Your Spirit carries the softness of eternity. You are the fragrance of comfort, you are the enfolding lullaby. Please encircle my dear friend in her grief. Keep her within your arms of love, whisper heavenly truth into her soul and keep each fragment of her broken heart safe. When we are in pieces your presence will keep us. So I lay her in your strong arms Jesus. Come carry her. Watch steadily over her day and night. May she come to know that her beloved child is safe with you. Not lost but found, known and cherished.
Our hearts are heavy with deep sorrow and our breath is shallow. Please carry us, for we are overwhelmed by the pain of our grief. Words can not express the depth of our loss or the heartache we feel. We know you are with our dear beloved (N), your heart is overjoyed by him/her. His/Her breath is new life in Heaven. Please nurture our precious one. Thank you for the hope of eternal life that he has now received. Lord, you will keep (N) safe until we meet. We entrust him into your care now. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Much as I was happy for getting things done yesterday, within parameters I’ll call acceptable… it doesn’t take long for the system to be tested again, and in far greater degrees of difficulty. I’m not complaining at all. Seeing everything from this perspective only shows me (1) how the systems I establish ought to be tested harder, and (2) the universal Truth, from yet another angle – That is, the ultimate goodness of God present in every situation, made possible for each and every one of us through Christ and His finished work.
I’m going ahead of myself here. See, so I got everything I wanted done to call a day a whole day during the first hours of the day (say that 3 times). This left me open, and I had a greater window to make myself available for, say, my Mom who needed to go a couple of places… and if there was any further work to be done, well, that’s just icing on the cake, and gravy on the mashed potato (or if you’re about to take out those carbs as you should, the hummus on your whole-wheat pita bread). While waiting for my Mom to finish what she set off to do, I was hanging out at our church, enjoying the free wifi and actually getting a little more done in terms of plotting and planning.
It sort of opened my eyes as to how the theme of this year – Movement, in a word – is actually being transformed from word to movement, right in front of me. Or, well, not entirely. I really just wanted to express how further ‘movement’ – that is, application and focus beyond theoretical musing works wonders in creating. It takes commitment to transfer ideas from the mind into being; in the transfer, ideology meets reality, and things are clarified just as much as they are produced. So speaking generally, as I was writing down what I initially wanted to talk about for each quarter of the year, I realized that we could squeeze what I wanted to say across all 4 quarters into one quarter, leaving more space for more topics and coverage. And in the process of re-organizing what was meant to be spoken about throughout the year into a fourth of the time, I realized how one topic takes precedence over the other. And in the process of re-organizing topics, I realized how what could be taught in the pulpit could also be applied and therefore relearned in other endeavors.
All this is just a testimony of the value of movement – You can know so much about a particular thing, but there are lessons and revelations that only come out and allow you to learn, relearn, and unlearn… only in application. Only, in movement.
And boy, did we move. See, after spending time in said plotting and planning, my Mom eventually called for me, and we made our way home. But apparently, the day wasn’t over yet. The night had just begun, and it started off with a text notification from a member of my team with news that a niece was fighting, and then eventually lost the battle for her breath, and her life.
I’ve had to pause a little there.
After confirming that the bereaved were at least accompanied by someone from the team to be present with them and to provide us with updates, I went out to regroup with the rest of the team, sending the younger folk home, and getting material ready for an instant memorial service, which involves worship songs and the prayer I posted above. Long story short, arrangements were made, and the team came together; we brought the rest of the grieving (and shaken, undoubtedly) family home, and we all spent time together. We ultimately ended up at my house, where we ate, and rested.
After a couple of hours of sleep, I woke up to some of the team already awake – one of them being the aunt of the little angel. We quickly got everyone else to wake up, and I drove everyone to where they needed to be.
And here, I was presented with a dilemma. As I walked into my room again, I looked at my bed, and I asked myself – should I make my bed, and do today’s essentials, and then nap? Or, should I just get back into bed, sleep, and then do what I need to do after getting the rest my mind was telling me I needed?
I say ‘my mind’ because I believe my body could have handled the strain.
I decided on the latter, but with a compromise – I’d take a really quick nap, setting the alarm to at least earlier than when I started doing my essentials the day before. It sounded like a good plan on paper, but here, we see another lesson in application – I’ve learned (again) that if you’re going to be sleeping you might as well go all the way instead of sort of teasing your body with rest.
