Saturday, February 4, 2012

pruning season

Is the tree that's pruned
preoccupied with pain?
standing with its wound
in the wind and rain....

gently transfigured
as sap begins to flow
flowers, leaves,
choicest fruit...

How I'd like to know:
Is the tree that's pruned
preoccupied with pain?

by Ruth Bell Graham

I don't know much about tree pruning but now that we live in Oregon, there is plenty of opportunity to learn! An old, gnarled apple tree in the side yard, highly favored by my children, reminds me of a grandmotherly woman surrendering herself knowingly to the seasons. Well acquainted with the shears, maybe she no longer fears them? She must know that fruit will follow in its time.

At times I feel the familiarity of loss, that cold current. Along with it, flows a reassurance of Christ's steadfast presence. I want more of Him. I wouldn't know Him, that He is wholly trustworthy if not for the pain. Do I welcome it? Not quite. But I welcome Him.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

love is a secret

In Cry The Beloved Country there is a dialogue between Kumalo, a pastor and father who has lost his son, and his good friend.

“ — This world is full of trouble, umfundisi.
— Who knows it better?
— Yet you believe?
Kumalo looked at him under the light of the lamp. I believe, he said, but I have learned that it is a secret. Pain and suffering, they are a secret. Kindness and love, they are a secret. But I have learned that kindness and love can pay for pain and suffering. There is my wife, and you, my friend, and these people who welcomed me, and the child who is so eager to be with us here in Ndotsheni – so in my suffering I can believe.
— I have never thought that a Christian would be free of suffering, umfundisi. For our Lord suffered. And I come to believe that he suffered, not to save us from suffering, but to teach us how to bear suffering. For he knew that there is no life without suffering.
Kumalo looked at his friend with joy. You are a preacher, he said.”

I first read this book by Alan Paton ten years ago, the year Caleb died, and have re-read these lines several times since. Always I am moved because they have proven so very true. I want to encourage you that your love matters. The selfless kindnesses poured out to a heavy-laden soul, matter.

To me Christ imparts hope in the cloud of thick, choking despair. This is a secret. The love of those in my life has kept the candles lit in the pitch of night. This is a secret.

Of this thing I am certain, this is one secret worth sharing.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

on Thomas and experiences shared

(Thomas and little Theo, his brother, in the CO Rockies. We love this young man, our godson.)

I saw a sign once that read, "BE GENTLE. Feelings are everywhere!" And so it is with trepidation but conviction that I pen the thoughts and feelings that mostly lie unvoiced. Thoughts on hardship, loss, and deep grace. A love story really. The story of our lives.

I have been asked a few times over the years what I found helpful (or not) during the times Caleb's marrow failed. What got us through the long trying months on a bone marrow unit. I've been asked how faith survives the loss of a child, how a marriage grows. Steve and I are regularly approached regarding adoption. There are some that wonder what life is like when your child has significant disabilities or medical needs. For years, I've contemplated sharing our life experiences but my attempts have seemed either too puny or my heart laid too exposed. It is much easier to delete or stuff the pieces into the back of my chipped desk drawer!

Very recently, as our dear friends, the Maedas, have had their lives capsized by their son, Thomas's, cancer diagnosis, some of you have thoughtfully asked to glean from our experiences. If you are reading this and don't know them, please pray for them. You can follow Thomas' story at

My fierce love for them coupled with the psalmists assertion in Psalm 40,vs.10

"I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation."

has become the impetus to write more about the realities, the comforts, the difficulties with you, my friends, that God may be glorified. Likely, the posts will be incremental. The words may be slow in coming, so perhaps one sentence at a time. :)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

12 and so sweet

For their twelfth, a fun day downtown with the whole crew (Steve took the day off). OMSI ( Oregon Museum of Science and Industry), coffee from Stumptown (caramel lattes for the birthday girls), Powells City of Books (and cash to spend at their leisure), dinner at The Flying Pie (gluten free pizza that rocks), and ice cream cake at home! Perfect.