Tag Archives: Death

Irony – An Elfje

Rugged
the cross
instrument of death
brought me eternal life
irony

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Last Breath – A Cinquain

Breathing
in, out again
no other sound so dear
except if you spoke, one more time,
I’d hear.

I wrote this cinquain for dVerse Poets Pubs FormForAll. It is my attempt to capture my experience of Thursday last week as I sat in my sister’s hospital room, praying she had it in her to keep fighting cancer, but knowing she did not.

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All Things Are Possible – A Poem

Sadness and joy
are hard to hold
at the same time

Mourning death
and celebrating life
in the same moment
is impossible for me

But with God
all things are possible

I’m still feeling sad over the death of my sister, but tomorrow is my son’s 18th birthday. Talking to a good friend about this yesterday she made the comment that sadness and joy are hard to hold together. She’s right.

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Blue – An Elfje

Blue
great sadness
but not despair
my hope in Jesus.
Death.

It’s been a long week full of sadness. One of my sisters passed away last night after a long battle with breast cancer. I am thankful that I was able to be with her, and hopeful that she is in God’s hands now, but still sad because I will miss her. I’m also thankful once again for the little elfje because it helped me keep up my daily poem for Lent.

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Worth Dying For – A Poem

Jesus believed
I was worth dying for
You were worth dying for

Shouldn’t I believe
He is worth dying for, too?
Shouldn’t you?

In China and Pakistan,
Sudan and Saudi Arabia
His persecuted church risks life and limb
every single time
they speak His beautiful name

His holy name,
the name above all other names
is the only name worth dying for

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Psalm for My Savior – A Pantoum

The other day I wrote a triolet and my dear blogging friend Deb, of Deb’s Blog, commented that it was very Psalm-like. It got me thinking about writing another triolet inspired by my favorite Psalm 116. But when I started writing I realized the triolet wasn’t really long enough to adequately express the subject of the Psalm-like poem I had in mind. Then I thought of the pantoum form, another of my favorites. Like the triolet, the pantoum has a set pattern of repeated lines. Both forms work wonderfully for Christian poetry. I hope you are blessed by this pantoum.

Psalm for My Savior

For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death
The anguish of death and darkness entangled me
I called on the name of the Lord: “O Lord, save me!”
Praise my God, my Savior who came to my rescue

The anguish of death and darkness entangled me
My eyes filled with tears, my feet stumbled under me
Praise my God, my Savior who came to my rescue
Rescued me from my trouble, sorrow, and darkness deep

My eyes filled with tears, my feet stumbled under me
The Lord, my God, heard my cry for love and mercy
Rescued me from my trouble, sorrow, and darkness deep
Now I know His grace and mercy are mine to keep

The Lord, my God, heard my cry for love and mercy
He saw the anguished turmoil of my broken soul
Now I know His grace and mercy are mine to keep
I will forever praise His glorious name, Jesus

He saw the anguished turmoil of my broken soul
I called on the name of the Lord: “O Lord, save me!”
I will forever praise His glorious name, Jesus
For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death

This Psalm was my offering over at dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night #47. Head over and check out some other great poetry.

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Twenty-Four Years – A Poem

January 3, 1988 is the day my mom died. It’s been 24 years today. At the dVerse Poets Pub today, Brian says there is a poem in everything. Perhaps there is a poem in this.

Twenty-Four Years

We knew it was coming
the diagnosis was grim
and so the call should not have been
a huge surprise to me
But it was
that January day long ago

One day you were there
we were celebrating Thanksgiving
then you were gone
just a box of ashes

Each year
for the next ten years
on that very day I would think of you
It shouldn’t have been a surprise
but each year it was
like a ton of bricks hitting me

Then one year, somewhere around year eleven
there was no ton of bricks
the day came and went without fanfare
without sorrow
without remembering

It’s not that I forgot you,
I thought of you often,
but not on that day,
this day – January 3

Until this year. 
It’s been twenty-four years today
More than half my life
you’ve not been there
and I’ve missed you

From this day forward
I will have fewer days with you
than without you.

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When God Says No

I had a plan for what I was going to post today, but then something happened on Thursday night that changed my focus. I returned home from my late work meeting a little after 9:30. I was sitting in my living room, reading blog comments and checking Facebook, when I heard my cat Tom meow loudly in the other room. We went to see what was happening and found him lying on the floor in respiratory distress. My husband and I rushed him to the emergency vet, leaving our 16-year-old son at home.

Sadly, Tom did not make it. A blood clot to the lungs took the life of my ornery but loveable cat. He was only 9 years old. He will be missed dearly. But having heard the news from the vet, I knew that the hard part was still to come. We had to go home and tell our son that the cat he loved, his birthday present when he turned 7, didn’t make it. We decided to take Tom back home with us to let our son help decide whether to bury him or have him cremated.

Because I was planning to work only a partial day on Friday anyway, because of an eye exam, I decided to just take the whole day, and my son stayed home with me. (This is a kid that never misses school, even if he is sick, but he just was so upset he wasn’t up to it).

At one point in the day, as we were talking about Tom, my son said, “You know the really bad part? After you guys left to go to the vet I stopped everything I was doing and just prayed that God would make Tom better. But He didn’t.” Suddenly, I was at a loss for words. All I could say was that I was thankful Tom had died with us around, and not out carousing around (as he was known to do) so that he would just not come home, leaving us to worry and wonder what happened to him.

Now, I have learned from years of Bible study, prayer, and experience that sometimes God’s answer to a prayer request is “no” or “not now.” I have learned and firmly believe that God sees the big picture and that when the answer is “no” there is a good reason even if I don’t know what it is. I trust God with the answers even when I don’t understand, because I have a lifetime of experience that I can look back on to see that He was faithful in the important things.

