For Oma Janie and her Pat, whom she and many will miss dearly.
It always drops, ya know: that darn other shoe. Just the other night, Jack and I stayed up way too late talking about how hard it is to not live in fear when so many hard things have happened. It’s easy to believe that life is dominated by the drop of that second shoe. It’s easy to believe that happiness is not attainable, peace cannot reside permanently in our hearts. It’s hard to live happily, even when everything is happy.
We found a scripture that night that we wrote on our black board at the bottom of the stairs about this very thing, about living fearless, about living in peace:
For the righteous will never be moved;
they will be remembered for ever.
They are not afraid of evil tidings;
their hearts are firm, secure in the LORD.
Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid;
in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
In a month in which our family has celebrated an engagement, a baby shower, a newly announced pregnancy, Passover and Easter, and now sends another member to heaven, I have felt joyous heights of prayers answered and miracles witnessed and have annointed the dead. And, life hits hard in the quiet hospital room saying goodbye. Death closes a chapter, and didn’t ask any of us if we thought it was time, or if we thought it was fair.
Death comes whether we are tired or rested, whether we have vacation plans or Abraham’s the “special person of the week” at preschool. Death knocks. The shoe drops. And life is redefined yet again.
And I want to find in myself that deep peace that doesn’t fixate on the waves crashing, life being rearranged, our plans upended. I want to find in myself the deep current running underneath the shore, underneath the storm. I want to access the font of firm-heartedness, steadiness, fearlessness. I know it’s there, underneath all my ego and self-importance. I know He’s there, running the current. Lord, give me the strength to keep digging until I find You.
I have buried enough people to know that the shoe will continue to drop. But I have also been witness to swelling bellies of mamas who were told they would never conceive. I have watched my own son given a death sentence be born alive with more fight than ten heavy weight boxers. I have seen marriages raised from the dead, the spiritually blind see, and families reunite after decades of insurmountable strife.
That is why, as a people of God, as followers of a risen Christ, we must find the fearless deep within our hearts. We must keep persisting, focusing on the resurrection of the dead through Jesus Christ and not that darn other shoe. This, my friends, is one blink of the whole big picture. This is where we learn to stand firm, commit our hope to heaven, and walk without fear.
God bless you all.