Friday, October 11, 2013

The Gift of Peace

"Memories - pressed between the pages of my mind.  Memories - sweetened through the ages just like wine."  I thought of that song today as I drove the familiar roads to the Sheldon Cemetery.  I had been wanting to get there ever since May, but then, I allowed myself to admit, I didn't really.  So many memories flooded my mind as I drove.  I remembered the very first time I traveled to Enosburg with Phil in his 1967 Mustang to meet his parents.  I reflected on all the other many, many times we made this trip over the years of our married life.  I had always loved the drive and I did today, too, but I was filled with a sadness I hadn't felt in awhile.  The journey of grief takes you on all kinds of dips, curves and turns and it is most unpredictable.  I can't believe it's been 9 years since Phil died and over a year since I visited his gravesite.  You would think after 9 years I would be okay.  Most times now, my memories bring me such comfort and joy, remembering Phil's zany side and how well he loved us - the girls and I.  I was surprised at my emotion today.  When I saw the gravestone, something broke inside of me and I cried - the first time ever crying right there at the grave.  It poured from somewhere deep inside me.  I cried for him, I cried for me, I cried because the gravestone was dirty and that felt like such a desecration.

But then as the tears subsided, I felt again God's peace.  This cemetery is so beautiful, with such a beautiful view; a real pastoral setting.  God's peace has been such a gift to me over the past 9 years.  The peace that passes all understanding - it really does.  I didn't feel any real words of comfort, any words of revelation, just a profound sense of peace.  And for today, that is enough.  Enough to know that, in the words of author Ann Voskamp, "God is always good and I am always loved." I thank God for His gift of peace.

It is such a paradox that life is full of death.  And yet we don't accept it as part of life.  Why is that, do you suppose?  According to God's Word, man was never born to die, but to live in Eden tending all God created.  God cried with me today.  He felt my grieving heart and He grieved with me.  I truly believe that.  That is what turns my "mourning into dancing"; to joy.  I thank God for His gifts of grace and mercy and my heart again is filled with joy and thanksgiving.  Thanks that I was given 33+ years with this man; thanks for all he was to me and I was to him while he sojourned here on earth.
As I drove into the cemetery, I was awed by this tree that had apparently either been struck by lightning or been felled by strong winds.  "Broken" was the word I heard in my spirit as I stared at it.  As I left the cemetery, I took a picture of it and again, I gave thanks to God - that even though I, too, had been "broken" at the moment of Phil's death, the astonishing fact was that I wasn't "broken" anymore.  The Healer touched my broken heart and made me whole again in Him.  Put back together - with scars, yes - but wholly together to live to praise Him, thank Him and delight in Him again! 

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.  His mercy endures forever." 

What do you give Him thanks for today? 


1 comment:

  1. So well said, Donna. Stages of deep grief, you experience them ongoing... here's a song I thought of for you today - Broken, by Kennth COpe, a mornon, but song is still fitting,