Friday, August 15, 2008

The Threads of the Whole Cloth (Dad, skip this)

"Catastrophe is the essence of the spiritual path,
a series of breakdowns
allowing us to discover the threads
that weave all of life into a whole cloth."
Joan Halifax, Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Fearlessness in the Presence of Death

If this is true, it means I am a part of that cloth, as are you. My joy, my sorrow, my essence, my gifts and flaws are part of the cloth, as are yours. We are all connected. All of life, not just my life, or yours, or Katie's; ALL of life. Not just the happy times; the bad times, too. The ocean, the people in the Bible, in the middle ages and those not yet born; animals, plants, all of life is woven into "a whole cloth."

And by Richard Rohr:
"Mary...has given herself completely to God, even without understanding all that would mean. She doesn't understand, yet she is willing to 'stand under' the mystery and the mercy of God. She is a woman of faith—not the woman of knowledge Eve had wanted to be. She is the model of faith for every woman and man who believes the Lord's word can be trusted. She is willing to outstare the darkness, however long it lasts."
from Great Themes of Scripture

For a mother who is watching her child die, that darkness is very great indeed. I wonder what Mary was thinking, as she stood at the foot of the cross, watching her son die an agonizing death. I wonder what she thought of the path that they were taking as a mother and son.

It's quite a different scene from the Annunciation.

It takes an enormous amount of love and faithfulness, a very open heart, to walk that path. I am not talking about virtue or earning anything; I am speaking of opening to grace, because it is grace alone that makes it possible, in my view. I certainly didn't have the wisdom or goodness to do the job; all I had was love, a love that grew and grew as we went along the path of illness, suffering, treatment, progress, relapse and death. I don't understand it, nor do I try to; but I stand under it, too, with Mary's example as a light to my path. Perhaps Love poured in as things got harder, as we needed it more.

Father Rohr writes:
"Give us faith to believe, Father, not in just some new, happy life, not in some good fortune in the future, but give us faith in the now that seems so empty." --Days of Renewal

We do not always get to pick and choose our experiences; sometimes, they come upon us, they are simply given to us. Because of the experiences of Katie's illness and death, at times it is difficult to keep my heart open. It sounds like hardness, but I suspect it is fear, because I have been so deeply hurt by this. There is a strong urge to protect myself from further pain. But closing my heart is the way to be cut off from God, from "the whole cloth" of life, and that is a kind of living death that I do not want.

Father Rohr says it for me:
"Loving God, give us the gift of prayer...Give us the courage to reveal ourselves, because, Lord, you have not been afraid to reveal yourself. We need and want to expose our deepest heart to you, just as you have exposed your heart to us...
"Put your arms around us and call us each by name. Call us daughter and son...Tell us it's OK, because we're so afraid, and we feel so bad about who we are...we want you to take us into your embrace. We pray together as your sons and daughters and we pray in Jesus' name. Amen."
-- The Price of Peoplehood

Tomorrow is the 16th. It's that day, "the worst day ever."
I appreciate the prayers, cards, calls, emails, comments, donations to Katie's endowment and the packages from you.
Thank you for remembering our sweet girl with us.
Thank you for holding sacred space around our time of grief, especially tomorrow.
We are going to go to our favorite beach, walk for miles, and think of her. We will have dinner in one of her favorite restaurants. We will revel in the joy, beauty, spunk, humor, wit and sparkle that was, and is, Katie.


Dawn~^i^Brandon^i^, Jordan, and Seth's mom said...

Absolutely Beautiful!!! Katie will be thought of in Delaware tomorrow. I pray that God give you something special, this is not the end.....a daily prayer for myself is to never let this temporary view cloud my ETERNAL VIEW. I pray that for your family as well.

Threaded in the cloth with you!

Anonymous said...

Praying for you, especially tomorrow. I hope you see a sign from Katie - maybe a penny from heaven? You'll know what it is.

God bless, L In Alaska

Carol said...

Beautiful Words - Beautiful Katie

Prayers from Indiana

Lisa said...

Prayers, too, from Michigan.

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

Beautiful post, Karen.
Beautiful words and photos.
God is right there with you and my prayer is that you and your family feel his love and presence in a very special way tomorrow. Always remember that time - for all of us - on this planet is so very fleeting.... and really, we're not home yet until we're all together living in the light of God's love with Him on the other side of this short life.

Peace & Blessings to you.

suz said...

