Friday, October 29, 2010

Rounding third...focused on Home

Grief is a strange and horrible thing. To watch someone you love suffer well makes it worse. A young man I know is dying of cancer. He was diagnosed as a boy, and has grown into a man with an uncertain future. Yet, now, as the pain becomes unbearable and the cancer takes over his body, he remains fixated on Heaven and on praising God in ALL things.

His sister knows that his time on this earth grows shorter with every moment. She wonders every time she speaks with him if it will be the last time. She hates to leave the house for fear he will be gone when she returns. Yet, she is confused why God allows him to continue suffering. Why, if he has finished his earthly work, is he allowed to linger in unspeakable pain?

His mother has watched his progress from diagnosis through treatments to testimony and now to dying. Her faith is evident, and she chooses praise and trust in God's perfect will, but at the same time her heart is shredded by the suffering of her son.  She knows intellectually that God loves him even more than she can. She understands that God knows the pain of watching a child suffer unto death. She recognizes that God loves each of us more than we can imagine. But she is a human mother who wants to make the path smooth for her child, and she is helpless to ease his physical pain.

How does one justify the love of God with the seemingly unnecessary suffering of a believer and his family?

C.S. Lewis learned about suffering and grief and pain watching his beloved wife die of bone cancer. He wrote of that misery,
         "Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery's shadow or reflection: the fact   that you don't merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief."     (Lewis, A Grief Observed)

Lewis never lost his faith in a loving God, but he, in all his intellectual genius, couldn't answer the "why" question either. He compared grief to fear, and scorned those who tried to put a "religious" face on suffering. There really is nothing worse than the mindless cliches' about a "better place" or a "reason for everything." They may be accurate cliches' but they don't ease the heartache of the sufferer--or those who suffer around and with him.

I don't understand the mind of God--how could I? I can't make sense of this kind of suffering, either--for the young man physically and for his family emotionally.  I can't see the good God promises to work out for those who love Him, as this family truly does.  All I can do is be inspired and motivated by their stubborn praise, knowing that God is sovereign and that HE knows the reasons.

"Where, except in the present, can the Eternal be met?"
(Lewis, Christian Reflections)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I am teaching a creative writing class, so I decided to participate in this assignment with them. The assignment is to write for ten minutes about coffee. Go.

My tongue recoils at the earthiness of the brew, but my nose is so enraptured by the fragrance that I cannot put down the cup. It smells of mysterious mountains in far away lands, shrouded in fingerling mists of grey. It invokes a vision of rich red earth and low green foilage, heavy with deep red berries.

The first taste is always a surprise of heat and bitterness, but the resulting vision takes me back to Kishwa Tembo and the Mount Kenya Safari Club, where two college girls saw first hand the land of coffee and elephants. Funny how those are the two strongest memories I have of that adventure. Coffee, poured strong and fresh, and elephants,, who seemed to be in hiding until one day when we could hardly escape them.

The second swallow is less sentimental. The brew is now tempered and the flavor turns from bitter to bold. The boldness touches my mind and tells it to wake up and get moving, for the challenges of the day require undivided attention. It is the second swallow that cues my mental list-maker to sort and filter all the information stacked in my brain from the night hours.

By the third gulp, my attention moves to the list, anad less to the coffee. By the time the cup is 3/4 empty, I forget the mountains and the mist and lock into the mundane. The second cup is pure habit, with no romance about it.

Funny how quickly the mind moves from majesty to mundane. There must be a way to capture the magic of those first moments and use that energy to make even the dullest task seem special.

My list beckons...I'll have to consider that thought with tomorrow's first cup.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Today I allowed myself a rare luxury: mental rest. I ran the errands on my list and then settled into my backyard hammock with a book. (The Hunger Games-well-developed characters, predictable story, and large print. It just doesn't get more relaxing than that.)

The sky was blue with a few wipsy white clouds floating by. The squirrels chattered as they chased each other through crunchy fallen leaves. Hawks screeched and dove for some small prey. And I observed the best of autumn from the vantage point of a comfortable hammock, enjoying stolen moments of blissful mental rest.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Autumn bookmarks

I figured I needed to sit somewhere OTHER than my computer to create for a bit. One of my yahoo groups had a bookmark swap, so I settled in to make one bookmark. Of course, once I started cutting paper and stamping...

I found in a drawer a tool I haven't used in at least a couple of years. It's an old Sizzix paddle punch, something I thought I couldn't live without, but found over time that buying the paddle dies was a pain. One I got my Silhouette, all other punches and dies went by the wayside.

Today, however, I pulled out the old tool, and found that it made a nice addition to the bookmark design:

(Stamps from The Angel Company)

Romania 12-13

Romania 10-11