The First Day

IMG_0112The first day, without my mother in the world, was last Friday.  I think my mother’s passing may make me a kinder, more loving person.  She was that way.  She didn’t just like a person, she tried to understand them.  And in that, she found the gray areas between  behavior, heart, and the soul:  they don’t always add up, and good people can do things that baffle the mind.  To cut to the heart, my mom would ask the question “why?”.  She would question aloud with an “I wonder….”.  She tried to look deeper than the surface, into the creation underneath.  And with those words every concept, supposition, and black-and-white answer, would get thrown out the window — knowing people were more complex than a singular action, and the answer may never be known.

She was our best friend, our confidant, our supporter, our cheering section, and our kick-in-the-butt when needed.  And it’s almost like, now that her spirit is free, she is filling us with her essence.  I can hear her saying “c’mon, c’mon now — let’s go, let’s go”.  She was hooked up to oxygen and an  IV and still insisting she had things to do, places to go — something productive, something worthy, something joyful.

And she found joy in many things — cooking, and perfecting her sauce; a “dunk” in the lake or pool on a hot day, or just taking notice of nature around her; and being with family.  She was a shy person, a woman of many talents, but held back by the times she was borne into — she wanted to be a nurse, but was discouraged at a young age; she loved to paint but set it aside to raise children.   Nevertheless, she shone.  And she was always willing to make a home for the stray animals my sister found, or feed a lost soul, or give advice to whomever needed and asked for it.

She was kind in her honesty, something I never mastered.  She didn’t care about anyone’s color, or choice of life companion — she taught us from a young age that it was their soul and spirit that mattered.  And she could see deep into a person’s heart.

Our mom was smart, a force to be reckoned with when something mattered, and loving.   I feel her essence filling me with memories of who she was… who she still is.  My mom is the best part of who I am, might be, and still hope to become and I’m blessed to see her, everyday, in my daughters.

 

A JOYFUL SPIRIT DANCED … AND I LEARNED SOMETHING

Sometimes I love Dancing With The Stars, and sometimes it irritates me. And sometimes I’m caught by surprise. Last week, an unexpected thing happened: I learned something from watching Bindi Irwin dance.

At first, it was her spirit of joy and gentleness, in the face of her losing her father at such a young age, that was captivating. He seemed to have been such a loving father who bound his family together in strength and courage and excitement and wonder. The meaning of their loss could be deeply felt. Just a snippet of this is shown on DWTS, but it was enough to start a spark in me. I am in awe of this 17 year old lovely and her courage, wisdom, and spirit that seems to transcend this earth.

Watching her week after week started me contemplating my own spirit. She had gone through such a great loss, and yet her spirit flew. In examining my own spirit, I learned something about allowing anger to take over. I had given my spirit away to bitterness, anger, and resentment. But I could claim it back.

It was in contemplating Bindi Irwin’s joy through pain, that I saw it. God will heal that place when it is given to Him. T.D. Jakes says it another way: he calls it “reckoning” — in reckoning, or reconciling, the past with the future, there is a death to vulnerability, fear, and anger and a new life that rises out of the ashes. And dying to the past, he says, takes away its power.

A young, beautiful spirit danced on TV, causing me to wonder, through the tears, what was it she knew? Part of it seemed to be: allow the healing in, give away the pain, give healing room to grow, and know that God is greater than that which plans to destroy.