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Nearing the anniversary of our house fire 2 short years ago causes me to reflect yet once again on what’s important in life. Although I lost everything I owned in this world, minus the few clothes we had packed in a suitcase (we were away on a trip), my husband, Mike and I saw so many people extend their hands and arms and surrounded us with love and devotion. The biggest things for me were my mother-in-law’s hand-made quilts, my grandma Jordan’s quilt pieces that I had yet to put together, my grandmother Scott’s homemade, home-stitched crazy quilt, countless hankies from my mom, grandmothers and mother-in-law and my kid’s school pictures and artwork, including the many Christmas ornaments that my kids had made throughout the years, our wedding and honeymoon pictures and memorabilia, and my many beloved books. (OK, well I could go on.) My husband grieved over losing his dad’s and his granddaddy’s guns, his granddad’s tools, old coins collected for many years and of course the same sentimental things that I cherished as well. My family has since given me some old things that they had treasured (returned to me) and my mom rallied my extended family and I received Christmas ornaments from many states that first Christmas to put on my “sad” tree. I’m grateful.

I have “decorated” my home with odds and ends that I have collected the past 2 years from friends and loved ones and I’m grateful. My friends have lovingly put together a recipe book, angel figurines and given me other such small things but mean so much to me more for their thoughtfulness and love than anything. I’m grateful.

Recently I have begun to feel the excitement and creativity that comes with healing. Although through other diverse circumstances, we have moved and moved again, I can happily say that I’m beginning to feel the stirring of settling in a nest of my own once again. My walls were empty for a long time. I couldn’t get myself to feel anything except “usefulness” for the items that now belonged to me. Gone were the things that I could lovingly smooth with my hand and say where it came from, who had given it to me or where I had acquired it. Only memories remain now. Some days I think of an item and as it appears in my mind’s eye, my memories are wistful and sad that it is gone forever. Some days I think I have a certain item but upon further futile search, I realize that it must have been before the house fire. Thus, a landmark has formed. Before fire and after fire.

Yes, some things can be replaced. The things that cannot be replaced though valuable–beyond price– are still in the memory banks and hopefully will never be withdrawn. I’m grateful.

Today, although I may be feeling quite wistful, I am not in grief. I realize that if I put stock in all of those things, I may become “tethered” to my grief and it will keep me tied and I won’t be able to move on. Like a death, a divorce, you never get over that kind of grief. The love you harbored, the sorrow you felt, the ties that were broken in two will remain with you forever. But you can move past it because you aren’t tethered to it. It doesn’t keep you bound. There is pain. There is grief. There is sorrow. But I realize as I heal, that just like the pain of loved ones that have gone to be with Jesus, one day…we will look up and see Him and the pain will be gone. One day, faster than we can imagine, we will see those loved ones and our joy will be overflowing. The THINGS of this world will pass away. The sorrow will be gone. The sadness will disappear. But our souls will be living on in an endless moment called eternity. I can’t wait for that day and long for it to come. Like the Apostle Paul says, eye has not seen, ear has not heard, and no human mind has conceived the things God has prepared for those who love him. (1 Corinthians 2) Lift up your head, your redemption draws near!!

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