Tears and Joy

lake.summer.7-27Today we say goodbye to that sweet soul I mentioned last week.  Ian’s dear friend Malachi passed away at 8 years old from brain cancer.  He was a joy to know and made us laugh so much.  Now as I remember him, it is with laughter through my tears.

His funeral is this afternoon and one of the hardest decisions I have ever made as a mother was deciding to have us not go.  You see it’s been hard enough for Ian to process the loss of his friend, much less attend a funeral mass in his honor.  So Kirk and I thought that school and his regular routine would be better for Ian.

Not sure if this was the best decision but Malachi’s dad totally understands.  And, that is a great comfort.  I don’t feel so guilty for not being there in person.  We are there in spirit and praying for the family and friends who have lost this amazing young man.  We are hurting too and clinging to our fond and funny memories.

When we met him, he came right up to Ian at preschool and said “Hi.  I am Malachi.  What is your name?”  Ian told him and they went to play together.  Then a few months later when Ian started full-time, Malachi made a point of saying, “I remember you.”

boys-9-6-2016Each time the boys played together, they had so much fun — whether it was Playmobile, Lego, or cars, they made up stories, made each other laugh, and shared.  Both were only children and got along really well.  They were a joy to watch and listen to.

Selfishly, I wanted to see the two of them grow up together, stay friends, and maybe room in college, go on vacations together, and so many other ideas.  But that was not to be.  The Lord had something else in mind.  So now, this amazing soul is in Heaven having a great time.  We miss getting to see him but are so thankful he is no longer in pain or suffering.

There are some people in our lives who come in and make an amazing impression and he did just that.  He lived an incredible and rich life for someone so very young, he had faith beyond measure, and a wonderful sense of humor.  He loved to help people and joke around with them as well.  He never met a stranger and enjoyed his time with family and friends.

I have learned a lot about friendship, faith, loss, joy, tears, laughter, and so much more from both Malachi and his parents.  I feel that my family is blessed beyond measure to have had these friendships. I will forever be thankful they came into our lives when they did.

May we all savor those relationships we have, make a point to tell those we love them, hug our loved ones, be there when they need us, and remember to laugh and enjoy life.  It is a gift and each day is so very precious.  May we also have joy.

Prayers, Tears, and Comfort

graceThis morning as I logged into Facebook, I read several things which game me pause — the death of a young child, the pending death of a parent, surgery of a friend, sickness of friends, cancer treatments of family and friends, and other losses.

Tears came to my eyes and I said this prayer, “Lord, please give comfort to this family as only you can, please stretch out your healing hand to those who are sick, help us be a comfort to one another and help as needed, and please watch over us. Amen.”

The child, Patrick, passed away on Saturday.  He wasn’t quite a year old and had been sick with congenital heart disease.  His mother has been writing a blog about his illness, which is very touching.  I didn’t know them very well but this boy’s aunt is a friend of mine from high school.  I also knew her brother, Patrick’s dad.

Another friend has been called in by hospice for her father.  He has been ill and now the family is gathering with him.  It will be time for them to say goodbye.  So hard to lose a parent, no matter how old we are.

Also a dear friend is having another surgery this morning.  She has already had several and hopes this will be the last one and that comfort will be coming soon.  Other friends are sick and having issues, and some are in the midst of chemo treatments.

prayingSo much loss, so much heartache, so many tears, and so much pain.  Yet there is hope and comfort.  Comfort in hugs, comfort in knowing our loved ones will see us through the pain, comfort in prayers, comfort in our faith, comfort in our memories, and comfort in time.

There is an expression that time heals all wounds.  I am not sure if it heals them or if we figure out a way to deal with them as time goes on. Perhaps it is a combination of both.

Here are a few verses of scripture that are especially poignant this morning:

  • Ecclesiastes 3:4 — a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.
  • Psalm 30:5 — Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
  • Matthew 5:4 — Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
  • Philippians 4:7 — And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
  • Psalm 23:4 — Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

May God be with you at the beginning of this new week.  If you are in pain or are suffering loss, may you find comfort.

5 Minute Friday – Broken

5minutefriday5 Minute Friday Word for March 29 is Broken

This is my second week for trying out the 5 Minute Friday.  Today’s topic is Broken.  Here were the rules.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

Okay, here are my 5 minutes of writing:

Broken seems like a great word for today, Good Friday.  This was the day that Jesus was broken physically and then crucified on a cross for me.  Amazing to think about.

