As I sat this afternoon at the funeral of a very close friend's 33 year old sister, I reflected on the past several days and the emotions that have accompanied. Let me take you through it...for several days, a couple of weeks or so, Old Socks and I have watched and felt very helpless as some near and dear to us have been embattled. I won't go into these battles, but just know that when we say that it has been trying, that might be an understatement. All while this has been going on, our older son, David, has been planning to propose to his sweetheart. Those two events going on simultaneously have been somewhat a mix of polar opposite emotions. Then, on Friday morning, we received an early morning call from another dear friend. His sister-in-law had just been found deceased. We immediately got dressed and went out to be with this family...family of ours, if you will. Hearts were and are breaking in this matter. There are so many unanswered questions and so few answers. Then comes Saturday...David gets the email of 'approval' from his future father-in-law in Afghanistan. So, he takes his lady to a spot special to the two of them and presents the ring and the question. Of course, she says, 'Yes!' So, we are on an emotional high, for the moment. We are blessed to have her as a part of our family. Now, on Sunday morning, we join friends, along with another dear friend, at their church...The Grace Place. When we arrived, we were warmly greeted by a very casual congregation and began to worship in a contemporary setting. The first song we sang was an 'old favorite' to many a believer....the song was 'I'll Fly Away.' Old Socks and I were immediately carried back to 2003 and the funeral of yet another dear friend/brother. Were we sad? No, not really. You see, he is no longer suffering and his family is ever-stronger in the Lord. Then, we sang 'Strong Enough' by Matthew West. If you have not ever heard the song, may I encourage you to listen to it. It could not have been a more fitting song for a more fitting time for us. Then, the pastor shared a message in a series he is doing on connecting Christmas to the Old Testament. He shared of how God's Word is true whether we believe it or not. In that message, he reminded us that while Jesus was fully human, He is fully God and that while He was fully capable of sinning, He NEVER did. How awesome is that? Have you ever thought about it? While Old Socks and I already knew this, it was good to be reminded. Fast forward a couple of hours later...we have shared with relatives in N. Ga. the news of the weekend with regard to the engagement. While we shared to include and share in our joy, it seemed as if that news alone was met with mixed emotions. Then, we were sitting at the funeral and all of these events were swirling in my mind. How do I deal with all of this? I have friends/family struggling with such anguish and heartbreak, I have a newly engaged son/daughter-in-law to be, and relatives who are hundreds of miles away; some of whom I feel closer to and some of whom, I feel less than close to. It has been said that we can choose our friends, but we can't choose our family. I thought this is somewhat a true statement. Not that I choose or choose not, but often feel to be less than chosen or that maybe some would choose not to have me or mine in their family. Let's face it people, relationships make the family and that family doesn't necessarily dictate that there be blood relation. Some of you who will read this blog are blood relatives and some of you are Blood relatives (see previous blog) and while we might be in touch more with some and less with some, may we never take relationships for granted. Furthermore, may we never allow pettiness to sever relationships. What do I mean by pettiness? You know, it could be the proverbial 'glass of spilled milk' or the facebook snub, or perceived snub. The truth of the matter is this: relationships require genuine effort, care, and concern. A simple solution? I am not sure that there is one. However, I am sure that hurt feelings over petty things and focus on self more than others (genuineness, not of the stalker nature) is absolutely required. We must find a way to move beyond those petty things and those petty people in our lives/paths and focus on those who are in our lives because the Lord has placed them there, whether by blood or Blood.
So, as you can see, I truly have been dealing with such a flood of emotions....some good, some not so much. What do I do with it? What do any of us do with such a flood of emotions? I can't tell you what you should do or and I don't know what you would do. I only know that I am determined to be who I am, who He has called and molded me to be. I am going to love Him first and foremost, love my Old Socks, my boys & their lady loves and the rest of those of you. Will I always receive the love I give? From the Lord, absolutely. From my Old Socks and sons, I truly hope so. From everyone else? Some yes, some no....I have made my choices and sworn my allegiances. The rest is up to Him and them/you. However, I will say this, as in previous blogs, I seek only to please Him and them. I do not desire nor require the approval of everyone with whom I come in contact....when it has all been said and all has been done, what matters most is best stated as penned by Cindy Morgan: "It's not who you knew, it's not what you did. It's how you live." In the spirit of that quote, I leave you with a paraphrase from Francis Chan's Crazy Love/Living Crazy Love book and Bible study: God doesn't judge us on a curve, He judges only as we line up to His word. (Basically, we can't look around and judge ourselves or judge others based on our ideals or the actions of others...there is one standard...His word.)
Having said all of this, I leave you to mull it all over. Pray over it if you are a pray-er. I do encourage you to, if nothing else I said struck your heart, to contemplate the words of Cindy Morgan and Francis Chan.
Until next time, live life to the fullest, love to the deepest, and ride safely.