Watching for God includes times when we grieve. Aging means we live with memories but memories are best left in the past. There is a Scripture in the Hebrew Bible, Ecclesiastes 3:1 and 5b that reads:
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up…
My sister and I made a trip “back home” recently. It caused us great joy at first, especially just being together. But the experience has left me with a peculiar heartache. I wrote a poem about it–don’t have a title and won’t tell the whole story. That’s what poetry is for.
someone said you can’t go home again
and I know they were right
it’s like an intrusion
a journey into the future of your childhood
but I tried anyway
we drove back to the place where we grew up
we knocked on the door and an
older woman smiled and greeted us
and invited us in
and my brain tried to register
this is my friend, my little girl friend
only I am not six or ten or even 18
and neither is she
those little girls, the teenagers
they are gone and we can’t bring them back
so if I had to do it over again
I would not. I would leave the past alone.
I would be thankful for that little
girl who used to be my friend
but I would not try to bring her back again
you really can’t go home again
home is here, where I am now, in time
and she is in my childhood memory
and she’s not coming out to play anymore
So what do we do while we are “watching for God” — that is, while we are waiting for the answer to prayer? Moreover, how do we live in the reality of the abundance Jesus Christ promised when we look all around us and see everything but abundance–poverty of love, poverty of morality as well as economic poverty?
A few days ago I fell into a funk. All I could sense was the great need for health and faith and hope and love in our world, our country and in the lives of people I love. In addition, I have failed to reach some personal goals for myself. I felt myself slipping down into a very scary place.
Several things helped me. I had some places I could go and people I had promised to see. Also, I have books–stories of people who inspire me. I have poetry and I have the Bible. I began to read, and slowly I remembered that even when I can’t see how God is going to work in the various lives I pray for (including my own), I am rich in the knowledge that He does love us. He has not forgotten the world, our nation, my loved ones, or me. In the meantime, I have books to read and people to see. I can truly live rich in a world that sometimes looks very poor indeed.
The character trait “grit” was mentioned on National Public Radio this weekend as a new way to categorize children. Why do some survive and thrive difficult circumstances and many do not? I thought about this when dealing with a little family problem recently. Sometimes our best efforts (and our not so good ones) result in misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Sometimes poetry helps. The following poem is self-explanatory; the name is changed to protect the guilty (or innocent depending on who is reading).
How can I say this in a dignified way?
I am irritated, angry, hurt, annoyed. How about pissed? No, too crude.
I am provoked.
My daughter (one of them) has hurt my feelings.
In trying to help, I got caught in the crossfire.
Now she is ignoring me.
The thing is, Kelly has grit.
Kelly has survived her parents’ divorce, his death and an overseas trip cut short;
no money to help her with tuition; cars that broke down and no one there
and who knows what I don’t know?
The thing is, Kelly has grit.
She survived and thrived and persevered.
She is one gutsy lady.
I admire her.
I applaud her.
I appreciate her.
Kelly has grit.