Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Decisions & Discoveries, Diagnoses & Disasters



Dear Friends ~

For almost a week now, I've been writing this post in my head in that space of time between turning out the light and falling into a sound and blissful sleep.  But I've also been recovering from the flu which entitled me to serious couch potato time, endless Downton Abbey re-runs, major napping, and the finishing of books #51 - 54 in between coughing and excessive tissue usage.

In these early days of recovery, I've been expending my energy on what matters most ... visits with my sister and my mom, setting up meetings with clients, and shopping for the fixin's for what will be a very sparsely populated Thanksgiving dinner.

There'll just be just three of us this year, which will be easy to manage, delightfully quiet, soothing to the soul ... and probably tinged with a bit of melancholy and yearning.  For it was just three years ago that the whole family was left stunned and numb with grief at the sudden deaths of my dad and my grandson in the months right before the holidays.

Those memories have come calling again quite a bit in recent weeks.  Holidays seem to have that power to intensify even the most distant recall of events that turned our private worlds upside down ... in ways most lovely or traumatic.  The month, the date, the sights, the scents, the rituals, the music, the sounds, the photos have the power to take us back to another time with an almost alarming clarity.

It was the Thanksgiving where we huddled in the frigid air outside, gathered around the fire pit, toasting up s'mores instead of sitting around the table after dinner sharing what we were most thankful for.  We had decided we weren't going to let the floodgates open ... so we lit up the fire instead and just about froze to death.

And we made merry.  Which was exactly what we needed to indulge in right about then.




I know this has been a hard year for many of you.  We've talked face to face or you've emailed me or you've shared a bit of what's happening in your lives online.

The truth is that the family drama and trauma stories that impact us most deeply often aren't ours to tell. 

So we're left holding the bag tightly, sharing sparse details if any, and tiptoeing through our own painful confusion, stunned and silenced, feeling very much alone.

Sometimes love means keeping our hearts wide open, our lips gently sealed, and our eyes looking heavenward.

Please know that those unsettling decisions, upending discoveries, scary diagnoses, and near-disasters that have hit you sideways and have left you raw and reeling are well known by the Holy One who loves you best.  He woos us to Himself, scooping us up from our self-imposed isolation, mourning our losses with us, bearing those overwhelming griefs and sorrows {Isaiah 53:4}.  For He loves our families in all our messiness even more than we do.

If you want to leave a non-detailed prayer request in the comments or simply scrawl please pray, I'll be glad to lift you up to The Comforter, The Miracle Worker, The Soul Lover.  And in the midst of all that's come flying at you, I hope you won't think I'm callous and cold-hearted if I wish you the loveliest of Thanksgivings.  

For it never fails to amaze me at the odd ways tender sadness and sparkling joy mingle, how the bittersweet ache and hearty laughter truly can go hand and hand ... and how the craziness of it all can kick off an onslaught of gratitude that we simply must speak outloud.

It's how He made us.

My love to you ~






* please share *

P.S.
Here's Why You Might Want To Serve S'mores on Thanksgiving

When You're Looking at a Bittersweet Christmas

The Need to Fully Grieve-As-You-Go

P.S.S.
After the turkey bones are done simmering in the soup pot and the leftovers are finally finished, I'll be back with a beautiful Art Journal giveaway!



*

visiting with

45 comments:

  1. Dear Linda, I only ask that you pray this on my behalf (it was originally written by Andre Zirnheld):

    I'm asking You God, to give me what You have left.
    Give me those things which others never ask of You.
    I don't ask You for rest, or tranquility.
    Not that of the spirit, the body, or the mind.
    I don't ask You for wealth, or success, or even health.
    All those things are asked of You so much Lord,
    that you can't have any left to give.
    Give me instead Lord what You have left.
    Give me what others don't want.
    I want uncertainty and doubt.
    I want torment and battle.
    And I ask that You give them to me now and forever Lord,
    so I can be sure to always have them,
    because I won't always have the strength to ask again.
    But give me also the courage, the energy,
    and the spirit to face them.
    I ask You these things Lord,
    because I can't ask them of myself.


    https://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2018/11/your-dying-spouse-543-why-we-write.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Andrew ...

      These are the best prayers to pray because we're totally honest with God and tell Him that we just can't do it on our own.

      'But give me also the courage, the energy,
      and the spirit to face them.
      I ask You these things Lord,
      because I can't ask them of myself.'

      Amen, brother. Amen.

      Delete
  2. sweet sweet post

    {via text}

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for reminding us that tender sadness and sparkling joy can dwell together, Linda. And thank you for your understanding heart. It's so true that the family stories that affect us the most aren't ours to tell. Also that "Sometimes love means keeping our hearts wide open, our lips gently sealed, and our eyes looking heavenward." Thanksgiving blessing, love, and hugs to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Blessings to you, too, Trudy. You are a faithful encourager in my life. And I am so grateful ...

