What I wouldn’t give to invite you to the Pogue Cottage; to rest on our couch, sip tea and gobble chocolate croissant bites. No doubt U2 or Frank Sinatra would sing in the background, as autumn scents hang in the air, and I see your eyes to express thanks.
Thank you for listening, encouraging, cheering on, offering grace, and allowing me permission to BE. Thank you for journeying alongside, at times running free, hands-in-the-air silly, while other moments we move sticky tar steps in slow motion. Thank you for providing company.
As E’yen Gardner says, “When we know Love, fear has no value in our presence. There is no pressure to perform and mask our humanity. We can BE and when we BE. We can inspire others to BE.”
Whether a verbal or quiet reader, I appreciate your presence. If I didn’t hear from you I would still write. Some paint, others play. Some plan and teach. I rearrange furniture, devour too much chocolate, and process with words.
Many of you have traveled with me from Inspired Window to Upcycled Jane. You’ve been with me for years, like a comfortable blanket, warm and homey and safe. Some of you are new friends, recently joining, and for all of it, I say thank you.
Crazy to think 18 months ago my dad met Jesus face-to-face. It’s unreal what I’ve learned – celebratory and painful – in the days and months since. Much about holding life open-handed, identity, releasing control, and continual content sighs at choosing an eternal lens to see it all through.
This last year and half has been abundant, lament at the center. Lament, a passionate expression of grief or sorrow, is not a comfortable process to accompany.
Life is traveling unexpected terrain and inconsistent elevations, the scenery and weather changing from one day to the next. Ecclesiastes and the Psalms are rich with seasons of praise and times of lament. Some seasons are full of wildflowers and down grass. Then, sharp mountains of challenge and persistence meet with dedication and pure air. Then dark, murky mud holes surprise – wet and slippery – taking every ounce of focus to maintain footing until the path dries to display restful meadows. Highs and lows of the journey beckon breathtaking views and dark caves.
You see, loss is like wading through mud. Some moments it looks as though one isn’t moving, but down deep, feet are wiggling, freeing away roots and debris only found at the bottom, and after time and working it loose, another step is slow-motioned forward.
For those of you who have accompanied this not always wildflowers and down grass, but always real lament-laden season, thank you. Thank you for coming alongside what is not easy to watch, read, or understand. Thank you for allowing my lament. And if you had to step away for a bit because it was too much, I understand. Who wants to read about loss unless you have to? Believe me, I get it. Perhaps when you do, my loss story will offer hope in that time. How beautiful that we have others who have journeyed all seasons to help us grasp understandings of “that time.” When needed, we can learn and be inspired, knowing we are not alone in whatever we face.
I’m inspired by this beautiful article on lament by Dan Allendar which you can read here.
Dan says, “A person who laments may sound like a grumbler-both vocalize anguish, anger, and confusion. But a lament involves even deeper emotion because a lament is truly asking, seeking, and knocking to comprehend the heart of God. A lament involves the energy to search, not to shut down the quest for truth. It is passion to ask, rather than to rant and rave with already reached conclusions. A lament uses the language of pain, anger, and confusion and moves toward God.
Before looking at the psalms, recall the poetry of the psalms were the hymns of the people of God. It was their song book; it was what they sang in the temple at their worship services. The psalms are often thought to be the private poetry of people who struggled with God rather than songs sung in public worship. God intends for lament to be part of worship; and he intends for it to be done in community.”
What I didn’t anticipate about loss would be the negative reactions. Comments to “get over your dad’s death,” “move on” “enough writing about it.” These words settle in the cracks, and at times I’ve sat on the couch and told Bryan, I’m done. It’s too much. It makes others uncomfortable. But God’s Spirit lays gentle and whispers, They don’t have to read it. Carry on. I am teaching you. Share as long as it reflects Me.
So thank you. Thank you for letting me process and be real and vulnerable and not always peppy and smiley. It’s not for lack of joy, but for learning how to move forward through the sticky mud layers.
When we share the truth of our story, we offer a safe blanket to say, You are not alone. Here, snuggle up. I’ll keep you warm for a time. And when warm, we’ll laugh and run barefoot as the grass tickles our feet.
In all terrain and elevations, may we take turns covering with blankets, rubbing foreheads, laughing and running and offering a safe space on the couch.
You, sweet readers, have been my safe space. In a world of a million inspiring authors, bloggers, incredible faces with needed voices, you land here and offer your eyes and heart and hand at my back.
And for that, I am grateful. My couch is open and my blanket is ready. I am listening. How are you?