I don’t know, I guess I’ve always been like that – wanting to compromise by way of giving a little bit of myself to every option in a given situation. Rarely do I get everything – oftentimes I get some of anything, but I also get nothing a significant amount of times.
So here I am… 4 hours past the ideal time to have finished my essentials, writing after making my bed, stretching, and working out.
I was in Psalm 4 yesterday, and I’m supposed to be jumping into the next chapter today, but it seems fit for me to go through a couple of other verses I wanted to go through:
You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and wine abound.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
So much has happened within a small amount of time, and there remains so much to be done… the team couldn’t help but mention that such a tragedy could happen at the start of the year, and while I share in their sentiments, I must say from looking at all this, and looking at the Scripture I just pointed out – that before this reality would have us dazed and confused, we know we wouldn’t be totally torn apart, knowing that we have joy, and an unstoppable joy in our hearts that, in the worst case scenario, endures. Before this reality would have us anxious and fearful, we can lie down, and we can sleep. We are in peace, no matter how the world would convince us otherwise.
I’d like to think that I was a bit of an overthinker when I was way younger – or that’s probably where I attributed my not being able to sleep alone at night. Songs that I couldn’t shake off my head kept playing and kept me awake. Images, creepy or otherwise, kept flashing even when my eyes were closed. If not that, the smallest noises would suddenly ruin any sort of ‘progress’ I had in travelling to dreamland. There were a lot of factors behind why I had trouble sleeping for a season, and much as I would like to try to cover all of them, I’d rather point out how it all turned out, for the sake of my point.
The solution wasn’t for me to stop overthinking outright. Looking back at it now, I strongly believe that it was a matter of placing my focus into the right thing. In my wanting to sleep I tried reading books in an attempt to bore me to sleep, I’ll admit. Right, we didn’t have smartphones, or YouTube at the time. It wasn’t an accident that one book I considered worthy to bore me to sleep was the Bible… and it was then that I stumbled upon that same last verse (Psalm 4:8).
At the time I just wanted to sleep. So I thought, if I was to be thinking, I’d rather be thinking about that verse. This, coupled with my mom’s suggestion of slow deep breathing (something that gets me through sleeplessness and pain up to this day), had me sleeping.. that night, then the next night without anyone accompanying me, and then the next night, and so on, and so forth. I wouldn’t say that it bored me, but I’d rather proclaim that there was something about knowing I had peace, far superior to merely wanting to sleep.
And in my typing all of this, I’m not about to stop at saying that you should read your Bible to sleep. Not saying that’s wrong, but it’s not necessarily the most effective testimony to how the Word helps us. Nor am I about to stop at saying that meditating on the Word has its benefits – Sure it does. No, sure as the more we move, the more we learn, here I see, the more we type, the more we learn as well.
See, you could move out of deficit – meaning, you realize you don’t have something, so you move to get it… but what I’m learning, by way of at least putting it in printing (or an article, in this case) – it’s that you could move out of surplus; Meaning, you realize what you have, so you move out of having it.
And as we’ve seen in the verses above, we can certainly move, more than a surplus of grain and wine and other material motivations could get us to move… because Christ paid such a great price for us to have a joy that abounds much more than anything else, and it is in our hearts, forever. And, apparently, we can sleep – just as Christ was sleeping soundly, in the middle of a lake where the winds and the waves were tossing the boat to and fro, and in the midst of the rest of the crew screaming and shouting at Him, so we can sleep – knowing we have a peace that holds us together, no matter what happens in and out of our own heads.
So as I think about what’s been going on with regards to my own systems being tested to the limit, and even my roles being placed into positions I’ve never imagined I’d be in before (e.g. funeral services after a tragic passing) – I must say, I’m thankful. And I’m thankful, not because of the actual testing circumstances, but because of the truth that reveals itself in application, and in movement: That though we lose so much, we have the unbreakable joy of the Lord, through Christ. And though we are confronted with so much, we have the peace of the Lord that surpasses all understanding.
I could say right now, with all the setbacks, that these were New Year’s Resolutions gone bad, and it’s understandable if I quit. But I’d rather keep moving.
Indeed, the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. And His mercies never come to an end.
Until the next post, God bless you.