group that I wish to focus on, specifically my small group.
When my dad died in October, a lot of things happened emotionally and spiritually that I couldn’t have prepared for. My wife and I moved to Virginia a year and a half ago, leaving our family and friends in Missouri. When I got the phone call about my dad, the weight of our isolation seemed unbearable to me. I had to get home. It was not a question of how or when. Alaina, my wife, booked our one-way tickets that night for the following day. The next week was a blur of people, crying, and silence, but when we got back, our life was waiting. It’s impossible to describe the loathing I had for the world around me.  My job, car, money, schedule, and bills, just to name a few examples, had no meaning to me. Unfortunately (or, perhaps, fortunately), they still had meaning to everyone else.
By the mercy and grace of the Lord, Alaina and I have never been wanting for a meal or a roof over our head, but as reality returned to me I had to face the fact that our last minute plane tickets hadn’t been in our budget. They also weren’t cheap. When Dan and Amy Sexton (fellow “young professionals” group members) picked us up from the airport, these thoughts were beginning to arise in my mind, but before they had time to fully form, Dan handed me an envelope.
“Here. It’s from the group,” was all he said as I got out of the car, thanked him, and pulled my luggage into my apartment.
Sitting my suitcase down, I opened the envelope and stared hard in disbelief. Inside was almost the exact cost of our last-minute tickets to and from the St. Louis airport. I showed it to Alaina and read the several personal notes of condolence. Our small group is small, and though we’re the “young professionals,” more emphasis is on the “young” than on the “professional.” When I saw the sheer amount these committed Christians were willing to give on the spot to a couple they had known for, at the most, a year and a half, I was overcome with humility. I knew many of them gave more than they comfortably could, and I loved them for it. We didn’t ask for it. We didn’t expect it. But they gave it in the exact way God gives his blessings. In this way, I knew God was with me intimately during my time of heartache. They truly are authentic followers of Christ, and I’ll never forget their gift.

Where the Moon Floats on the Water

I hate the world for moving on,
And leave the house in anger.
I search for truth down by the pond.
The moon floats on the water.
I want to hurt.
How dare He pretend to care?

I search the wild.  I need to cry.
No mourning. No consolation from the trees.
Withered leaves. No ripples on the water,
Only star-paved glass with spirits from the sky.
Cold ground. No warmth in the breeze.
First freeze. Winter’s on the way.
Not yet. 
The Fall holds sway over all.

I reach down deep to pull up tears.
The bullfrogs reach down deeper.
I cry out, “why” to fight my fears.
The crickets praise their maker.
I’m ashamed.
The trees sway in the breeze.
I read the truth. It’s on my heart.            
He loves me. He captivates my soul.
Lose control. No need to shout demands.
A Father’s bond cannot be pulled apart.
All around. He walks among the wind.
Best friend. I knew he never left.
It helps.
I pray I learn to sway.

I keep my promises.