The Loss of a Friend

The Loss of a Friend Dash of Strange

I received some news a few days ago. A dear friend of mine just passed away. We were not extremely close, but when we first met, there was an immediate bond between us. She was a friend of my heart. Smart. Sharp-witted. Loyal. Sweetest smile. One of those quiet ones, but when she did speak, people listened. I will miss her badly. Knowing she is not here, knowing I won’t see that grin or hear her mischievous chuckle again, brings heartache—and for her family and those who knew her well—one, that words cannot begin to comfort.

We’ve all been there. In one way or another. Friends. Family. Loved ones. One minute they’re here and the next, beyond our grasp. We see it. We know it. But, yet and still, we can hardly fathom it. And our hearts, whether we say it or not, always cry out, “Why?” and “Is it something I did or didn’t do? Is it something I forgot to pray? Did I not have enough faith?” Continue reading

Tired of Trying to Fit In? Why It’s Time to Start Acting Like a Child

When my grandson, Arthur, was born, and because his older brother’s name is Henry, one of my very good friends when she heard the news, exclaimed, “How precious! Now you have two kings in your family, King Arthur and King Henry.” I hadn’t thought of that, but because I love the C.S. Lewis series, The Chronicles of Narnia, my brain went immediately to the first book where the most lovely and sweet proclamation was heralded over the main characters of the story as they were crowned kings and queens. “Once a king or queen of Narnia, always a king or queen of Narnia.” Thinking of my two grandsons, and my granddaughter, Lucy—also the name of the youngest girl in the story who becomes royalty—I asked my friend who made vinyl imprints items for fun if she could make t-shirts and a little dress with that quote from the book written on them.

When my daughter, the mother of Lucy, and my daughter-in-law, Henry and Arthur’s mom, got together recently, they did a photoshoot with their kiddos wearing their new duds. The results, so sweet—two pictures to be hung proudly on any wall—but it’s those other twenty-three proofs, those failed attempts to get all three looking at the camera at the same time, that are most dear to me. For it’s in these shots, the personalities of my grands are truly seen. And they are hilarious!

Tired of Trying to Fit In? Why It's Time to Start Acting Like a Child

Lucy, Arthur, Henry

As I sat chuckling, actually downright laughing over the antics of Lucy, Henry, and Arthur, it hit me how their craziness, goofiness, and silliness made them all the more endearing. How they were just themselves, nothing held back (as you can see from the pics). How they felt free—they didn’t know how to act any different—to be who God created them to be.

Truth be told, we all start that way. Somewhere along the line though, living in this upside-down fallen world, we become less and less our true selves, often imprisoned by the self-inflicted need to be accepted. Trying to please the world, we let go of innocence doing what we know we shouldn’t do, betraying the child within. No longer trusting we are loved for who we are, we try on different faces, hoping that one will be the one that wins approval. Continue reading

How to Keep Our Hearts from Wandering

how to keep our hearts from wandering

The summer of 2012 was one of the hottest and driest times I had ever witnessed since moving to Middle Tennessee in 2004. That Spring, barely any precipitation had fallen. The ground was so parched that patches of dirt began to appear in what had seemed from summers gone by, to be a never-ending lush of green. On Independence Day that year, a rogue Roman Candle caused much excitement for our family as it blazed a streak of fire across our lawn.

But for the past two summers, we have had a LOT of rain. So much so, it feels like we no longer live in Middle Tennessee but now reside in the tropics. Tree frogs, crawling up the outside of our house, are more the norm than not. Soaking showers, gulley-washers, and soft mists, seeming to be non-stop have made this July one of the greenest we’ve seen.

So it was odd to me—it truly did stun me—when my friend and neighbor, whose family had been dairy and hay farmers since the mid-1950s, announced the other day, “We surely need the rain.” I could hardly believe those words were coming out of her mouth. But in continuing to listen, rainfall, unless it is more perpetual than not, will not do the trick. The wet and gray which from my viewpoint had seemed to be constant—making me feel like mold was creeping up my walls at record pace—was to her, barely sufficient.

Her words, were not lost on me as I began to think on the truth of what she had said. Rain one day, followed by days without, will never be enough. The same holds true concerning food and water. Without both of those, we would eventually perish. But what about those things less tangible? Do we give them the same needed attention? I don’t think we do. Friendships, even relationships among family members, taken for granted or no longer nurtured, can fade and be lost when some sort of connection is not maintained. And our relationship with God, if not tended to, can become so distant, it feels nonexistent. Continue reading