The day was a Friday...it was a beautiful, sunny August day...except for where we were headed. My friend Holly had ironed the dress that I was wearing...I hate to iron...probably the best its ever looked. I asked her if people would mind that I had on lavendar...she didn't think so...and I was at the point of not caring. I sat in the church and stared at the casket...thinking this was a dream....rocking myself with grief....waiting to blink my eyes enough to wake up....surely this would be over soon....surely this nightmare would end. I rubbed the material on my dress...I'm not sure that he had ever seen me wear this dress...I listened to the sobbing behind me...funny how you can tell whose crying....I knew it was my Dad, my sister Ronda and my sister Dianna....all without looking....I wanted to yell at them to stop...but found comfort that they were crying for the man I loved as well as the father that had been lost. The service seemed to last forever and be too short all at the same time....I can't remember what was said....just some of the songs....I wondered why we were here....how did this road end up here??? Where was God? Where was He? I was waiting to feel Him....I couldn't feel Him, why was that?
Finally...it was time to stand up....I needed my son....someone handed him to me....there I was crying and walking....why was everyone staring at us? I wanted to scream..."Quit staring at us! Quit looking at us!" but I knew their eyes were giving us comfort, I knew they were sending up prayers to God to comfort us....for you God to show us the way....but why, why couldn't I feel Him?? I looked around and saw a dear lady who was my wedding coordinator....she was also wearing lavendar....maybe she didn't remember....but I think she did....lavendar....our wedding color....I know she did it to remember. Somehow, we found our way to the car....the big white car.....in front of us holding the casket of my dear husband....driving along and watching all the cars behind us....all the ones that loved us dearly. I saw my son sitting next to his Grandpa Hohman and tried in his little way to comfort a wound he had no idea how to comfort. We were there....there at the graveside to bury him...why couldn't I feel you God? Where were you? Please come help me....I cannot do this...please don't ask me to! A-men was said...a cool breeze passed over us and then we were escorted back to the car....that's it? That's all there is to it? I'm just supposed to leave him here? I wanted to lay down beside the flowers, I didn't want him to be alone....everyone told me where he was....do I look half crazy....I know that, I know he's in heaven....but that's all I have left....that's all I have left.
I've never uttered any of those words that you all have just read in exactly 8 1/2 years....those thoughts hadn't drifted through my mind since that day August 9th, 2002. Seems forever ago....and at the same time just a few days.....
The book is called "one thousand gifts" and its written by Ann Voskamp and it has moved me to my very core. She speaks of "Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also hold its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning "joy". Charis. Grace. Eucharisteo. Thanksgiving. She speaks of learning the secret to living joy. You see, we must be willing to accept the bad and the good from God. I had accepted it but was not experiencing TRUE joy. I thought that I was, I tried to be....but I truly wasn't. I felt that I was in fear of what may come....then thought that I had just dealt with that in a Bible study that I had done not long ago...still....I needed something practical....something daily....an EXERCISE!
I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. Phil 4:11-12
"The secret to living joy in every situation, the full life of eucharisteo."
So, she began a list....one she called "one thousand gifts" because in order to learn a habit of gratitude we have to "do" something and in writing down the gifts she gives thanks and begins a true heart of gratitude....not simply "just getting through the day...." Accomplishing one goal after the other but never finding true joy in anything that is done....I admit this is me....I am screaming now THIS IS ME! I didn't realize it....so I'm starting a list....I invite you to do one to. Here is her list....just a few to give you an idea...
1. Morning shadows across the old floors
2. Jam piled high on the toast
3. Cry of blue jary from high in the spruce.
Here is the beginning of my list:
1. The pounding of little feet running across the floor in the morning
2. The sound of laughter around the dinner table
3. smudges on my pillars...made with little hands
4. the smell of fresh grass being cut in the middle of spring
5. fresh paint in a new room
These are just a few as I've just begun....and I will only say....I am smiling....I can't wait to read more in this fascinating book....I can't wait to learn more...
May His name be praised!