Friday, August 5, 2011

(Tuesday) To Be Still and Quiet

We're home after nearly four-weeks away. It's good to be home, but I can't honestly say I was ready. My husband coined our time away much better when he called it a retreat for us. That is was.

We come home to look forward to the funeral for my uncle this week. I continue to ponder, reflect and allow God to speak to my heart over this loss and what I wrote Friday for the Five Minute Friday Prompt still lingers.

So, this is what I have for this week, as I continue to be still and quiet.

"I brought you to your first ice cream parlor and introduced you to your first ice cream sundae," he reminds me in the last year or so from the bed where he lays paralyzed on one side. I remember the time he came to visit and gave a pack of gum to each of my sisters and me. The striped fruit flavored sticks kind of gum - the first time I had tried gum other than Hubba Bubba, and very possibly the first time I had ever received my own pack of gum.

That made him an ultra cool uncle.

He, with that thick New York accent, was strong and intelligent on the outside; and turns out broken and hurting on the inside. I wondered if his outside world shattered, too, just five years ago - due to a heart attack and stroke that put him in a nursing home indefinitely; that left him with nothing and no one - maybe as a channel for opportunity to look to the One he had pushed away his whole life. My heart gravitated toward him in his loneliness, as I conversed by phone monthly - my mother daily until she arranged to have him transferred to a nursing home in our home town a year and a half ago. Her brother, after all.

I visited. Not enough.

Guilt weighed in and streams poured down my face when I heard just two days ago that this would be the last time I would ever see him again. "I wasn't there enough. I didn't do enough," was my initial reaction. I thought maybe the blessings were with each person who stood by his bedside to chit chat and yes, that made a difference, but it was never enough.

In my sorrow, God seemed to gently brush the tears and caress my heart as to reassure me that it wasn't so much the blessings that came with me when I went, as it was the blessings I was to receive in going; in sacrificing a little comfort and convenience to face brokenness; to be willing to look suffering in the face and see Jesus.

Maybe my uncle's destiny was never dependent on me at all. Piecing together brokenness was never my responsibility. There was simply blessing there for me - and for my mother, step-father, sisters, brother-in-laws, nieces and nephews. Oh, I believe God uses me, but it is in his great mercy that he rarely shows me how he has or when. Couldn't that kind of vision keep me from really seeing the One truly in control?

A weight releases because time and opportunities have not run out for us to continue to be and to see blessings. I think about my uncle and am reminded not to miss a moment when God tugs on my heart and I'm convinced that when we take time out of our life to pursue that tug, to be there for another, to serve another - we are the ones blessed.

We'll never know all that God knows. We never know what goes on in the last days - moments of a dying person. But I trust my Savior that he is good and his mercies endure forever.

Sometimes it takes blindness to see like it takes death to finally live.

{This was longer than a five-minute post and adapted from the original post}

{photo source}


  1. Seems like 5 min fri brings out so many emotions. wow. thanks for sharing.

  2. Breaking you and reaching you beyond the limits to show His wholeness...this Divine paradox that sheds itself over more and more of life.

    Blessings to you friend:)

  3. These are difficult things to work through, to reckon with the brokenness and love of this life. You wisely wind up in trusting in the only trustworthy thing -- the truth of God's word and perfect will. Blessings, Aly

  4. This is really beautiful, Theresa. You have the gift of telling a personal story in a way that allows others to relate.

  5. This is truly beautiful. I love when you say that it wasn't for you to piece him back together, but to receive the blessings by facing his brokenness. I really took a lot from this post- so often, I think that I assume to much is my responsibility. When really, it's God's. I should allow him to work through me, and instead, concentrate on what I can learn from the experience, how I can grow, and what God is teaching me.

  6. Your heartfelt, beautifully penned words reminded me once again that it is not for me to figure out God's ways. Sometimes, He sends me to bless others, sometimes, in my going out, I am the one blessed...and sometimes, the revelation of the intended blessing (and blessee) isn't revealed this side of Heaven.
    Thank you for sharing. Your words opened the eyes of my heart.

  7. "in sacrificing a little comfort and convenience to face brokenness; to be willing to look suffering in the face and see Jesus."

    This. I need to remember this. I fidget and squirm and avoid at all costs, and I am ashamed to admit it, but I flee. I so want to be better, to be look suffering in the face and see Jesus. To comfort as He does, and to think not of me but of the one who needs Him. Thank you for this reminder.

  8. I always take comfort in the truth that only God can change a heart. And then extra comfort too, in the truth that he chooses to use us.

    This side of heaven you may never know how your phone calls touched your uncle.

    I am sad with you for your loss.


  9. Beautiful words, my friend. Always love how you pull me into your world with your stories.

  10. Oh, I am so blessed by your words. Clearly, it is not always about our work, but His blessing through the acts of obedience, and sometimes the just being, that matter. It is about Him and Him alone. Thank you for sharing your grief.

  11. I'm glad your retreat was wonderful, it sounds like you've had a rough re-entry to life at home. As you process I pray God continues to clarify and reveal. You expressed your thoughts so well and I enjoyed reading them. I especially liked your last sentence, sometimes it takes death to finally live. So true.


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