Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Learning to share

I went to get my hair cut today and was talking to my stylist (that sounds pretentious, but I can't think of a better way to put it!) and found out that her mom recently died in October. This stylist is the mom of a girl I worked with when I worked in customer service for the Body Shop, and I've been to her a couple times for a haircut. I told her that my mom had recently died too, very unexpectedly and suddenly, and she asked me the strangest thing. She asked me if I had any "signs" that she was still with me. I (somewhat naively) said "do you mean, like, pictures?" She replied that she felt that she had seen "some lights" and other things that made her think "her mom was still with her." When I mentioned wanting to have my Dad close by to take care of him, she asked "if they were together" as though it were safe to assume they were divorced, and then sounded surprised when I said no, they've actually been married for over 30 years. That made me sad, too. The only thing I could think to reply with was that I am a Christian and know my mom was too, and that I know she is in heaven. She isn't around here anymore.

I felt so bad for this lady who so desperately wants to hang onto the memory and presence of her mom in her life that she would take flickering lights or some such nonsense as a "sign" of her mom's spirit. Of course I can understand not wanting to let go, not wanting to be far apart from your mother. I believe that from even before birth, we have such a special connection to our mothers, both physical and through love, that we will never have something quite the same with any other person. A close friend or mentor can be "like a mother" but there is just no replacing the nurturing of a mother's love. Imagine the way a pregnant woman waits for nine months, dreaming about, preparing for, talking to, and loving on her baby before it's even born! And after it's born, well, that baby becomes her whole world. The mother/child relationship is so crucial and so impossible to re-create once lost.

I could talk forever about this subject, as I think of and miss my mom every minute of the day, but my real point is that I was shocked today at how I felt totally unprepared and inadequate to tell this lady that I know how she can not have to rely on signs and feelings and how she could have real hope. Honestly, it was an awful feeling to have while we're looking for a ministry position... if I can't tell my hair stylist how to have hope in the face of death when I've just been through it myself, how can I help Matt lead a whole congregation? I know I have to do my part so that these opportunities won't be wasted.

I came home and ended up reading the Talley's most recent post about Linda's condition. It breaks my heart to read their posts, because it's so painfully similar to our situation with Mom, but in extreme slow-motion. They are preparing to go through one of the hardest things there is to go through, and I can say for a fact that I know what it's like. But then, I also read our friends the Creech's blog... their grandma just found out that her lymphoma is back... and Faye's writing is so encouraging, I wanted to share a bit:

"But it is precisely the pain and suffering and aching and crying that make us more able to pray. And the prayers make us more able to hear God's voice in the midst of troubles. For after the shock and anger and tears these words have the most meaning:
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33"

I've seen ways so far that I feel God has used such great tragedy in my life to prepare me for something... I just don't know what yet. He's used Mom's death as an open door to compassion for those who have lost loved ones and for those who are lost themselves. I'm continuing to pray that I will be obedient to Him and "faithful to the process" as Dad says.


Alisa said...

Wow, Lindsey, your thoughts are so profound. All I can say in response to reading your words is that I have seen such a huge work in you over the past month. I know you feel it and recognize it, but I thought it might be encouraging to you to know that others see it and recognize it too. You are already being obedient to God by allowing yourself to be transformed and opening yourself up to the idea of being a vessel for God. I can't wait to see how God uses this situation in your and Matt's life. It is encouraging to me to see His plan for your life unfold. I'm praying for you both.

Love you,

Alisa said...

PS- Post a picture of your new haircut on your blog! (:

Creech Family said...

Hey guys! Your experience was similar to one I had today at the dentist office when I left thinking "Why, oh, why Lord did I not have something directly to say to this woman (even with tubes in my mouth!) when she seemed so desperate wanting answers about her children's spiritual state?" It seems we are never prepared for other's questions and yet the realization and burden of those times is what prepares us for the next time(s). The Lord knows all this ahead of time of course(I have to keep reminding myself) and so I bet next time someone says something similar you will be ready with a better response. I know tonight I studied a few scriptures to answer my hygenist's questions and after reading your post I feel led to write a few things out to send to her. Hopefully I will also be better prepared for next time she (or another)asks some questions but if not, I know the Lord will be teaching me more then, too.

May HE who is the Hope for each and every one of us be merciful to us for our mistakes and shortcomings, patient with us as we learn, and shine through us in spite of our shortcomings. One of my favorite verses for many years has been/is 2 Cor. 12:9 "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

Matt and Lindsey said...

Faye- thanks so much for that! What a blessing that God's love doesn't depend on our own abilities, because I fall short every time!

Alisa- if I must :)