I wish someone had told me

I wish someone had told me….

Before I watched Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont- that I would need Kleenex, that I would cry at the very end, that feelings that were rooted deep would rush to the top like fresh cream on milk.

As we grow older we start to wonder about our own mortality. It has become real. We can be consumed by avoiding the thought that we are the oldest generation alive in our family or by dwelling on that very thing from the moment we wake till the moment we climb into bed at night.

If I avoid all thoughts about aging I’m fooling myself. If I dwell on all aspects of it, those thoughts will crush me. I try to keep my distance from the age issue most days but sometimes, when a movie like this expresses aging in such a touching way, those thoughts escape the shadows and come out into the day where they can be seen by me. And I have a Monty Python moment-

 Run Away! Run Away!

Because I really have had a distinct dislike for what it represents-the loss of one ability or another, the increase of illness, the difficulties in communication between the old and the young. My apologies here for those of you who really love “old folks” and enjoy their company. My own experiences scarred me for life. Now I’m facing the fact that I’m teetering on the cliff of Senior Citizenship, my family might say I’m already sliding down the slope.

So there I sat in the dark. Alone. Watching. I got to the end of this movie that is so touching and endearing and so full of the reality of aloneness as we age and leave this world and the need for someone just to be there with us as we go. And I was fine until…. The second feeling rose to the surface.

It is something that I don’t quite know how to come to terms with. Have you ever been so homesick that you thought your heart would break if you didn’t get there in the next 24 hours? Let me explain:

As a child I never lived in one town more than two years, many schools (14) are in my past. Old friends. No friends. New friends. Rinse and repeat.

But there is this-

This once upon a time moment in my life. I had the opportunity to go to England as a child. I went to a summer camp there and for three days before camp started we saw London. For an 11 year old it made an indelible impression. I never thought I would see it again.

But God is good and He knows what He’s put in my heart. For our 25th anniversary, my husband and I celebrated well. We took a 16-day trip to England. We backpacked and crammed in every possible experience we could. We figured we only had the one chance. We came home and I never thought I would see it again.

I relived every moment of those 16 days over and over. It consumed me. Homesickness had set in. Only I didn’t know that was what it was until almost 2 years later when we got a bargain basement rate and went again. When I got off the plane in London the feeling was something indescribable.

Until that moment I had never understood that it’s the same feeling I get when I think of Heaven and all that’s waiting for me there. Because I know I don’t belong here.

 The last scene in the film is a view from the south side of Westminster Bridge looking back across the Thames at Big Ben. I cried. Like a baby. Because it feels like home and I’m not there. {I don’t even have relatives there.} And no one gets it, this longing that I have. Not even me. But God does.

Disclaimer: I love my husband, my children, my grandchildren and I would never distance myself from them.

Fact: But even they have heard me say: “If someone came up to me and told me there was a flat in London with my name on it I’d be there in a heartbeat.” Not in a flash, not on the next plane, not as soon as I could pack.  In. A. Heartbeat.  In that space between life and death, that pause between the lub and the dub.  Pretty dramatic, eh?

 The patriarchs were familiar with this intense longing: 

 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:13-16

  I understand what it means to long for a place and to acknowledge that I am an alien here. I do long for that Heavenly One much more than the earthly one and as I age it’s so much closer. I think God gave me a heart for London so that I would truly understand the longing I have for that Better Country.

London. A distant second. Yes.

But a city prepared for us? 

By God?

 Oh, Yes!

It’s Gonna be a One Word Year

So, as I said in my previous post- I’ve chosen a word for the coming year. Not a vow. Not a promise. A goal. One Word. Easy Peasy, right?

On second thought, I think it sounds and looks easier than it is. Today we had plumbing problems in the guest bathroom. We have family on the horizon fast approaching. Not an opportune time. I just fell apart- One. More. Thing. I said through the tears that were forming- “It’s always One. More. Thing. I’m so tired of this.” And he says “it’s always been One. More. Thing.” 

That definitely did not make it better.

So I grieved a little- pouted actually, felt sorry for myself for about 2 minutes; then recovered. And, now the plumber is here and the “thing” is getting resolved. Whew.

Which brings me back to this One Word. 

Persevere. 

Here’s my button, tell me what you think?

oneword2013_persevere

Rather impressive, yes? I have Melanie at Only a Breath to thank for this jewel- http://onlyabreath.com

She is one talented girl with a big heart! Thanks Melanie! Go check her site and ask her to make you a button for your word for 2013.

Being a relative newcomer to the blogosphere, I was clueless about this One Word for the year. No more. This is better than a new year’s resolution. Not an unattainable goal here. Just one simple word. It will stay on my page for this year as a reminder to myself and to keep me accountable. 

