Monday, September 24, 2007

A Sunny Monday

Monday, Sep. 24

There is only one real deprivation,
I decided this morning,
and that is not to be able to give one's gifts
to those one loves most.
May Sarton


Well, I don't totally agree with this (there are other real deprivations), but this is a website that I like (on most days). You can go there and sign up, and they will email you something about gratitude every day.
Another thing that has been helpful is reading Richard Rohr's book, Radical Grace. It is a book that has a brief passage for every day of the year. In case you are unfamiliar with him, he is a Catholic priest and a very gifted writer (and speaker). He spoke at our church a few years ago, and he was fantastic. This book held just about all that I could handle day-by-day this year, an idea each day to help me to think about God, and life, in a bigger way when I was so focused on life in (and out of) the hospital. I am still reading it. I am not Catholic, but he is one of my favorites. He has done a lot of work on the Enneagram, too.
We got to watch David play tennis at the high school today, and the sun was shining! This may be no big deal if you live south of Washington State, but here, it is a nice bonus.
So here is a first in many months: I cooked dinner tonight, from scratch. I don't know about the rest of you, but when this crisis hit us, my appetite, and cooking, were 2 of the first things to go. At Ronald McDonald House, there were some lovely ladies who cooked 3 meals a day, from scratch, for their families (and I used to wish that I was one of their kids). For me, the needs of daily life, doing unfamiliar medical care, and the stress and worry were enough to kill my appetite -- and my creativity. After Katie's passing, I really went into neutral. Our wonderful church community has been providing meals for us for weeks, and we felt that it was time to allow this nurturing to be offered to others. So Gregg and I went to the store on Sunday, and tonight I made trout almandine, with sauteed asparagus and mushrooms as side dishes. Nothing was burned. It was all eaten with pleasure. Since Gregg has been helping with everything, it is good that I can take on a little more now.
I have had some of the most interesting conversations with God in my life, lately. Maybe "conversation" is the wrong word. I have given God some lectures, and I have demanded, like a child, things that I know are impossible...such as "give me back my daughter!" Sometimes it feels like a tug-of-war. I love God, but it doesn't feel so safe these days, since Katie has died. It is odd, how conflicting things can seem to be true. Yet my heart still goes to Him...it is a relationship, after all. I am heartbroken, angry, disappointed, disillusioned, shocked, bereft, and need my solitude more than ever. I am also grateful for all of the help we have had, and continue to receive, especially now in the form of loving notes from people who care about Katie and about us.
I have made a little altar on a counter in our family room, that has some images that help me pray. I have the prayer card from Katie's "Celebration of Life" in a frame; it says:
"God, we thank You for the gift of Katie. You know what a treasure she has been for us. It is painful to part with her physical presence. Bless the hurt in our hearts as we trudge through each day. Grace us with Your loving presence each moment of our lives."
Next is a cross that my friend MB gave me, which is hard to describe: it has a tiny magnifier at the top, and when you look through this, there is an image of Mary praying --so the mother of Jesus is praying over her suffering, dying son; I have a silver globe (hanging from the lamp full of beach glass that we found on many walks). The globe is to remind me to pray for the world. Lastly, there are two figurines, of a mother and a daughter, listening to shells, with their hands over their hearts. We spend alot of time at the beach. Katie loved her cell phone. We hoped to be able to "hear" each other after she died, and I love the image of listening with the "shell phone." Also, by coincidence (is there such a thing?), I got the "mother" figurine over a year ago, and a friend of Katie's sent her the "daughter" figure a few weeks before her passing, with no knowledge that I had the larger one...so it all makes a lovely visual aid that helps, right now.

I pray that you have love and beauty and blessing in your lives.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Karen,

Karen,

I have never posted comments, nor read a blog so, please, excuse my neophyte status and blunders. Cyberspace, what a strange place. While I do enjoy the written process I can’t help but feel like an interloper in your space. My intention is to address you and not my self; however, I do not know exactly what that dictates. Let me be direct. You are in my thoughts and prayers daily.
Being a young man who entered into the family as you were beginning yours I completely enjoyed watching yours blossom. The kindness and laughter were always of special wonder to me. How did they teacher their children to be so kind? When we had our own children it even became more of a mystery to me. As I hear my children copy and mimic my every syllable I am often dismayed at my beginnings. As most people I don’t know many things but I do confess I believe you and Greg have given me a concrete example of what love looks and sounds like.
Joe

Karla W. said...

I'm so glad you were able to cook. To most it may sound like a small thing, but it is huge.

I love cooking and baking. We had been home over a month before I had been able to fix a meal. I think the first thing I fixed was hamburger helper and canned green beans.

Your prayer area is sweet and inspirational. Thank you for sharing about it and what all the items mean to you.

When Sammie got sickone of my mother's friends called children's and asked the gift shop to send her a stuffed toy and a little book. They misunderstoon and sent a stuffed animal and a willow tree angel. They sent the angel of hope. It ment so much...Hope.

You and your family are being prayed for.

Karla

Anonymous said...

Karen,
Thank you for giving me a way to hear you without breaking into that solitude that I SO understand is necessary.
Sending loving thoughts your way.
Vickie

De said...

Thank you so much, Karen, for this sacred sharing. I have started at the top, reading down, instead of the bottom up and I was unhappy to see that I am signed in as De, my husband's name, but since we have some google accounts for pictures etc. that is apparently the way it needs to be. So please accept the weirdness. Cynthia Ellefson