Sunday, November 9, 2008
I went to church this morning and although I don't feel that great, I'm glad I went. My Sunday School class is the most honest, spirit-filled, meat-eating bunch of women I've ever been yoked with. By meat eating I mean that these are ladies who have gone past the stage of "Christianity Lite" and who really study the Word of God in a deep, theological, spiritual way. It's an honor to be with them. I'm learning so much and just really enjoying being in that class. Our worship service was also awesome. I'm blessed to be a part of such a real "on fire" church.
Today I had a flash back moment. Y'all worried that being around Michael would do it and I have to tell you, honestly, that there was no fear around him, no negative feelings or bad memories. I just felt blessed to have been able to use our relationship as a place for growth. I felt blessed for the relationships that came through my relationship with him, such as Misty and Michael's boys and his mother and brother. I feel blessed to have been married to him because otherwise I wouldn't be where I am now or who I am now. I am grateful.
The flashback came when I was looking for cold medicine. I'm drippy and dizzy and have pain behind my eyes and just all the typical sinus symptoms. I'm also having some nasty cramps (although I try not to talk abou those things here too much as I have a mixed and diverse audience!) so I was looking for something, thinking I had some midol or something like that. In my little rubbermaid container that I packed all my meds in Jacksonville, I found a bottle of muscle relaxers... and I remembered... taking a lot of them that day. I remember taking a lot of other things too but most of those prescriptions are no longer in my possession, intentionally. My big brother took my xanax and said, "Let me know when you need one and we'll talk about it". So far I haven't had to ask for one.
I don't even remember why I have muscle relaxers. I just remember taking them. And when I think about what I took and the quantity and potency and danger of those medications... I am once again amazed that I am here. I am GLAD that I am here... but I have put enough time and distance from that moment... and have had so much victory over that moment... that I forget how very close I was.
On Wednesday the saddest moment for me at Misty's funeral came after the funeral when we were heading back to Atlanta. It was growing dark... and I thought about her body in her casket which had surely, by that time been lowered into the ground. With the sun fading and the air cooling, I thought about her body being out there all night... in the dark... under the ground... with the worms and bugs and dirt... and I had this feeling of protectiveness... of "how can we leave her out there?" Although ... I know... and understand that she is not there. That no matter what you believe, everyone agrees that by that time the spirit was no longer in the body. I know that she is not feeling pain, or discomfort, or change in temperature or being creeped out by the bugs and the dirt. I think about a hot June day that we spent sitting on a blanket in the sun at one of Bobby's baseball games slathering on sunscreen and trying to stay hydrated... I know that she will never again feel that discomfort... that she is beyond that. But still... it hurt to leave her there. It hurts even now to think about the loneliness of the grave... to know that she will never again on this earth feel the hugs of her children or the affection of someone she loves.
I was acutely aware then and am acutely aware now that if not for the Grace of God, that would be me left in the grave. I am not afraid of dying, mind you, for I believe that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord and I look forward to meeting Jesus and celebrating with the saints of God and those who have gone before me. I know that Heaven is a place beyond pain and sorrow. I know that in Heaven I will never again know loneliness or struggle or hurt or disappointment. I welcome that... but I also realize that there is more for me to do here. I am not ready for this earthly body, as frustrated as I get with it at times, to be put underground.
On the way home we stopped at a Cracker Barrel restaurant to have dinner with Stephen and his mom and his aunt... and as usual, when traveling, I bought some jellie bellie jelly beans - my favorite traveling snack. I didn't actually open them until Friday while having lunch with Sarabeth, as a little treat for her... and I was surprised at how that taste took me back... to the many lonely hours in Jacksonville... I would buy several pounds of jellie bellies and lay in my little nest eating them - trying to fill that empty void with food. Obviously, that didn't work for me!
I guess, in all honesty, the void that was there for me was larger than any meal, any place, any man... there was a hunger for righteousness and relationship with God that nothing else could even barely begin to satisfy.
The Bible is full of stories of miraculous survival of God's children. Whether you see them as literal reality or as fables or parables... well, that's up to you... I see them as real examples of victorious living... and I find so much comfort in them. In almost every situation these Saints experienced a time of crisis and then experienced a God who could bring them through the crisis. Would I have wanted to avoid the crisis if that meant that I would never know the relationship I know now with the God who Heals? Well. I would have wanted to have spared the people I love from pain. I would have wanted to spare them the fear. I would have wanted to spare myself the physical and emotional discomfort. I would have wanted to never gain weight, never feel sadness, never experience hurt... but it was all worth it, knowing what I know now.
I used the verse from John at the beginning of this post because I believe that it fits me and it fits Misty. I believe in everlasting life and I believe in abundant life here on earth. I am glad to have the power to possess both.
Posted by Heather at 1:32 PM