Glorious Hellos

imageHere and gone for a month or so and now back here again. Spending precious time with all the grandkids and loving every minute while despising the goodbyes. Again. Looking forward to the day when goodbyes will no longer be necessary because there will no longer be the need to verbalize or express those sometimes bittersweet, sorrowful farewells. Why? We’ll be home.

The thing about goodbyes though? You have to have extended a hello. Although goodbyes can be excruciating, as you’re left wondering when the next hello may be, you must extend a hello to have a goodbye and  the hellos can be glorious.

For example, after the house became quiet from all the grandkids heading back home – deafeningly quiet – I began to feel the loss again. The separation. The emptiness of once having them here constantly to them now being a very long day’s drive away. I am not complaining (at least I hope I’m not). But oh. How this Grammy’s heart aches often over having to have said goodbye yet again. But, wasn’t it me who spoke up and said not too many minutes ago, that we can’t say goodbye unless we have first said hello?

I sometimes can get so consumed with what I had to let go of that I often cannot see what I had then or have now. The kids are gone but they were here. Their laughter filled the rooms, dearly loved books were given more love at ‘sleeping’ times and beyond. Dripping I ce cream made trails down sun-browned skin as they tried to lick it faster than it melted. Cold water became our best friend as we swam at the pool and ran through Summer sprinklers.

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Winnie the Pooh once said to Piglet (or perhaps it was Piglet to Pooh), “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”  Beyond lucky. Blessed.

How blessed I am to have someone – many someone’s – that makes saying goodbye so hard.

Yes. That‘s it.  Focusing on what I have or have had – the hellos and what they held – and not on what I don’t have now and having had to say goodbye.

God knows our pain as moms  and Dads, Grandpas and Grammies. And sometimes, He lets those we love most, in on it, too.

My daughter unexpectedly showed up last Friday evening. I don’t think I have ever been so surprised and shocked and excited all at once! When I asked her later what prompted her to come (as she lives in Southern California, I am in Southern Oregon and, I had seen her just two weeks prior), she said that we never really got to visit the two weeks prior and she wanted to spend some time with just me!

I cannot begin to tell you how that made me feel but I am sure some of you can surely relate. After she was there a day, in the back of my head I hear a whisper…

You’re going to have to say goodbye.

Dread creeps in. Desperation. All emotions of one who has it all backwards. It’s not the goodbyes I should focus on, but the glorious hellos.

I will be thankful for the bittersweet goodbyes for they are evidence of God’s insurmountable goodness: giving us loved ones who make it hard to say goodbye to. image

In God We Trusted

imageI have a friend that gave me a brand new released state quarter every time they came out. I was also the recipient of a brand new shiny gold Washington dollar, released by the U.S. Mint the year they were issued. It’s a beautiful coin, really, quite similar to the Susan B. Anthony.

We were sitting and eating lunch, my friend and I. It was a beautiful sunny day and we were afforded the blessing of sitting down by the lake right by her work. There were three of us there and she gave out coins to each of us. I looked at the coins in my hand. I was more drawn to the gold as I noticed George Washington’s imprint on the face of the coin.

“Did you notice he isn’t smiling on the dollar coin?” I asked them.

No, they hadn’t noticed.

They took another bite of lunch and I kept looking at George. Then I looked at George on the quarter. “He’s smiling on the quarter,” I brought to their attention.

They hadn’t noticed that, either.

I looked back at the gold coin.

“Did you notice they got rid of “In God We Trust” on the face of the dollar coin?” I asked.

One answered yes. The other, no.

“Get this,” said the friend who gave me the coin. “They’ve put it on the side.”

“That’s stupid,” I commented. “It’ll get rubbed off.”

And then I thought, Just like we are rubbing God right out of our country. We take a little of Him out of this and we take a little bit of Him out of that and before you know it, He’ll be completely gone and when we are at the end of our ropes, we’ll cry out Him. And why should He answer? We didn’t need Him.   We didn’t want anything to do with Him. We made that more than clear.

Some days we wake up and feel empty and alone and wonder why. The answer may be simple, really…

One day we chose to rub out our prayers at school.   Then we rubbed out giving thanks before meals. Embarrassing when we go out to eat. Can’t have that. What will people think? And the next week we rub our quiet time out of our mornings. Gotta make this meeting, gotta make that luncheon, gotta do this, gotta do that. And it’s becoming quite easy to justify rubbing church off the calendar because of the songs they sing or the pastor’s preaching style.  Before we know it, we’ve rubbed God completley out of our lives.

“In God We Trust.”

It’ll get rubbed right off of the sides of those dollars. Just wait and see. A little here, a little there. To want Him off the coin, we first had to rub Him out of our lives. As a country, we’ve done a pretty good job of rubbing  Him out  of our.  nation.

Before we know it, we’ll have rubbed Him out of everything.  Perhaps that’s why poor George isn’t smiling anymore.

Broken at Birth

imageI think I have lived long enough to learn, although an ongoing process, that as hard as I seek, no one or nothing but God can fill the hole in my heart. I believe I was born with this hole. Broken at birth.

I have sought after friends, family members, things – consciously and subconsciously. A husband, no matter how loving or a child, no matter how loved can fill this hole, a deep chasm that cries out for fulfillment and wholeness.

I stumble often and again, consistently and constantly, telling myself that just a hug, just an “I love you”, just some extra patience extended toward me – these are the things I seek – the things I long for and that will pour a shovelful of fulfillment into that empty space.

But, they don’t.

It isn’t anyone’s fault. There is no blame to hand off. It is a case of trying to fill a hole made intentionally by a God who wants me to realize He put it there and only He can fill it.

When I stop and recognize that truth, slow down enough to actually dwell on what that really means, I begin to drink of His love, His forgiveness, and His sovereignty. I begin to experience His blessings of fullness and of a beautiful new wholeness.

I find myself setting others free from impossible expectations I have imposed upon them and in the process, free myself. I may have been born into this world broken and in need, but I will leave whole and not wanting for anything.

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