Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thoughts of this year

Life is a gift. This year is such an amazing gift for all of us. We never would have had the chance to live with my mother if we had not come out. It is so great to reconnect with her in a daily way that I have not done since I left for college in 1978. Debbie and I are learning more about each other after 28 years of marriage, if you can believe it. As corny as it sounds, our love is being renewed daily. (Debbie stuck her finger in her mouth when I read that line outloud.) But really, spending time together, is like the VISA commercial says, "Priceless."

I am in a different place in my grieving than a month ago. I no longer feel so weighed down by the loss. My perspective is changing the farther I get away from the event. I no longer feel that terrible sadness that was so heavy in the fall. It has helped to talk with others about the loss and to write about it. I imagine you reading this have been helped in similar ways in your own times of loss.

After about three months of writing, re-writing, writing, re-writing, etc. I finished a short story. It is called "Just Nine More Holes". It is about the relationship of a father, son, and God as the father dies. It was very satisfying to write. Within the story I was able to say things that I wanted to say about that last year of my dad's life. It was healing to write and has been healing for family members to read.

The first Sunday of January I preached in my home church. It was a wonderful experience. I never become as engrossed in the Scripture as when I am working on a sermon. The Holy Spirit inhabits my mind in a marvelous way that does not happen to me at any other time. So he week before I was so happy as studied and struggled, prayed, and wrote. When I preach, I connect people to Christ more effectively than any other way I know. I feel used by God in a way that is significant. I have missed preaching and felt such joy doing it again. And of course it was special because it was in the church I grew up in. Henry was proud of me and that felt really cool. The next day I was so disappointed that I did not have another sermon to prepare that week! I will preach two times later this month. I do look forward to picking it up again when I get back.

At the same time, I am enjoying the opportunity to worship with my family as a "regular" member. How cool to just come to church and receive. Most of you don't know how lucky you are! And if I am five minutes late, the service goes on anyway! The Pastor of my mom's Methodist church is a super pastor and exciting preacher. Each week I look forward to what God will say to me through him. And as long as I am listening, he always says something which speaks directly to me. We have made friends in the church and enjoy seeing them on Sunday. God is showing me anew how great it is to be a member in a church.

Debbie wants to tell you what she has been up to.
"Hi Everybody! I miss you all. Around the week before Thanksgiving I suddenly became manic and stayed that way for about 5 weeks.  That was followed by the usual up-down-up-down of recovery. I have been back to my usual self since about mid-January.  I did not, thankfully, ever have to go in the hospital.  During this time I had a bad sinus infection, which was treated with two rounds of antibiotics.  Those wiped out the flora in my colon, causing me to get a thing called c. difficile (a severe colitis).  I was sick enough to be reduced to a Gatorade-only diet for 8 days, and we all went up to Mansfield, Ohio (2 and a half hours north) to stay with Charlie's sister, whose husband is a general surgeon.  Dan took excellent care of me and I avoided surgery.  Diane took excellent care of all of us and we had a really good time, all told, but had to flee in the dark of night to avoid an ice storm coming in.  I'm eating again, and it seems that all's well that ends well.  I wish I had some cheery, happy story to tell, but I will say that as a native New Englander and survivor of 10 Minnesota winters, that I (and Charlie and Henry, too) am really enjoying the snowy 10 degree winter.  It's really beautiful."