I put on bright, cheery clothes for an appointment I didn’t want to face.
I don’t know who I was trying to convince.
It’s bogus to think the Maker of the Universe can be manipulated by fashion.
It’s true I wished to appear confident, strong, and hopeful but outer attire cannot guise inner conscious.
I left the office with the sting of bad news and acute awareness that I can’t always be all the things I want to.
My father-in-law’s cancer was back.
A new round of treatment offered a new round of optimism for all of us. Options offered comfort and living and dreaming resumed until fourteen days ago when an admit for what we thought would be a simple, treatable infection turned into a whirlwind nightmare. As we continued to wait, beg, pray for the medication to take hold his breathing continued to decline. Each of us was blessed time with him where he spoke gift affirming words into our hearts and could return description of the treasures we see in him. With joined hands we sung hymns and shared family prayer around the bed side, Gary included from under his mask.
And then we had to say goodbye.
Our hearts fractured. A tired haze set in. Tears – unending tears – fell.
The theology of the cross means The Lord will never be a made-to-order Santa nor has He left us when prayers as we have spoken them aren’t answered. Our good God’s work redeems (even when tough to see) in our weakness and, ultimately, makes our “goodbye” a “so long” because He claims victory over death with the promise of heaven.
It also means the strong, confident hunger is the antithesis of the hope I claim.
And, despite having experienced the death of my own father and years of longing for a child I am maybe getting that for the first time.
I let a friend see me in my robe and tear-stained eyes as she graciously handed me Oh My Cupcakes because I don’t eat well under stress but she knows there are certain things I cannot deny. Coffee, chocolate, and warm bread has been hand-delivered to me. Meals have been prepared. A friend showed up at the hospital and held my daughter when I didn’t have enough hands to cup the faces of my girls. Another said, “I’m coming tomorrow to be with all the kids” in a moment of need I didn’t anticipate and loaded my overflowing dishes into the dishwasher while she was at it. Flowers. Books to discuss heaven with my girls. A prayer rock. Texts. Emails. Phone calls. Space to absorb my sometimes ugly words. The list goes on. Shoulders to absorb the tears.
In my weakness He is strong.
In admitting to all the things I am not the face of Christ has been vibrantly seen.
Yesterday I bought a new little black dress for a funeral I wish wasn’t. And I won’t try to be confident and strong. I will, however, be hopeful because God’s healing and saving plan will kiss our tears and you, as the body of Christ, will bless us through.
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