Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Good Grief!

May 11, 2009

“Oh, that I had wings like a dove!”

A budding artist gave me a set of handmade notecards with this quote written on them along with the stamp of a dove, wings soaring. I looked up the quote in Psalms (55:6). The Psalmist is having such trials that he laments that he would love to escape, fly away, and be at rest. We know it’s merely a rhetorical comment. We don’t have wings and we cannot fly. But wouldn’t it be nice some days to escape from our worldly woes. We run from the daily things that make us crazy. We put off and worry and wonder. We busy ourselves with the unnecessary to keep from doing the important. If only, we say, we could just fly away! It is something Dr. Feelgood and I do often, “fly away” to the golf course to escape, to grieve quietly as we play a round of golf, work on our swing, watch the wildlife, admire the beauty around us, and visit with fellow golfers. It’s good grief – beneficial, the counselor says. It will help us in remembering who we are as individuals and as a family. Several weeks ago, when we witnessed the five white doves flapping their wings over us, I knew then it was a good place for us to heal. It was sort of a sign from Heaven that all will be well, that we can rest, that we will be able to somehow live without a daily live dose of Megan.

And so on Mother’s Day, I was surprised that the day did not bring tears or sadness. Many days do, but Sunday was a good day – no, it was a great day. I somehow felt a shield of protection around me, holding me together, strong and sure-footed. After church, I got to choose what we would do as a family. So I took full advantage of getting my way and decided that what I wanted was for the four of us to go to the escape place together - the golf course. I packed sandwiches and secretly hoped that the four of us would have another visit from the five white doves.

I did not think too much about my golf, but swung away, watching for wildlife, enjoying Blair beside of me, helping me to check my yardage and tell me the pin placement. I think we both learned a lot! And Owen and Mike did what guys do – walk along the rough, dodging snakes while looking for lost balls. Well, it’s important where we play – they retrieve all the ones I lose! But this day was different - I did not lose balls. That steady and strong feeling went with me around the course, making a par here and there, and never having the dreaded blow-up hole that occurs way too frequently. And when we finished the round, I surprised myself and everyone with me with a record low score.

I wrote back in the winter that grief was like snow-skiing. And now I find similarities to golf as well. One day I am strong and confident. One day I am weak and disabled and just want to “fly away” and hide. One day I make very few mistakes. One day I make nothing but mistakes. And I am realistic enough to know I will return to triple digits on the golf course, just like I know the grief-ometer will go sky high some days. But to have a low score for my grief as well as my golf on Mother’s Day? Well, that is definitely some good grief!
I love it that the end of the Psalm reads in verse 22, “Cast all your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you.” We all have cares, we all want to fly away like the dove, but we have a promise that we will be sustained –no matter what our circumstances, held by the power of Almighty God. The Psalmist, after listing all of his troubles, ends the chapter by saying to God, “But as for me, I trust in you.” It is what gives us rest when we can’t fly away.

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