Friday, October 30, 2009

Death to Life... the story of autumn


Fall has always been my favorite time of year.

I wonder if everyone loves their birthday month as much as I. Do you?

October is mine. It’s always been a month of promise for me. A new year… an opportunity to put the last behind… hope for the next. That’s always been the story of my October until the last couple years.

The past two Octobers have been ones of brokeness. More in line with the natural autumn and it’s death leading into winter.

This weekend I am preparing my heart for a visit to my dad’s grave site. It’s been almost two years since his accident. His birthday is Sunday and I’m making the trip on Monday. I remember the day he was buried. The dirt that they used to fill the hole was so fresh. As fresh as the pain in my heart. Each time I go it is less noticeable that his burial was recent. As time passes and that dirt begins to look like the grass surrounding it, my heart finds new ways to cope with his absence. Unlike that plot of ground, life will never completely blend in with it’s old identity. I miss him for sure! I never understood it when others said things like this, but not a day goes by that I don’t have some thought of his life here.

The most painful part is that he doesn’t get to see the kids. I thought of him last night when the kids were all decked out in their Halloween costumes. Daniel is his name’s sake. They have the same first name, but both go by their middle. Daniel looks as much like me as I looked like my dad. Therefore, Daniel looks just like my dad. There’s so many times I look into Daniel’s little brown eyes and long for my dad to be able to do the same.

There’s other challenges to autumn these days. As the weather cools I am reminded of the other things that were going on in my life at the time of his death. There was the move from Opelika to Auburn the day after his accident, the thesis I was trying so desparately to finish for my Master’s, the birth of Daniel just 4 weeks following the accident and my fall into despair that kept me on the mat well into March and later.

The pain that accompanied that visit with hopelessness was the kind that doesn’t stop with one person. It seeped slowly out of me into the lives of those around me. I gave up fighting for my heart. When I was young, I won… that’s what I did. I was winning before that too. That was the first time I realized that I was completely helpless. I’ve always been able to fight my way out of any pit and rise victoriously. I just couldn’t do it that Winter… I just couldn’t do it.

I’m still fighting the notion that I’m incapable of victory. It’s a new idea for me. It’s a different way of living… well… it’s a different way of dying.

It’s been two years of winter. I’m tired. I’ve stopped fighting. I’m dead. Just like the Japanese Maple in our yard that shines like a flaming forest fire in the Spring and Fall, but loses every single sign of life each Winter. That’s how I’ve felt for some time.

Do I believe in a Spring. YES! I will fight for it. I will persevere until the first color of green arrives. Hopelessness is Godlessnes. It’s life between the death and resurrection. It’s releasing one’s grip on conviction. I refuse to let it go.


The beauty of Spring is knowing that you were dead through Winter! Knowing that apart from the Grace of resurrection you would lie dormant until your roots withered away into oblivion. Knowing that it is not your strength that brings you back to life, but the strength of the ONE who gives life.

A high school friend of mine lost her sister this week. That is yet another comfort during Winter. We know that our experience is mirrored by everyone around us at some point in life. I look to people like Jeremy and Michelle in Alaska who lost 3 children on the same cold dark day a few years back and I know that there’s hope on the other side of Winter!

The Glory of Winter is the unalterable truth that Spring is coming!

I’m so looking forward to my visit with dad, and I’m so dreading it.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. -1 Cor. 12:9-10

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