Always Peace

Angels, Art, bravery, Children, courage, daughters, Faith, family, grief, love, memoir, Motherhood, Peace, Prayer, tragedy, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder

We talked about ferns, pansies, mums, babies, children and prayer. I’d waited until past 8 to call, afraid she may not answer.

We talked about sunshine and husbands. We talked about my art and hers and we decided that we would “share a booth” in a “show” this Spring.

I found the obituary earlier.

My cousin, her daughter died unexpectedly 42 years ago.

I walked around with the reality of that all day long and with the question of whether to call, whether it would be something she’d like.

My aunt, I describe her beauty and I always think of Grace, the princess. Her voice is slow and draws gentle circles as she talks about peace, about flowers, about family.

She chooses acceptance, she goes after peace. She knows peace is her friend.

I had a reason to call her. All the pretty pansies and ferns froze over Christmas and the brittle evidence of a hard and unwelcome death were left on my daughter’s porch.

All the brown leaves and blackened blooms would have to be thrown into the woods.

“What should she start over with?” I asked my “Aunt Boo”.

“Ferns and if you can find some that aren’t all stringy and overgrown, some more pansies. If it gets freezing hard and cold, just drape a towel over them and let ‘em stay warm.”

Then she thanked me for calling as if she knew it wasn’t something I knew I was up to.

She told me it helps to talk to me.

Unexpectedly adding the memory of the last time she saw her daughter on New Year’s Day at the convenience store out by Zaxby’s.

And that was all, leaving me wanting to hear more about that day and yet, knowing that knowing more doesn’t make it better.

Knowing rarely brings peace in unknowable things. Instead, an embrace of accepting that thing or things we cannot always understand always does.

Acceptance brings peace.

Knowing more doesn’t make it better.

Today, I’ll look for ferns, asparagus hopefully. The bright green prickly fronds that seem delicate are actually thick and strong.

Feathery and fragile and yet, they endure as long as they have sunlight, water and necessary protection from the frigid cold.

I’ll share my aunt’s advice with my daughter and add it to my treasure trove of her sweet lessons for my living.

Peace, today I shall go in peace. Stay with it.

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;

the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”
‭‭Numbers‬ ‭6‬:‭24‬-‭26‬ ‭ESV‬‬

This one’s for you, my precious Aunt Boo.

Comfort, I Pray

Children, courage, Faith, grief, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, tragedy, Trust, Unity, wonder

Elizabeth says, “You love that tree, Grandma.”

I say yes.

When she’s older I’ll tell her that I love the thick branches, the way it’s so old but still strong and I’ll tell her that its green leaves against the ash colored limbs just bring me comfort. I love the way it leans as if resting.

I’ve not misplaced my faith nor have I given up on prayer.

I wrote about helplessness yesterday, about how it feels as if we’ve got no other choice.

I don’t regret my thoughts becoming words and landing here.

It’s my blog after all and all along I’ve only written honestly.

I thought about prayer today, what it is to me and what it does.

A simple prayer was spoken on my knees in the shower last week.

Jesus, please comfort her where she needs it.

Hurtful words had been shared and repeated. Like a pinch on a soft part of your arm that the bully won’t let go, it left a sting.

And I didn’t respond. I thought it better to let it go. I considered what may have caused the harsh words.

I remembered I just can’t know.

When I asked God to comfort, I was comforted. I left it with Him and I no longer felt hurt.

Because I just can’t know.

Tonight, I’m thinking of the Texas families. I’m deficient in understanding and only know from experience with those grieving, this is a long and winding and without navigation road, the death of a child.

So, I ask God to comfort.

I accept my place in this offering of prayer.

I join the chorus of others who pray.

And I have faith in the God who is comforting. Who is mighty, strong, unwaveringly there.

If me deciding against anger and instead inviting God’s comfort to a tiny trivial thing can bring such sweet peace.

I know the angels and armies are stretched wide and locking arms in an answer.

Comfort, we pray.

Broken Prayers

Angels, Children, courage, Faith, family, hope, memoir, Peace, Redemption, tragedy, Vulnerability, walking, wisdom, wonder

“Let’s go on a walk! Get your shoes!” she called out and off we go in a burst of unbridled energy, her heels in the air.

And we walk on the roads bordered by shiny wheat tops and we stay in the “middle….middle, middle, middle”, a song we made up because of country roads, high grass, deep ditches and crawling critters.

We walk a long way.

We’re looking for morning glories.

We spotted one last week.

We caught a butterfly once.

She was tiny then, barely toddling. Her face was a mixture of elation and question. She held that blue edged creature and then we let it go.

Her feet slowed to a pause. “A butterfly!” she spotted and I saw that its bottom wings were torn, sort of shredded.

I picked it up and it sat as if glued to her small finger. Five minutes or more, we talked about it, the broken wing somehow and how I wasn’t sure if it could fly.

Rust colored wings, more moth than butterfly and small, very tiny. It seemed as if my granddaughter was comfort, was safety, was in a way, angelic.

It was mysterious.

It rested, not as if helpless, more assured.

I’ve been thinking about a feeling of vague dread, of inability to put three thoughts together, of being numb to possibility.

When possibility has been so very true for me.

I thought “learned helplessness” and reminded myself of the meaning.

There, that’s it. That’s the feeling, the lack of mental, physical and emotional resources to believe in good again.

Learned helplessness, lulled into a state of whatever I can do or should…

Would it even make a difference?

I wonder if we’re all learning that we’re helpless, that we’re not difference making people after all.

We laid the butterfly down gently and unsure whether it would go to heaven or fly, we told the broken creature goodbye.

Learned helplessness, the two words that made sense to my processing all that’s gone wrong.

The remedy? Recognize it, journal about it, pray, accept what you cannot control.

Therapy, and medication in difficult to treat with self-care because of significant trauma.

This afternoon, I bought apple juice boxes, a book about travel and a flamingo towel for a toddler.

Checked my phone to see notifications on FB and saw “Pray for Texas”, looked further to read the news, the horror, the inconsolable tragic event.

And began to feel sick. Began to think of the innocence of children, the way our world is and has completely set its intention on stealing it.

I can’t adequately add to this conversation. I really can’t.

These are times that words like peace in times of trouble, hope enduring or all things being made new and made sense of by God

Just don’t seem sufficient.

Seem more “who am I to say these things?”

After all, I had a three year old wrap her arms around my neck today and say “It’s a secret, I love you. I love to the moon.” and then say it again, and again.

I felt God near. I felt it was His idea, maybe she saw her grandma feeling slightly broken and held me close.

“I love you.”, not a reply, totally unsolicited.

No words for the Texas tragedy.

I love the Psalms and I treasure the words in red, but just one thought remains.

Pray.

“pray without ceasing,”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Pray. It’s “all you can do” and it is everything you can do.

Pray.