Friday, August 21, 2009

Believe, Begin, Become…or …. Can You Take The Heat?

This morning I met with another writer who encouraged me along the path of my first title for today’s required writing – Believe, Begin, Become. Inspired to go home and write, my car turned right instead of left and without realizing it, I found myself in the garden center, among the hardy blooms of late summer, the ones who can take the heat – thus my second title that I could not resist. Somewhere between the two there is a relationship. Stay with me.

Let me back up and say I have been thinking so much about change as we approach the one-year anniversary of our daughter’s death. So much has changed for each of us individually and together as a family. We are changed forever and finding our way through that change. I am reminded in 1 Peter 5:6 that says to “Humble yourself, therefore under God’s almighty hand, that He may lift you up in due season.”

I cannot speak for everyone else affected by Megan’s death, but I have identified some of the ways that I have been changed.
I am forever changed in that I now believe the verse in scripture that says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. I am not afraid of suffering – or whatever I might be called to do. I may like it one bit, and will never understand the “whys”, but I trust in the One who hears my complaint, knowing that he has a plan and a purpose for all things. I am more focused, more serious and more removed. I am a lot less fun to be around. Sorry.

I am forever changed because during Megan’s illness, God somehow – probably through the prayers or so many- provided me with words that comforted me and others. The words chronicled the journey, marked the time, and provided strength. I witnessed personal healing in myself and you as we watched her leave this life. I reread and the words still comfort me, they guide and direct me, and point me forward.

I am forever changed because though the journey was dark, there was always light. There was always something of beauty that would appear –a friend, a bird or a star, maybe a note, maybe the light in Megan’s eyes…there was a presence in our home that was felt and unexplainable, a sense of God close-up and real. I still feel it – and I seek it out on the dark days that will most likely show up now and then.

I am forever changed because in my grief I have been taken more closely to the cross of Christ with the realization that God never asked me to do more than what he did in giving up his own son Jesus on the cross. And on those days that are still dark in mystery, I go to Gethsemane and sit with Jesus, where Jesus pleaded with God, saying, “Could you just take this cup from me. Is there not some other way? Yet, it is not my will, but thy will be done.” I allow myself to be with Him and wonder in my heart “Did you have to take Megan? Couldn’t there have been some other way?” And I sit there and cry and give it up all over again and I am strengthened and restored. I go there often.

The words that were a gift during my crisis continue to come forth and give me strength and hope for something out there, beyond where I can see. I am told it is a book, a story that will help others and encourage them when they walk through a valley. The billboard that caught my eye shouted it out “BELIEVE! BEGIN! BECOME!” I thought how nice it would be if it was that simple. It reminded me of a quote Dr. Feelgood shared with me by Napoleon Hill, one of America’s first motivational authors who wrote “Think and Grow Rich”. Hill said “What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve."

I wonder where I am in that collection of action verbs. After writing weekly for two years, I do believe more and more in myself as a writer. Confidence is a wonderful thing, something that has not come easy for me in life and now at a very high price. Maybe it is my pain that gives me something to say. Time will tell.

Writing is one thing, but beginning the process of publishing is the start of a brand new career – and I am not exactly fresh out of college! I reminded Dr. Feelgood that it is like him deciding to become a plumber after being a stock broker for 30 plus years. But I have begun and that is the first step. And I am encouraged in my effort even though it is slow and laborious and I must discipline myself like never before (it is why I am no longer fun).

Somewhere in the process, I believe we start to become (like the Velveteen Rabbit). For me I have learned much of what I know from creation which brings back me to the random garden center visit. The flowers in my window boxes have bloomed as much as they can and are exhausted from the heat. It is time for a change (believe). I pulled everything out and replaced (begin) with late bloomers that can take the heat – Blue Daze, Gazania, and Marigolds. Oh, they look a little shocked right now, being thrown into a new environment suddenly, but if I nurture them along, they will grow and bloom (become) until the next season of growth.

Maybe I, too, can be a late bloomer.

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