I know that in our broken world, pets and people die. It would be impossible for God to answer every prayer that someone or some pet not die. But I also know that God cares about the pain we experience. John 11:25, the shortest verse in the Bible, says “Then Jesus wept.” This happened at the death of Lazarus, who Jesus knew He was about to raise from the dead. I believe Jesus wept here because of the immeasurable compassion He has for us when we experience loss and don’t understand the bigger picture.

But having learned all this through years of Bible study and experience didn’t make it any easier to answer my son, who hasn’t had that experience and doesn’t know the scriptures as well as I do. As I thought about this later, still trying to figure out what I can say to him, I realized that the faith and trust in God I have now isn’t something I can just hand over fully formed to my son. It is something he must learn himself, though his own Bible study, prayer, and experience. This experience is one step in that journey of faith that he must travel.

My prayer now is that my son will see how this experience has taught him compassion for others who experience loss. I pray it will ultimately act as the mortar in his faith, helping to hold it strong in the face of greater loss that he is sure to experience in this life. I am thankful that God holds all the tears he cried over poor Tom in a bottle, mingled with the tears of our Savior, and that “God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4 (NLT).

 

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Finding God in Grief and Trials

I’ve recently finished reading A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis. I was quite surprised by how quickly I was able to get through its 76 pages plus Foreword and Introduction. Usually Lewis requires one to re-read numerous paragraphs to fully grasp just exactly what it is he is trying to say. I’ve often found Lewis to be quite intellectually challenging, though always worth the effort. But this book was different; it was more emotional than intellectual; nonetheless it was well worth reading.

Lewis wrote this book, though not intending it to be a book exactly, shortly after his wife Joy Davidman died of cancer. It consists of his journaled thoughts and feelings in working through his grief over his great loss and the impact it had on his faith. Though his faith remained intact, and was perhaps even strengthened by his grief, it was shaken to its core by this experience.

In the midst of Lewis’ rantings at God and doubts about his faith he shares some very profound thoughts about the nature of God, faith, and the inevitable trials we all face in this life. Regarding the trials of life, he wrote:

But of course one must take ‘sent to try us’ the right way. God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. A Grief, pg. 52.

This reminded me of the story of Job. God allowed Satan to test Job, to put him through trials of losing his possessions and family, as well as an attack on his health. Job 1-2. God allows this to prove to Satan that Job will not lose his faith and will not curse God; knowing all the time exactly how Job would respond.

When we begin to forget the core of our faith or fail to notice a weakness in our thinking about faith or God, it is then that God will allow trials in our lives; not as an experiment to find out how we will respond, but as a means of reminding us of the power of our faith or of pointing out a hole in our faith fence that needs to be mended lest the enemy sneak in unannounced to destroy us completely.

As Lewis began to stand firmly on his faith in God once again, and to see the weaknesses in his own understanding of God, he pondered whether he was “sidling back to God” simply as a means to once again see his beloved Joy some day in Heaven. It is at this juncture in Lewis’ though processes that I came to this wonderful quote:

But then of course I know perfectly well that He can’t be used as a road. If you’re approaching Him not as the goal but as a road, not as the end but as a means, you’re not really approaching Him at all. That’s what was really wrong with all those popular pictures of happy reunions ‘on the further shore'; not the simple-minded and very earthly images, but the fact that they make an End of what we can get only as a by-product of the true End. A Grief, pg. 68.

We must seek God and a relationship with Him for its own sake, not for whatever else we can get from it, from Him.

It seems to me that the same can be cited as the problem with hellfire and brimstone preaching. It calls one to seek God not for His own sake, but merely as a means to avoiding a most unpleasant situation eternally.

There are many books that speculate as to what both Heaven and Hell will be like. But to me, the best description of Heaven is to be in the presence of God; the best description of Hell is to be separated from Him; all other details of either place are superfluous.

Perhaps it is precisely when we forget that the aim of our faith must be God Himself that He sends a trial of loss, so that we may see that we have placed some inferior desire ahead of our desire for Him alone, but that if we turn back to Him we will weather the loss and be whole again. Without the trial we might miss out on the wonder of the only relationship we truly cannot live without.

You see, God is more concerned with our spiritual well-being and the strength of our relationship with Him (the most essential thing in our life), than He is with our comfort. In Lewis’ case, it was the loss of his beloved wife that allowed him to fully grasp this truth. For another whose health and physical prowess are their desired ends and where they place their faith, the loss necessary to reveal their need for God might involve a major illness or injury. If one has focused on their career and find their worth in their occupational success, the loss that leads them back to God might be prolonged unemployment.

Is there something that is keeping you from seeking God for His own sake? Will you heed the subtle messages sent by God to draw you to Him, or will it require a major loss or trial to set you in a right relationship with Him? Lewis, in spite of his intellectual and even real faith in God, found that His profound loss brought him closer to his Creator. Sometimes that is what is required.

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Music Monday Extra – DC-10

I was listening to my iPod yesterday and this great song by Audio Adrenaline came on. “DC-10″ asks the important question, “Do you know where you’re gonna go?” In addition, it has a great swing beat that makes me want to dance. So I decided I wanted to share it today as a Music Monday Extra.

I went to YouTube to find a video to post and I found this great one in which someone created a stop-motion animation using Legos based on the lyrics to this song. It is very well done! I hope you enjoy it.

Then I found this other really cute animated version with basic stick figures, just in case you want to listen to this awesome song a second time.

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