In the span of one hour, my emotions ran the spectrum from grateful exuberance to deep grief.
My parents had stopped by—no easy feat since they live 2 hours away from us now. They just called out of the blue and said “we’ll be coming by this afternoon if you’re going to be home...and oh...by the way...what are the measurements for your oven?” J Christmas (for the next few years) came early at our house in the form of a beautiful, new
! Maytag Gemini Range
Did I write about how I broke our stovetop a few months ago? Probably not...definitely not a good day. Those beautiful ceramic stove-tops—did you know that you could break one? I didn’t, until I did! I was pulling a drinking straw out of the jar we keep them in on a high shelf to the right of our stove. In the process, I inadvertently pulled down a beautiful crystal bowl which landed squarely on top of our stove. I think it was at least 3 minutes before I moved my body or closed my mouth as I stared at the gaping hole and myriad of cracks that the now destroyed dish left on my stove top.
We’ve been using (and praying over) the 2 burners with the least amount of cracks while considering what to do—replace the top which costs 2/3rds the price of a new oven or just replace the beast altogether (you see...we’ve never been the best of friends...Mr. G.E. and me!)
After canning both peaches and applesauce in the most creative of manners I must say—my parents decided they would decide for us and gifted our family with an appliance I never would have ever purchased for myself. Hence, the grateful exuberance! For all of us. My mom was so giddy about giving the gift that she bounced and danced a bit while explaining it to us. My home was full of laughter, talking, hugs, happy kids, happy Mama and happy grandparents. We even had happy dogs! Well, my parents dog was pretty excited to be visiting. Our old pug doesn’t think much of the young Corgi pup!
As we were heading out the front door just an hour later (as they had a busy evening ahead of them with a long drive to boot) my Dad’s cell phone rang. It was my aunt. My parents had just been sharing about their planned trip next week to go with my other aunt and uncle for a visit to my Dad’s youngest brother and his wife. He has been fighting cancer valiantly for about a year and just a couple weeks ago had been sent home with hospice for what they expected to be approximately 6 months. The phone call that came yesterday cut that already short sentence down to days.
I didn’t mean to cry. I didn’t want to cry. But sometimes all you can do...is cry. There are no words to speak. No thoughts to be shared. Nothing meaningful to say at a time like that. Only, “I’m so sorry Dad!” over and over and over again. We prayed against this day coming and instead for miraculous healing. God’s desire was not to be the same.
As I looked at my Dad and hugged him, I recalled the first time I had ever seen this man cry. I was about 16 years old and he was telling us...or trying to tell us really, that his father had cancer. Now he was shedding tears for his baby brother about to close out his own life to the same disease.
From pure joy to deep sorrow...in less than an hour!
The rest of my afternoon was a mix of emotions as I prepared for, received, fought to install and began to use the gift of love that had brought my parents to my home. My thoughts played pictures in my mind, conversations and experiences with my uncle who's yesterday contained words of finality.
Excitement, joy, gratitude....sorrow, grief, finality.....all ingredients of the same day—the same hour! We don’t get to choose those ingredients, but we do have a part in choosing how we are prepared to receive them. With hope or with despair.
I have really struggled with how many things seem to be breaking around here—appliances, vehicles, teeth, relationships and just a wide gamut of “stuff”! And there has been less than abundant work coming in for my husband’s business. How I receive all of this is my choice. In despair or in hope. I’ll admit I haven’t been faithful to immediately choose the later. But He gets me there as we meet and talk.
Thinking about my uncle as he nears the end of his life also has me thinking about my own life and what it will be remembered for.
Yesterday, I wrote this post before any of the above had transpired. And I realize today as I reread it what ingredients are missing. What I was trying to understand from God that wasn’t getting understood in my frustration with myself.
Joy steeped in Hope!
That is the foundation of faith and what I want to be remembered for. A woman who lived joyfully, hopefully, lovingly and therefore...faithfully!
May yesterday be long remembered—for all its ingredients and all grace creates with them!