Friday, January 15, 2010

About That Glass

I'm usually a "glass half full" kind of girl. If I weren't, the start of 2010 might have me hiding under a rock awaiting the end of the world. Exhibits as follows:

Precious aunt in final stages of cancer, father-in-law diagnosed with cancer, father diagnosed with ALS, tragic deaths of 3 family members of spouse's co-workers, young friend dealing with drug abuse, earthquake shakes Haiti (home of dear friends).

Some might shake their heads and whisper, "It can't get much worse, can it?"

I've had my moments this week. And I'm pretty sure I'll have them again. But even these sorrows and horrors, as devastating as they may be, can not outweigh my blessings. To name a very few:

Loving husband, healthy children, steady job, faithful friends, supportive church, house, car, budding new career. These "benefits" might not seem enough to some, but they all snuggle together under the giant umbrella of the knowledge of a loving God who is in control of all. Some would scoff (I can hear you snicker). "That's just a crutch. If God were so good, how could he pile all those things on you at once?"

"Ah, but he hasn't," I would say.

We live in a broken world. It's been spiraling downhill for ages. Although there are glimpses of beauty: in a sunrise unspoiled by smog, the first blooms of honeysuckles in the spring, the smell of babies, the touch of a life-long love; one has but to turn around to see the evil and decay. So sorrow happens. Death visits. Friends fall prey to lies. This is not the hand of God. That hand is the unexplainable peace, the assurance of a here-after, the calm in the midst of the storm.

I felt that very thing on Wednesday afternoon. Tuesday night my mother called me from Houston to tell me the tests conducted on my dad would most likely confirm our fears; ALS. I managed to listen to the details and almost got off the phone before the dam broke. I even managed to hold it back while my children drifted off to watch television or text on their phones. Then my husband came home from work. So I crumbled against his strong shoulder and quietly sobbed my grief behind the closed door of our bedroom.

When I could breath normally again and had washed my face, I posted the results on our prayer chains at work and church, even w/ friends on facebook. I asked specifically for strength to calmly tell my 13 year old daughter. I was waiting until a final call from my mother on Wednesday afternoon. Now, please remember that I was an incoherent mass of tears just the day before. But I managed to make it through the workday on Wednesday; teaching fourth graders, attending faculty meetings, working on lesson plans—all without crying. I talked with my mother Wednesday afternoon, and when the time came, I shared the information about her Papa having a deadly illness to my very inquisitive, insightful daughter calmly and rationally.

I can only say, "Prayer is powerful. It works. There is a God whose peace passes all understanding. And I am so very thankful that I get to call him 'Father'." 2010 has not begun auspiciously for my family. But I hold to the faith that we are still blessed. My glass is not just half-full, it runneth over.

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