One year ago we were weary and overwhelmed by the mixture of sadness and tender mercy we experienced each day.
As I sit with my coffee on this glorious, breezy morning, one year ago seems a lifetime away. What I've been thinking about, though, isn't the sadness or the overwhelm. What is on my mind the most is the amazing way God has of bringing us through hard times and healing our hearts in His own way and His own time.
Many of you know Jill's journey on earth ended in December but she lives on in heaven, in my heart and in the things she loved. She lives in the songs of the birds and the simple beauty of daisies. Jill lives in the sound of the ocean and the laughter of children. In some ways I feel closer to her now than I did when she was here in this world.
I miss my little sister so, so much but I am beginning to heal from the trauma of what happened. My heart doesn't race quite so much when the phone rings at odd times and I don't feel quite so guilty when I enjoy doing something I know my sister wasn't able to do anymore. Slowly I feel stillness and even joy creeping into my bones. It honors her for me to move forward as I am ready and enjoy life.
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
I am joyful that for 45 years I had a baby sister that encouraged me, challenged me, and made me laugh like no one else ever will. Our relationship was rich and I am so grateful to know what it's like to love and be loved by someone who reads my thoughts and finishes my sentences. I am grateful, too, to know at an even deeper level that God truly is looking out for each and every one of us...that even though there is pain and sorrow in this world sorrow doesn't win. Love wins. Without fail, love always wins.
To love and to be loved is like feeling the sun from both sides.
In recent weeks I've had time to plant a small garden, to tend to my neglected flower beds and watch things grow and flourish. It brings me such hope to see seeds sprout and buds open up. They remind me that life is unstoppable. This new season beckons me to rest and embrace the beauty that is here, now.
Some seasons shake us to our core and others send us soaring in the heights, but every last one is a part of our beautiful, albeit poignant existence. Every last one has value and purpose if we dare to allow the eyes of our hearts to be opened.
This morning I received a gift. It was simple and beautiful and I almost missed it. As I watered my garden a hummingbird lit upon the fence and began to drink droplets of water from a jasmine leaf not 2 feet away from my hand.
I stood very still as that tiny creature began to flit in and out of the spray of water, soaking his tiny feathers (iridescent green on his head, neon pink at his throat). I bet Jill's spirit flits around like that now.
Needless to say, I didn't have my camera with me at the time, so you'll just have to imagine that beautiful little bird hovering there in mid-air as if weightless. He even landed on the fence again and looked me over while he shook some of the water out of his feathers. What a beautiful sight. As I said, it was a gift.
I once read that grace begins with a crisis, that we fully experience grace when we are acutely aware of our need. I pray you're not in a pit of your own, but if you are, choose to believe that there are glorious mornings in your future. Seeds will sprout. Buds will open. They always do.