I wonder …. 

Persevere. Verb. {uh-oh that means action…} If you click on the aforementioned word to the left there- you can read the dictionary definition- and please note the meaning from the origin in the Old French > continue steadfastly, aka > very strict. Did you read that? VERY STRICT

If you know me even a little- the only thing I relate being very strict about is when I’m addressing my children’s behavior {ok, kids, you can get up from the floor now}. Fortunately, they are grown and do not suffer under mom’s iron rule anymore. 

This just in: I can already see that this persevere thing is going to start right away.  

My computer has just been visited by a gremlin in the Kremlin and I’ve lost the rest of my post. I saved every time I walked away, I did, but, all 4 paragraphs are out in the ether now. So I’ve lost the words and, now, my train of thought. Bummer. 

Here’s my attempt to salvage this pitiful offering…I am the epitome of the word undisciplined. I can accomplish a task or bring something to a satisfactory ending when required. However, now that I’m in charge of my own time, I get around to finishing something eventually. Sort of. Well, occasionally. 

The point is that in order for me to continue steadfastly I have to believe that God is Faithful and will bring me through it if He brings me to it as I’ve heard it said.

 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. 1 Timothy 4:16 

 for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. 2 Timothy 1:12b 

Welcome 2013, I eagerly await you and what God is going to do as I persevere.

Come along for the ride?

Feeling Stretched???

 Are there days you feel like there’s no way you can take another thing? Like one more broken dish, one more glass of spilt milk, one more toddler tantrum, one more trip to the grocery, one more argument, one more slammed door, one more late for school day, one more overdue bill in the mail?

Do your prayers sound like this: Ok, Lord. I can’t take another thing today, I have no endurance, no strength and for sure no patience. Help! Please? I just don’t know what to do or how to do it anymore.

Mine have. 

If you will re-read that prayer in a whiney voice, add some tears and just imagine that I’m in the bathroom with the door locked and someone is knocking on the door, and someone is yelling from the other room that they can’t find something or other and another someone is yelling they are “going to be late, gotta go, see you tonight”… oh and while you are sitting there imagining that, see me sitting on the toilet lid gritting my teeth and my fists are clenched and white knuckled, and I’m looking up at the ceiling and thinking that prayer.

Oh and just to flesh out the picture – I’m not dressed for work, nor is my makeup on. Someone still needs breakfast- hence the knocking on the door.  And, the homework is the something that is missing. So I exit the bathroom to help with the homework search.  There is no time for a pity party.

I enter the kitchen.

It looks like a tornado just went through it- dishes and open boxes of cereal sprawled on the counter. The carton of milk is sitting out, the dishwasher door is open and the racks are hanging out. The closet door to the washer is open. There are clothes piled on the lid and the dryer door is open and the clothes are spilling out onto the floor into the kitchen. The dry cleaning is piled up by the door to take to the cleaners. The dog food is standing on the floor in the middle of the room and the cats rush toward me because they are hungry. {actually, it looked much worse most days}

I have about 5 minutes to slap on the makeup, throw on the scrubs and shoes, find the homework, thrust food into a hand and get everyone out the door and moving toward the car. Top all that off with the grandmother/mother call, at the exact wrong moment, who chose that second to rip my heart out with some well-honed comment that had been fermenting in her mind.

{That was before caller id and answering machines…. When you actually answered a ringing phone}

Now that’s a great start to a day.                   NOT.

There were times when I thought I was losing my mind. I was so entrenched – literally in the trenches. Holding my breath, constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop from the grandmother/mother.

I would get so bogged down in the here and now and develop myopia of the mind; I looked around and saw only what was on the surface. But those were precisely the moments that the Holy Spirit would pray for me because I had just lost the ability- I had no words left to describe the turmoil nor to ask for what I really needed at that instant. I was stretched beyond my ability.

Little did I know… But God did. He knew that He was developing in me an endurance and patience beyond myself. Below is a quote from Oswald Chambers that describes pretty accurately what was happening in my life.

“Patience is more than endurance. A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and every now and again the saint says–‘I cannot stand anymore.’ God does not heed, He goes on stretching till His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly. Trust yourself in God’s hands. Maintain your relationship to Jesus Christ by the patience of faith. ‘Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” – Oswald Chambers

If you are there, being stretched beyond what you think you can endure or stand, open up your grip on whatever is in your hand and heart at this moment, look at that open hand, take a big deep breath and know that you can trust Him. He does not stretch us to the breaking point, but to the point where we can be most efficient for His purpose.

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” Romans 15:4

“For this reason ,since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption,the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:9-14

  “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?” Hebrews 12:7