He went through more physical pain than I can even fathom because He loves me and you.  Wow!

Broken also makes me think of the time that I fell and broke my arm.  That was painful and took time to heal.  Thankfully I only had a hairline fracture and not an all-the-way through the bone beak.

Broken also is how my heart feels for a family in a nearby county whose 14-year-old daughter died either last night or this morning.  At the moment I can’t remember what she had, but I did see her beautiful face this week on the news.  She was very sick.

On her bucket list was the wish to go to prom.  She was planning to go until she got very sick this week and instead had to go to the local children’s hospital.  Her community then brought the prom to her at the hospital.  She was able to look out her window and see her friends and family there for her.

Isn’t that awesome?  I must admit that I cried when I heard about this.  This beautiful child was so very sick.  I can’t even imagine what her family must be feeling today.  Hopefully they can take comfort that she is in Heaven and no longer sick or in pain.

But as any parent can attest, that will take a while to get to.  It is only natural to grieve the loss of a child.  And knowing you won’t be able to see them or hug them again takes time.  I have a dear person in my family dealing with this very thing.  My thoughts and prayers are with her and her immediate family as well.

broken.breadBack to Jesus and being broken.  Last night at the Maundy Thursday service, we ate Christ’s body broken for us and drank the wine.

In the sermon, our pastor said if you think you have it all together, you aren’t welcome to partake.  He wanted us to realize that we are all broken and that our Lord is there to heal us.  It was a thought-provoking message and the perfect one for the service.

I wonder when I am broken if I will know who to seek for comfort.  I will hope and pray that I do.

Read more thoughts on “Broken” at Lisa-Jo’s Five Minute Friday link-up today.

On Happiness and Sadness

In the movie Steel Magnolias, Truvy says, “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.”

That is a bit how the weekend was.  We had the celebration of my grandmother’s life and the following day found out we lost one of our dear sweet family members.

How does one’s mind get around such extremes — of happiness and then sadness?  I don’t know the exact answer and so wish that I did!!

Grams’ party was a lot of fun and she loved my blog that I’d written.  My cousin read a really nice poem and then a funny one, gifts were opened, and great food and cake were enjoyed as well.  It was a great evening.

Then the news of the loss.  Losing a loved one is always difficult.  Crying and prayers and hugs and love are about all I know of to do in times like this.

I saw a picture this morning on Facebook that resulted in some tears — “I wish there were visiting hours in Heaven.”  How I wish that were true!  And, how I wish I could visit our loved one.

There is an expression, “time heals all wounds.”  How much time?  With some losses it feels like that will take a very long time to be true, if ever.  Another is “take it a day at a time.”  On some days, that could be changed to “take it a minute at a time.”

I found some quotes about sadness, loss, and happiness:

  • Tears are God’s gift to us. Our holy water. They heal us as they flow.” ~Rita Schiano”
  • “I don’t know why they call it heartbreak.  It feels like every other part of my body is broken too.”  ~Missy Altijd
  • “If I had a single flower for every time I think about you, I could walk forever in my garden.”  ~Claudia Ghandi
  • “I dropped a tear in the ocean.  The day you find it is the day I will stop missing you.”  ~Author Unknown
  • “Happiness is never stopping to think if you are.”  ~Palmer Sondreal
  • The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.”  ~Mark Twain

Lord, please hold my family close and watch over us.  Hugs and love to my family.

To Making It Count!

In the movie “Titanic,” the characters raised a glass in a toast and said, “To making it count.”  That is such an important phrase to remember, and yet, I know that we don’t always make things count.

This morning I found out a friend of mine in college died.  She lived each day to the fullest and knew how to make it count!!

Her name is Shelli and she fought a long and very hard battle with cancer.  She went through treatment on and off for many years and was in constant pain.

And yet, she was thankful for each day the Lord gave her.   And she was one of the most positive people I have ever known.  She also was constantly praying and had a very strong faith.

I had lost touch with her in the years since we graduated from college.  Then in 2010, I saw her at a reunion at our alma mater, Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee.   We then stayed in touch over the years, mainly through Facebook.

It was great to see the fun things she did with her husband Joe and their children.  And, to also share in prayer support when needed.  Shelli was a blessing to me and I know to her many friends and her family.  She will be greatly missed.

Dear Lord, I hope that I too can make each day count and truly live my faith as my friend Shelli did!  Please welcome her to Heaven with your open arms!!  AMEN.