I wish for you a peaceful day, full of only good memories.
Blessings, Suz

Amy said...

My sister will be getting married tomorrow...but on this evening you were in my thoughts. I lifted you in prayer new friend...I will be thinking of you and wishing a day full of rememberance and celebration on Katie's life. May our God hold you and your family tomorrow so closely that you sense Him completely!

Prayers from Ohio...via Washington State!!

heather b said...

Thinking of this day coming up. Want you to know that Matt and I are praying for you and Gregg and David today. Hoping for only good memories of Katie. She is an amazingly beautiful girl. Praying for peace and that you will feel God close.

Holding you in our hearts today from Indiana. This cloth you speak of is woven all around this country with people who have been touched by your courage and honesty. Blessings on you and thank you for letting us in.

Beth said...

Thinking of you and your family today.......praying that you will have joy today in remembering the wonderful things about Katie. You Karen are a strong women in can see that in your writing. Even in a day like today you have given something back I am proud to be a part of this woven cloth and I needed to be reminded of that today....Thank you!

One wonderful thing I can see gleaming in the pictures of Katie....her smile! What a beautiful smile!

Thoughts and Prayers....from Michigan!

Nan Lofas said...

Sending you love and hoping this day holds some moments of peace and ease for you all and happy memories of Katie.

As always, I'm holding your hand from the sidelines.

Nan xx

Michelle said...

My heart and prayers go out to you on this difficult day. I hope that today is filled with peace.


The Coleman's A to Z said...

Thinking of you on this painful day. May the bitterness blend with the joy of your happy memories with Katie.

Cathy Coleman

Susie Parker said...

Karen, my twin cyber sister on the left coast, I am thinking of you today. My angel fish seem to be mating and hopefully I'll have some baby angelfish before too long. I will name one of them Katie - the prettiest one, of course. I'm thinking of you today and my heart is reaching out across the miles, even across the Rocky Mountains and I don't like mountains much, but I want you to know that I am feeling connected to you, Mom-to-Mom, heart-to-heart, friend-to-friend. These anniversaries are tough but I want you to remember, you are amazing in every way a person can be amazing and you have inspired me more this year than I can express. Tomorrow is a new day (sounds trite, I know), and you will tackle it and turn it into something amazing by doing nothing more than what comes natural to you - being you. God bless, Susie

amanda said...

Thinking of you all and praying that you find peace in your memories. I am honored that you share all this with all of us here in bloggerland...

Anonymous said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you this weekend as you celebrate and remember Katie's life. She sounded like a wonderful person (as each of the people in your family sound like as well). Take comfort in knowing she isnt in pain anymore and that her legacy will live on forever.

painted maypole said...

beautiful post. sending prayers for you today as you remember (and what wonderful ways you are honoring that memory...)

i don't know if you meant to, but you capitalized both words "Perhaps Love" at the beginning of a sentence, and it always makes me thinking of the old John Denver/Placido Domingo Song:
Perhaps love is like a window, perhaps an open door
It invites you to come closer, it wants to show you more

Patty Grubb said...

what a lovely reflection....i too am fascinated by our "connectiveness" - i still remember shortly after becoming a Christian someone mentioned that we are all descended from the sons of Noah. That really hit me - we are all I look forward to and long for God's plan to be completed and the new heaven and new earth when we will all know in our hearts how connected we more pain, no more sorrow, no more death.
and your family together once again, living and loving life as God always meant it to be.
sending our love - you have come to my mind and heart all throughout this day.....praying for beautiful moments, precious memories, strength to deal with the hard memories, joy in the day and joy in the privilege of being the wife of a remarkable man, and two amazing children....
In His Grip

Maggie said...

My dear Karen,

My thoughts and prayers are with you today, as always. I took Maddie to a waterpark today to celebrate the end of summer and thoughts of your lovely daughter wove in and out of my mind all day. Tonight, as I was telling Maddie about Katie, it was decided she should pray for her and her family...then she sang the star spangled banner.

I hope you felt peace today as you enjoyed some of the things Katie loved. Sending love your way.

Maggie and Maddie

Jennifer Stumpf said...

many, many thoughts and prayers fluttering your way, Karen, for you, for Katie, for your family, for your heart. I wish you peace. xxoo

The Engine of the Family said...

I'm sorry I wasn't online to send my blessings and prayers. Katie is too cute for words-I love the pictures! Thank you for letting us into your life and showing us what a wonderful daughter Katie was.