For so many years I had a reason to get up. That reason was my children. There was always noise in the house whether the children were playing or fighting over the television converter. Mum where is this? How do I do that? I was always needed, never too far away if I wasn’t needed. The roll of wife and mother, I took quite serious. It really was my job for many years. When my marriage broke up and we sold the house, my children moved out of the home. One day all the memories flashed through my mind making me smile. Next a deep sadness came over me to realize that those days are gone. It was very strange. It almost seemed that it was someone else’s life. I wasn’t ready for this to happen. It came far too soon. My children grew into adults’ right before my very eyes. My perspective on life changed when I awoke one day living in an empty house. My life had come full circle. I started my life in Keswick where I lived for twenty years. When I married we moved to Cookstown which was located on the other side of the lake. We raised our children there for twenty years. When the marriage ended, I moved back to Keswick to buy a small house that I could afford. This became my new home. The initial shock of living in an empty house was overwhelming at times. It felt like everything I had known and loved was taken away. It makes me cherish the memories I have of seeing my children get on and off the bus everyday when they went to school. The excitement on their faces and the happiness they felt to be home was priceless. Quickly asking, “Can I have a cookie?” Those are the memories that no one can take away. For the financial sacrifice of being a stay at home mother, it was surely worth it. Good or bad my children learned what I taught them. The time went by much too soon. I can’t believe it.
I heard this story spoken by my own mother when I was young. Then, I didn’t relate because my children were small. Now I see the same hands on the clock turn, just as they turned for my mother who raised six children. We are all grown up now and so are my children. Now we are on to the next stage of our lives. My mother is in her late eighties. She has thirty five grandchildren. While she seems to be aging I know I am too. It won’t be long before I am elderly. So, we watch the hands on the clock turn and the pages of our lives flip. In that process, we live life in the best way that we can. We must enjoy life and each day that it gives to us in a holy and right way. After all, this life is just a journey to something even better. There is a saying which caught my attention, so I put it on my fridge. It says, “The journey is going from who you were, to finding out who you are meant to be.” We can only imagine what amazing things God has written on the pages of our lives. Now I go out for a morning walk, talk to God and ask him for direction and maybe a little insight. We enjoy the day set before us and help others who are less fortunate along the way. It always amazes me how God answers our prayers.
One Sunday morning I felt more like staying in bed and pulling the blankets up over my head. Feeling a little empty and somewhat sad, I was thinking a lot about recent events. It is easy to feel sorry for one’s self and get into that woe is me syndrome. I managed to get up, get dressed and go to worship practice.
We were playing our instruments and preparing for the church service. A new face looked up at me from the seat in the front row. She was so intent and into the music we were playing. I thought how spiritual she must be. Her eyes looked somewhat sad. She tried to hide it with her smile. Still there was a sincere look about her that seemed to say: “The worship songs are so beautiful. God is good.” This petite and frail looking woman with her smile, silently called to me. I went over to her and introduced myself to her and welcomed her to our church. We traded a few informalities about ourselves. In that few moments we realized that we had more in common than a longing to serve God. We both were writers and she told me she was in the process of writing a book herself. I told her that I had a book published and her eyes brightened with curiosity. She asked me what the title was. I told her “When Times Stands Still”. I told her it was a non-fiction book based on many true stories relating to such topics as death, friendship and biographical chapters of my own life experiences. She asked where she could get a copy. I told her I would bring her one next week. The church service was about to begin and our conversation came to a close as time did not permit further conversation that day.
I find after church service, it can be quite hectic and many people are eager to leave and resume other activities. The weekends are always so full of things to do. When I was a stay home mother, I never understood or even thought about how precious weekends are to a person who works at a nine to five job every week. Now being in the work force, I know it all too well. The work week can leave one tired. Weekends are for catch-up - catch up on housework, laundry, yard work, bible study and in the summer stock car racing. The list can seem endless. That mad rush out of the church doors to get home breaks the short connection with God and company.
Many times throughout that following week I would think about her, wondering what happened in her life worth writing about. I felt compelled to take one of my books to church and give her one, and so I did. However she was not there that Sunday, but she was there the following Sunday. She was worshiping God, singing the songs, tears rolling down her cheeks. When our eyes made contact, we smiled an acknowledging gesture. We talked again after the service. I gave her my book. She told me a little more about herself. Her husband and she were once missionaries, she said. They had two children. Somewhere along the way they had some marital problem and they had separated. Oh, how I thought I could relate to her pain. I told her how I had been separated and had to move, my children moved out on their own and it felt like my world had fallen apart. She said to me, “It must be a very difficult time for you. I can relate to your pain.” I was somewhat moved by the empathy she responded to me. I said it felt like I died and woke up to find my entire world in pieces. With an endearing empathy, she said she understood exactly how that feels. She reminded me that my children are still alive.
Lisa went on to tell me her story. One weekend while her young daughters were visiting with their father, they were in a car accident and all three were killed. My eyes went red and welled with tears feeling the sting of her pain. My heart sank. That has always been one of my biggest fears, to lose a child by death. I don’t know how devastating that would feel. I pray to God I would never have to endure that loss. Suddenly my story didn’t seem so bad in comparison to what she has been coping with. Although I’m sure my pain was as real to me as her pain was to her, it sure gave me a different perspective. That was not the end of her story. She is still struggling through it today. Her tragedy - I say her tragedy because she is the one who lives it. Living it brought some ramifications. In her attempt to ease her pain she became addicted to hard drugs. The bumpy road she and her husband traveled on seemed to go to a dead end. Loneliness and heart break brought some anger toward God causing her to turn from all she believed and lived. While in this place of sorrow and incredible loneliness, the drugs and needles she shared brought more devastation, the Aids virus. Somewhere in that place she found herself in - a place that felt like death and darkness, she turned to God again for help. God never left her, she had left him. In spite of her pain, the anger and the sickness, she reached out to God. Hope is the miracle of the ages.
All that she had to overcome gave her the inspiration to want to help others who cope with similar experienceds by writing a book about her story. I don’t know if Lisa has finished her book yet. Sickness and addiction is a constant battle for her and often hinders her writing. Her sickness took her from our church not long after. A couple of times she went forward for a miracle healing. Only God knows when, how, or where the miracles will take place. It may be today, tomorrow or it may be in Heaven. Surely God will write the pages of her book even if she does not get it finished. Perhaps the real miracle is that above all that she endured and still endures, she overcame her anger toward God. With her weak body she praises God with all her heart, with all her mind and with all her strength. Praise God for the unseen miracles.