Saturday, September 11, 2010

From the Airport

On this anniversary of the attacks on this nation, I am flying to Chicago to be with my family. I haven't been on internship for a month yet, but I need to go home because tragedy struck the Scheibel family again. One of my uncles died suddenly and without explanation on Wednesday.

I love him dearly, and I miss him dearly. I always enjoyed the stories that he told and the insight that he had. I remember fondly when he and my aunt took my cousin and I to Disney World. I loved enjoying that park with a cousin my age and with such a wonderful aunt and uncle. He and my aunt had a beautiful marriage. I can't believe that he is gone.

I am going home to be with my family for the wake and funeral. Right now, I need to be with them, to reconnect before I continue to serve my internship. I do love my internship site. The people are wonderful, and I care for them. Pastor Fred was a great support, opening his house to me right after I heard the news. Yet I am glad that I won't be there this Sunday. I didn't want to have to announce my uncle's death, nor did I want to be there when that happens. Although I appreciate individual kind words of empathy, I don't want to be overwhelmed by the congregation. For now, I need to be with people whom I have known for more than three weeks. I need to grieve with people who are also grieving. When I return to the lake, I will be ready to be with the church again.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Reflections on the lake

Thursday afternoon, I sat out on the dock to get out of the house. I found a rock sitting on the dock where I wanted to sit down. Then I started reflecting – about the rock, about myself, and about God.

When I first started painting rocks, I learned to look at the rock first and see if it looked like anything. The rock would be more beautiful when its art reflected its shape. This rock was relatively smooth, but it had two sections of it that had clearly broken off.

My first thought seeing this rock was that it was broken, and that was sad. Yet those places where the rock had severed were beautiful and full of crystals. The smoothness of the rest of the rock covered the crystals. So, maybe the fact that the rock was broken wasn't sad but peaceful. Also, those broken sections were not as jagged as they could have been, so the lake water probably was “healing” the rock for some time before I found it.

In some ways, this rock reflects me. I am mostly whole, but I have some broken places. I come from a broken home, but the years and some reflection have smoothed over the jagged edges. A few people that I love have died, leaving holes in my heart, but time has smoothed over those holes, too. Sure, the holes are still there, but they don't hurt as much anymore. Most of all, though, I am broken by sin. My sinful actions mar my surface, yet God smoothes over my scars.

Brokenness can be sad and painful, like loosing a loved one. But that brokenness doesn't have to be sad forever. Sometimes brokenness can show a beautiful interior. For example, in high school I wrote a poem about how I was “razmatazz red” on the inside and beige on the outside. Relating this to another metaphor about me, the beige was the shell to my brilliant red interior. Well, my shell is broken, and I am much happier for it. More of my red is showing, and everyone can see it.

I'm not sure how I will paint this rock, or if I will at all. Either way, it is beautiful.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The pain of death softens over the years

There are a lot of widows at my internship site. That is a sad reality of having so many members of older generations attending the church. While I knew this, it did not hit home until I visited the small cemetery on the church's grounds, behind the bell tower.

Back there are about a dozen graves, each except for one bears the name of a couple where one spouse has died. Seeing all of those couples separated by death pangs my heart. I am saddened to see names of people I know next to names of their deceased spouses. I am sad because these once happy couples are now divided by death. I also am sad because I never had the opportunity to see them together.

The church is very couple-oriented because that is the main demographic. The church doesn't have many families. It only has couples and singles. I wonder how grieving for a spouse would be in a congregation of happily married couples. Depending on the griever, that could be the best or the worst means of support. Thankfully, the congregation does have a few programs set up for widows and widowers.

Now I am not saying that all of these widows and widowers haven't found peace since their spouses have died. Many of the spouses died many years ago. A few widows have remarried, often to widowers. I wonder what life is like for them – living with someone whom they have come to love while still remembering the one whom they loved first. Once I get to know these couples better, I am sure that I will be able to better understand what their lives are like. A few lines from “I Can Live With That” from I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change may begin to answer the question. These two characters are a widower and a widow considering to get together:
Danny - I often think of those I miss
Melissa - Friends keep dying but I've grown strong
Danny - Sometimes I have to reminisce
Melissa - It still does hurt, just not as long.

Melissa – I will be buried at my Jim's right
Danny – Next to my Sue is my grave site
Both – But I'm still here with much to give
Danny - Some day I'll die
Melissa - For now, I'll live

Melissa - I'll always love my Jim
Danny - And I my Sue
Melissa - I, I just don't know
Danny - You think I do?
Melissa - No matter,
Both - I can live with you