Thursday, November 24, 2011


Chase is back from Michigan.

Sean is back from deployment.

Reunited,  when so many are not.

All is as it should be.

Our cherished relatives have arrived.

Our wonderful nephew is here...

...with his beautiful family, and his parents, Don and Viv. (sorry, not pictured)

We also have the joy and honor of sharing the next few days with our dear daughter-in-love, Rachel, and her sweet Mama Layne.

Later today, a bunch of beloved friends will be arriving to share dinner with us.
We are all bound together by love and loyalty, faith and hope.

Crystal with her nephew, George, who is in Heaven with Joey. Our friend on the road of grief and joy.
For this comfort and these blessings, I give thanks.

God has been good to us. We are eating an enormous meal today, and know that's a privilege. We have enough to share with others, and know that's a responsibility. God has been compassionate toward us, and met every need.

His mercies have been new every morning of our past three years. We have cherished family, and new friends who have shared their love and lives with us.

We have new eyes and new dreams, and can see things we never noticed before. Our hearts have been tenderized. We have hope for the future, a different but better hope.  We know where our true home is--where our heart's desires will be found.

We know that life is brief, that we can bear sorrow and endure difficulty, and that is not the end of the story. We know there is a new world coming with no more tears.
I hope you all are comforted and encouraged by the goodness of God today.

Psalm 107:1 says, "Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever."

Monday, November 07, 2011

URL or IRL (In Real Life)

There is some discussion in my little blog world about the value of on-line friends vs. real life friends. One of my bereaved mom friends wrote about it here.  I admit I have spent an enormous amount of time online in the past three years. Beyond the pale. My husband and children have probably shaken their heads more than once to find me propped up in my favorite chair with a cup of tea and my computer open on my lap. Perhaps it's not been the best use of time, but I am incredibly thankful for the technology that has gotten me through countless sleepless nights and restless days. It became my drug of choice when trying to deal with a weight on my chest that felt like a boulder and couldn't be moved. Some use alcohol, some use sleeping pills or painkillers. I use the internet.

In that cyberworld, I found friends who had "been there",  and friends who were at that very moment exactly where I was. They expressed words for which I had no vocabulary. They gave companionship and comfort in the cold and harsh landscape to which I had been sentenced. I had some friends in real life that did the same, and most of that comfort also came via the internet--text messages and email and facebook. In moving to be near our living children, it necessitated that we move away from our support system.  At some point in the past three years,  most of my friends and family actually became online friends.

That is slowly changing now. I am gradually regaining a real life, with real moving people in it, but it's not good enough.  My real life is often about activities, checklists, getting things done. My online world is more interior. It's about thoughts, feelings and exploring deeper meanings. I get to reflect with others who are figuring out how to live in a strange new land. I would prefer that they all lived near me and that I could meet with them each day, but that won't ever be.  So my URL world must do the job. It is essential now for balance. It cannot be replicated in real life, and it doesn't fit into the perfunctory and superficial routines of a typical day. The urgings to "have a good day", when I am out and about, don't meet the needs of my searching heart. And though I nonetheless smile and nod my head, I can do it knowing I have another place where I am known.

I have been on a journey that I didn't choose and for which I was unprepared. My own resources,  which had been fairly adequate up to that point in my life, were quickly tapped and emptied. I needed more. I found it online with people who bothered to care. Their daily encouragements, their letters, their shared sorrow, the conversations about the harrowing, yet spiritual places of grief...all so precious. I owe them a great deal and cherish the friendship of many whom I have never or barely met. I bless their presence in my life, and the  internet that gave them to me. I believe now that I have been sitting at God's big table of love.

Ps.42:7,8 Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.  By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me-- a prayer to the God of my life.