But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 2 Corinthians 4:7-9
I awoke early this morning, my usual time……3:00 AM. Lately, that’s my hour. Most of the time I can go back to sleep, many times I just pray until I can. There was no sound, I was once again settled back in my own bed after spending some much-needed time with my family. My mind felt like a clenched fist, tight and unyielding. Refusing to let go and release the thoughts that were zooming around, bouncing off the sides and back of my head resulting in a dull ache.
I breathed the first lines of the 23rd Psalm. Life really begins and ends with this one line:
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want……..
A cup of hot chocolate sounded unbelievably good which surprised me. I am not a hot chocolate drinker, but I got up and made myself some. And it was just what I needed. I also opened “Tuesdays with Morrie,” which I had started before I left. It seems everyone in the world had read it except for me. It was the book that catapulted Mitch Albom to the top of the bestseller lists years ago and I heartily recommend it if you are one of the few like me who read all his other books except that one.
The chapter I read, Morrie was talking about family and what it means to have someone always watching out for you. He talked about people who stay, that family is not only about love, but about “letting others know there’s someone who is watching out for them.” Morrie knows the importance of this because he doesn’t have long to live. At the time of the interviews by his former student, Mitch Albom, he was dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease.
I was thinking about all this in light of my trip home.
How blessed we are if we have someone in our life who will not leave. Knowing for better or worse they have our back and our best interests at heart. To be willing to say even the hard words that need to be said. To be willing to be disliked, even, in the name of love. That’s what real love is. Speaking the truth in love even when it hurts you more to say it.
As we got in the car to leave for the airport yesterday, I gripped the hands of Mom and Dad to say a prayer and found that tears had taken all my words. The moments that twist you inside out are when your Mom says that she has loved you more in the last year than at any other time, and you didn’t even know that. Finally, I squeaked out….”Sometimes the best prayers are the ones without words.” We all nodded as we wiped tears.
And even though they want me more than anything to be there always, Dad says he’s glad that “I can go back to my life, away from this chaos.” He knows how I love order, structure. And he knows the value of having a good job. He respects me for that, even though it means I leave and can’t be there more to help.
Even though it’s their loss, they are happy for me.
It pierced my heart when he came out limping when I drove him to Flame Market on the corner to get gas. I thought, “Someone else should be doing this for him.” It’s hard when Superheroes show signs of mortality, when they can’t do the things they used to. When you know how hard it is but you know they are going to do it anyway.
As I laid the book down and drowsed off again, I prayed the same prayer I pray every New Year. That the Lord will hold them all in the Palm of His hand until I can go back again.
How blessed I am to come home to a freshly washed car and a clean house, the decorations just like they were when I left. It took my breath away all over again. It’s good to be there, but it’s good to be here.
Thank you Elaine for doing all you do.
Thank you God, for what you will do in the coming year. Every New Year holds promise because of You.