Posts tagged loss

With my dad so recently residing in the presence of God, I’ve been thinking a lot about heaven. Trying to figure out what it means, this “going away” or “falling asleep” or “departing”. All of a sudden I want to know:

What is he doing?

Can he see me?

Who else is there?

What would he say to me if he could?

And then this morning my time set apart for listening in God’s Word took me from Colossians 1v1-6 to I Thessalonians 5v8.

Paul is commending his Colossian friends for their faith in God and for their obvious love for “all God’s people everywhere”. Which, he says, “spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven”…

The words strike me.

Faith springs from hope?  Hope in heaven?

Truth is, my faith seems so shaky as I worry my way through everyday life.

Do we have enough savings? Can I write the Intentional Parents book adequately or will I fail? Do I have time for everything I think I need to do? Is Mom going to be okay? How can I help her? How in the world am I going to find a home for their dog, Barney?!

And my love for “all God’s people everywhere” is more like a love for a few of God’s people right here as long as they’re nice to me.

How, I ask Him, did these people become people of great faith and generous love?

And how can I?

And how does hope in heaven have anything to do with my todays?

I stumble on the answer found tucked at the end of a sentence in I Thessalonians 5v8:

“… let us put on… the hope of salvation as a helmet.”

It dawns on me suddenly, this helmet metaphor: A helmet protects my head.

By purposely putting on hope- not just any hope, but hope in salvation, in forever, in what all of life is leading up to—I actually protect my mind from wrong thinking that leads to worry.

Wrong thinking which creates fertile ground for  fretting and frustration when all of life isn’t neat and tidy, just the way I like it.

Wrong thinking that convinces me God owes me more… more money, more time, more ease.

Wrong thinking that makes me self-protective and prickly with people who poke at me, or who express their disapproval of the way I do life.

I need this helmet! 

Because without one I wind up with a sort of spiritual concussion, with ringing in my ears that drowns out the sound of God in my soul.

And so this morning I purposely put on my helmet of hope.

I imagine the way life will be when a new earth replaces this one and God invites me to take part in life as He meant it to be.

I think beyond the deadline that weighs heavily on my day, to the coming day when my life begins again.

I choose to remember what I’m really about: Jesus and His kingdom, His work, His will, His way.

And suddenly everything changes. Hope fuses me with energy to complete the tasks assigned to this day, to do what needs doing while I look for signs of His coming— for signs of Him.

Those blossoms on the tulip tree out back remind me that He is unfolding this day and that beauty comes not from striving but from resting in His working.

Hope rises to turn my tasks into joyous work, to infuse my day with purpose. It won’t always be this hard, Someday is coming.

And in the meantime I’d better scurry because He’s called me to things that will last forever. And I’d better look closely at my lists lest I waste time on things that don’t matter in light of that Someday.

He beckons me towards giving and serving and worshipping and listening close to His words to me. He invites me to protect my mind by keeping Someday in sight.

And my dad is there. He’s stepped into the Someday that lasts forever.

See you there, Dad! Someday.

From my heart,


P.S. I’ll resume my letters to Matt and Simona about OUR HOUSE soon. For now I’m just letting you in on my mourning. Thank you for your beautiful messages of condolence to me. Your kindness soothes my soul.


LETTERS TO MY SON: growing up

  Dear Son,

Your room is crammed with boxes, overflowing with piles of towels and sheets and supplies. Teetering towers of t-shirts and extra socks take up every square foot of space in what has been your man-cave for many years.

In just a few days you will sweep all that messiness into the back of your car and drive off to make a home of your own.

When you leave I will take all my mama-grief and scrub every corner of that square of space. I’ll patch holes where you poked pins into the wall to hang your posters. Cob-webs will come down, memories will be loosened, all our long talks will echo as I dust and shine and try to find a way to place all those memories somewhere safe.

And every moment I’ll be wishing I could have stopped the years, that I could go back again and tuck you into bed at night, run my fingers through that bristly shaved head you insisted on every summer when being a boy meant sweating and swimming and certainly not messing with such a silly thing as hair.

I’ll breath deeply of the scent of manhood and remember the boy you were. The nights of worrying that diabetes would rob you of the freedom you craved. The mornings of waking you for school and answering that question that came bubbling to the surface the moment you opened your eyes: Where is everyone?

How I loved your love for all of us! Your determination to keep connected, to know where your brother was and what your sisters were up to. Your full-fledged involvement in each member of this crazy crew we call a family.

I will miss you Matthew. And the tears rim my eyes even as I push hard to put them back.

This growing up is good, so why does my heart grieve?

And I know the answer, dare I say it?

I grieve because the full birthing of love always brings loss.

To birth you into the man you are called to be I must lose the boy you were. And I know because I’ve done this before. I know things will never be the same. That the closeness that comes from living and laughing and making you meals and waking you early and worrying when you’re late… will change.

You see, dear son of mine, I have loved being your mom. And I’m a mama still, I know, but it’s the every day I have loved best.

The serving and the soothing and the listening and the hoping and the teaching and the reading and the cleaning up of little boy messes and the wiping away of big-boy tears.

I have loved how you bound up the stairs , and how your bring your friends home and crowd into your tiny room to talk about who-knows-what and pretend I don’t know that you’re talking about girls.  And maybe they like you and maybe they don’t and oh how you and all your friends who are men now wish they would and someday… someday someone will.

Matthew, I have been writing these letters about that someone. That someone who will like you and love you and hope for you forever.

May she relish who you are as I have.

I love you Matt,