      Delete
  4. Tender sadness and sparkling joy. I love that. Honestly, I wasn't feeling Thanksgiving so much this year (we move the 29th and it's our first holiday without my daughter at college.) So I hadn't put up a little Thanksgiving tree like usual. So when my sister-in-law asked me to bring one, I jumped at the chance to go out and buy one. Still need to cut leaves for her guests to fill out with things they're grateful. But that one act, setting up the tree anyway, sparked a warm revival in my heart!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bless your sister-in-love for reaching out and kicking off that sweet revival in your transitioning heart, Betsy.

      I'm guessing she's done nothing but endear herself to you even more in the process.

      May you experience fresh blessings in this season of newness and fresh beginnings, friend.

      Delete
    2. Lovely words, Linda. This holiday season will be tinged with bittersweet as I lost my sweet Mama in August. I rejoice that she is no longer suffering but boy do I sure miss her. I find myself wanting to pick up the phone and call her all the time. My husband and I will join my father, sister and brother for Thanksgiving and we have decided to enjoy Cracker Barrel this year. I wish you a peaceful Thanksgiving.

      Delete
    3. Oh Teresa, it's so good to see you here again. I am so very sorry to hear about your Mama's passing. Such a bittersweet grief in that she isn't suffering, but yet, how you must miss her presence in your life.

      Cracker Barrel sounds so very good right about now, doesn't it. I hope your family time far surpasses your hopes.

      Bless you as you grieve ...

      Delete
  5. Yes, holidays can stir up mixed emotions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you found something here that encouraged your spirit, Felicia.

      Welcome ...

      Delete
  6. Your words here are beautiful, Linda. I think holidays often do have that mix of joy and sadness. Praying for you and your family as you remember your loved ones and I hope that you enjoy your peaceful Thanksgiving!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lesley, you're so kind, such an encourager. I thank God you're in my life, even from across the deep blue sea.

      Bless you, girl ...

      Delete
  7. I must admit I did smile when visualizing huddled around a fire freezing and making s'mores. I can relate! Experiences taking us out of the 'normal' can be uplifting as they create a new memory and even healing, can't they? Happy Thanksgiving to you Linda. Ours was weeks ago, but always grateful for my southern friends and reading about their Thanksgivings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So how do you celebrate Thanksgiving, Lynn? Turkey and etc.?

      Do tell ...

      ;-}

      P.S. I've never been called a 'southern friend' before. Kinda makes me smile!

      Delete
  8. Hi Linda! Hope you are feeling better. Our Thanksgiving will be simple. The church is serving a lunch to the community and delivering a ton of meals. I'll then come home and maybe go for a bike ride if the weather is favorable. If not, I'll watch The Santa Clause. I normally watch Its a Wonderful Life also but the local theater is showing it on the wide screen. That's it. Have a grateful Thanksgiving.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that you're delivering a ton of meals, Bill. Please know that if Tim and I lived closer, we'd be right there with you.

      Your church family is so blessed to have you and Jo shepherding them ...

      Happy Thanksgiving to you both!

      Delete
  9. Linda,
    The holidays can be such a mix of emotions and feelings. Sometimes they are more bittersweet or even just bitter vs. being Norman Rockwell. I hope you are feeling better from the flu. I've been your soulmate on the sofa having just had my gallbladder removed...oy! I could use prayer for relationships with my adult children. I know God is in the business of redeeming...just need reminders at the holidays.
    Blessings sweet friend,
    Bev xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Soulmate on the sofa. Yes, yes, Bev. I knew I couldn't be the only one.

      Praying as I tap away for your relationships with your adult children. Praise God that He's in the redemption business. May you see His hand at work in your kids' lives and in the relationship you have with them.

      Yes, the holidays can hurt ...

      Delete
  10. Linda,
    This is so true: "For it never fails to amaze me at the odd ways tender sadness and sparkling joy mingle, how the bittersweet ache and hearty laughter truly can go hand and hand ...."

    So sorry to hear you've been sick but glad you allowed yourself to rest. Praying God comforts you and your family as you grieve your father and grandson.

    May God be close to you and your family. It's true we can't always share all the details but we can pray. It will be the first Christmas without my father in law, dear sweet man, who patiently and bravely dealt with Parkinson's disease.
    Love and hugs to you :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Praying for you right this minute as I think of the loss of your father-in-law this year, Dolly. The grief is so fresh, isn't it. I am so very sorry. May you find comfort in those dear, sweet memories that he lived out with you.

      Blessings to you, to yours, as you make your way through this first holiday season ...

      Delete
  11. Such a beautiful post full of grace, sweet friend. Wishing you and yours a very blessed Thanksgiving. It's just my Dreamer and me this year. We might just have pie ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eat dessert first.

      Works for me!

      Bless you and your Dreamer, friend ...

      Delete
  12. Linda, I'm so sorry to hear you've been under the weather, but relieved to know that you are on the mend, inspiring us once again with your touching and heart-felt reflections.
    Bittersweet - that's the word for the coming holidays. We are thankful that both our mothers are still with us, and that my son will be bringing my mother here for Thanksgiving. But as my MIL is ailing, this could mark our last holiday with her. I still miss my dad, and I don't suppose I'll ever stop doing so until I get to heaven. His birthday was on Christmas, so I can't go through that holiday without thinking what it was like when he was still with us.
    Praying for you as you pray for me, my friend, and sending love with a generous helping of God's peace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Martha, I hear your heart about your mother-in-law and your Dad. Yes, I hear you about missing your Dad. I most certainly do.

