Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Melancholy Days of Autumn

For those of you who are still checking this site, I would like to express my gratitude and I would like to apologize. To both of you. That means Cyndi (who responded to the blog recently) and the other one (whoever you are) still checking! Of course, a few more may be reading because I promised on August 16 that I would publish a paper that Linda had written in application for a program to gain certification as an ESL teacher. Alas, I will delay that document yet again as I write about other matters tonight.

I mentioned in my last post that one of the benefits of moving from Buies Creek to Fuquay-Varina was the easing of painful memories that were associated with the home where we spent almost 10 wonderful years together. We loved living in Buies Creek and I did not want to move away from there – but I did want to move to Fuquay. It has been so nice being closer to my parents – my father is not doing well and it is good to see him, along with my dear stepmother, more often (though not as often as I would like) than I was able to see them before. It is also good to be closer to Autumn (my daughter) and Brian. The early days in Fuquay were filled with new focus and the business of settling in.

Well, I am more settled now, and the pain of loss has crept back into my soul. It came with the melancholy days of Autumn. WAIT A MINUTE! Autumn is overwhelmingly my favorite time of the year, so “melancholy” as an adjective before Autumn is radical for me! I cannot tell you how much Linda and I loved the crisp days (OK, the occasional crisp mornings and evenings so far) and the newness of the year for us – school and church both begin, for all practical purposes, in mid-August. And, therein lies part of the problem. We loved the fall. Oh, I still am happy to be in this time of the year, but the ache that accompanies the memories of my sweetheart adds the bitter to the sweet.

I have friends who have told me (one tonight) that you just never get over losing someone you love so dearly.  I already knew that to be true missing my mother, who went to be with the Lord in 1995, but losing my spouse was another level of loss.  Just when you think you are doing OK, the pain is just as fresh as ever. As I have said so many times (though not necessarily this way), better the pain of lost love than the pain of regret. I do have regrets, but very few. Pain, I have, aplenty.

That is why I picked up a book at the Christian Bookstore tonight that I am very much looking forward to reading – A Sacred Sorrow: Reaching Out to God in the Lost Language of Lament, by Michael Card. I have long appreciated Michael Card’s gifts as a songwriter and a theologian. I cannot wait to jump in, but I wanted to connect with you, first.

Have I mentioned here that Christianity is the only religion in which the language of complaint is found in its sacred Scriptures? Have you ever thought about that? Do you know why? According to John Ortberg (I am remembering this from a conference where I heard him speak, so I hope I have this right), it is because we know that God cares about our troubles and we know that He can do something about our ordeal. Can He bring Linda back? Well, of course he could, but He will not. Can He bring peace to my broken heart? Yes, and the language of lament in His Word guides me in my sorrow. He is sufficient, but I am not sure we learn that until we recognize the desperation of our situation. All of Jesus’ followers may need to learn about His sufficiency in the coming days if our economic crisis in this country deepens – and, it will affect those of you reading around the world, also!

Thank God for His love and tender care, so often realized in the embrace (metaphorically speaking, you know) of His children, my brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank you for continuing this journey of unexpected twists and turns, mountains and valleys, rive – oh, I am sorry. Anyway, thanks! I love you!