Put a fork in it – because it’s done…

Written by: Ms. O

Today is the last day…the end….put a fork in it cause it’s done…2013. If there be any day…besides Thanksgiving (but most of that day is a time of preparing this humungous bird) to give thanks…it is today. When I think back on my year of 2013, the topography of that vision is like the Appalachian Mountains, spiked with highs and lows. Peaks that brought that “I’m the king of the world” and lows that still strike a chord of deep pain in my soul.

I like to start with the bitter…which dates back to my childhood…of this I am sure. I am NOT a cooked vegetable eater…at all. Okay, I like corn, but I have told that is a starch and not of the vegetable family…poor corn getting the ax. Oh and sauerkraut…go figure..one of the most pungent of all veggies and I LOVE IT! We were not allowed to leave the table before eating all our vegetables… I truly believe my mom tried every kind under the sun…so I would make sure to save a bite of something I did like to take away the taste of what I didn’t. So so true of my life in general….I need something…a reminder of the good…to take away the sting of the not so good.

This year has been marked with lives lost….funerals attended that reminded me how precious life truly is. It felt like we were all reeling from one to the next…reality that we have no guarantees in life…no one escapes car crashes or cancer. I saw stunned faces, vacant eyes, grief that overtook simple joy…and in places that I wish we had the answer to the whys..but we don’t. Just the Who…the One that holds it all in His hand. What I also saw though in the bleakness is the human desire to comfort each other. Our inborn need to help…to reach out and soothe…bring food….run errands….simply “be” for others when they are unable to “be” for themselves.

My dad’s stroke rocked the foundation of what I never saw coming. A man who raised five kids…hello, that is worth some sort of award…worked to support his family…and then came home to fix whatever was broken. This event rocked us all…my siblings…my own kids….to our core. Sure we all know our dad/grandpa/great grandpa is 83…but none of us were ready to see him diminished…seeing the war inside himself…to force words that he wants to say…try to make a hand work like it used to….to be in the limbo of “what is next.” Behind the clouds comes the sun…that gives this beautiful silver lining…the spot we turn our eyes towards. We come home…not to our own occupied houses…or the one we grew up it…but to the place that we find them.  Like it or not, my parents have had visitors…their children…come down…spend time…hear my Dad’s laugh….to ease our own fears. To remind them that they raised their kids…and it is our time to give back….as much as they will let us.

My speakable joys are pretty transparent…so very rich and plentiful. My daughter Amanda Kay moved back to my neck of the woods. When she said that she was ready to  move on to another chapter in her life, my deep fear was it would be far far away from me. My prayer time was like a bargaining table at times until I realized that I truly do not hold the cards…so I prepared myself instead for what may be. When the job came up in Houston I did a happy dance…thank goodness no one saw…it was bad…and gave ultimate thanks to God. She lives close enough to meet for lunch…or dinner…no breakfast since she is NOT her mothers daughter when it comes to mornings…shopping…a movie…or simply let’s meet and do nothing. There is no greater joy then to have part of your heart return.

I have watched my son grow into this amazing man of God that truly humbles me. His words are ones I wished I thought of first…his wisdom and deep seeded faith far surpasses my own. When Doug married Lianne I had two fears…one that I was losing my son…and two that I would struggle to love Lianne like I love my two children that I bore. I think God took great delight in showing me different. The love that has come from their marriage has only enriched my relationship as Doug’s mom…and when I think of how many children I have, it is an automatic THREE now…with Lianne being grafted in so easily and completely.

My instant put-a-smile-on-my-face joys are my siblings…who hold a place in the storehouse of memories that solidify our future of making more. My friends who only reinforce a quote I once read by Walt Whitman: “I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I don’t believe I deserved my friends.” God apparently sees the need to surround me with love and support and I am grateful…always. I work at a church that sees the need to serve God…and being a part of it humbles me.

2013 you have had your gambit of emotion. Of anything I have learned from this past year it is this…”But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Hebrews 3:13

Each day is a choice…so I will live it as such…so that I may encourage…and love….just as the Father has done for me.

2014…get ready…I know God has amazing things in store for us all…

Ms. O