      I hope there is comfort and joy in your gathering, friend. It sure is bittersweet. And you're so right. In many ways, we never do get over the loss of a loved one. Their imprint stays strong and sure.

      God knows.

      Delete
  13. Linda - glad you are on the mend. Thanksgiving wishes to you, Tim and your mom.

    I agree with these words you penned: For it never fails to amaze me at the odd ways tender sadness and sparkling joy mingle, how the bittersweet ache and hearty laughter truly can go hand and hand. That is what life seems to be all about. Joy and sadness are strange bedfellows. Reminds me of what Job said to his wife: “But Job replied, “You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” So in all this, Job said nothing wrong.” Job‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'Joy and sadness are strange bedfellows.'

      Ain't that the truth. Life is filled with situations and emotions and all kinds of perplexities that make absolutely no sense from an earthly viewpoint.

      But God ...

      Thanksgiving blessings to you, dear friend. 3+ years later, I'm still missing your in-person presence in my life. How very blessed to continue to call you friend.

      xo

      Delete
    2. Also your in town prescence is so missed in my life but thank you for all your efforts to maintain our sister-friendship thang

      Love and hugs back

      Delete
  14. I am so sorry for your losses, Linda. I loved reading your touching post. 3 people can still make a joyful Thanksgiving. I hope yours is happy! "For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for bringing that beautiful promise with you ... 2 or 3 is significant in God's eyes.

      And so is 1.

      Bless you ...

      Delete
  15. Linda - I am sorry for your losses. This post was most touching and this is the line I will be thinking on today >>> "Sometimes love means keeping our hearts wide open, our lips gently sealed, and our eyes looking heavenward." You have brought much wisdom in this post for which I am most thankful. Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's the lips gently sealed that's hardest for me!

      ;-}

      Thanksgiving blessings to you, Joanne ...

      Delete
  16. Sorry to hear you've had a bout with the flu but thankful you're finding relief. Yes, holidays are often bittersweet but your caring words give much comfort. I'm thankful for you.....and you're answering God's call of ministry through your words whether it's online, in person or with clients. You are sharing his light. Thank you! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your words were a needed blessing, a bit of a shot in the arm today. Thank you, friend. You always come bearing gifts of grace ...

      Happy Thanksgiving to the 2 of you.

      Delete
  17. Awww, Linda, I'm so sorry you've been so sick. It sounds like you've used time and energy well as you "couch-potatoed" during the past few days. Our family is among those who have walked through hard things but that I can't talk about, because it isn't my story.

    And this is where I am: "Sometimes love means keeping our hearts wide open, our lips gently sealed, and our eyes looking heavenward."

    I will pray for your family as you remember the loss of your father and grandson during this holiday season. May God meet you right where you are, comfort you when the longing for them is strong, and give you smiles at the memories they shared in.

    And yes, we can use prayer. Thank you, my friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am praying for you even as we speak, Jeanne. I just love that we can lift each other up in prayer without lots of detail and storylines. May you know His peace right in the midst of your life's uncertainties.

      May you find Him to be oh so sufficient and kind.

      Blessings to you this afternoon ...

      Delete
  18. It's odd how quickly our holiday routines can change when we receive abrupt news or we lose someone dear to us. Praying for all those who are experiencing a "first" this year without someone they have loved. Blessings to you and yours this Thanksgiving, Linda.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Change happens in the blink of an eye but transitions seem to last forever ...

      Delete
  19. Your words are such a respite for me, dear Linda. I’m thankful you are feeling better and pray that you will find quiet joy wherever you look today. Much love to you and yours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. God has kept you near my heart these weeks and I'm lifting you up to Him. I hope there were moments today that encouraged your soul, Lois ...

      Delete
  20. I hear your heart in your words and my heart knows similar feelings. The holidays are so sweet and yet the reminders of years gone by float in and take over when we least expect it.

    Thanksgiving has never been my favorite for a lot of reasons. This year there are four of us and that is okay. For me it is family time that matters the most.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mary, hi! I'm realizing that for most of us, every year is different. Life happens, our families come and go, our holiday get-togethers morph. And that's ok!

      Makes me realize more than ever how comforting that God never changes ...

      Delete
  21. I am thankful for your prayers! Your post is beautiful!
    Blessings, My Friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thinking of you as you've gathered with your family this weekend, Lulu. And praying for you right now as I tap away here.

      Bless you, friend ...

      Delete

Dear Reader ~

Technical glitches happen.

* sigh *

Doesn't seem to be a place to leave your comment? Or your comment doesn't show up within an hour or so?

I'd love if you'd email me your contribution ... I'd be delighted to hand post it as soon as possible.

lindastoll @ juno . com

My apologies. And thanks for the grace ...

Linda