Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Close To the Brokenhearted

Psalm 34 (a sampling of verses)
"R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.

R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.

R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.

R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
The LORD redeems the lives of his servants;
no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor."

Katie & David with cousin Phil

Katie with cousin Hollie

Gregg & Katie with auntie Cheri and cousin Lyndsie

"Think of the many, many stories about God choosing people. There’s Moses, Abraham and Sarah; there is David, Jeremiah, Gideon, Samuel, Jonah and Isaiah. There is Israel itself. Much later there’s Peter and Paul, and, most especially Mary.

"God is always choosing people. First impressions aside, God is not primarily choosing them for a role or a task, although it might appear that way. God is really choosing them to be God’s self in this world, each in a unique situation. If they allow themselves to experience being chosen, being a beloved, being somehow God’s presence in the world, they invariably communicate that same chosenness to others. And thus the Mystery passes on from age to age."  - Richard Rohr, adapted from "Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality," pp. 42–43

I can digest this statement much more readily than the statement that God chose Katie, or us, for the unique kind of suffering that comes with an "incurable" childhood cancer. I just cannot live with the theory that God is a puppeteer, that he looked around the world and pointed his finger at us (or anyone else, for that matter), and that this horrific tragedy could be called - especially by anyone who really knows what it is like to go through it - a gift, blessing in disguise. 

But God's help, His love, His helpers, are all gifts that came with (not because of, but with) the disaster of pediatric cancer. And the opportunity to do our best to "be Him" in the world, in a new way, came with it. Because of His Love, we are beloved, we are chosen (everyone is chosen as beloved by God), and God was in it with us, as He is in our grief-journey with us now, and will be with us, come what may. I have hope and faith in this.

Katie and David with Kappa and aunt Deb

Katie with cousins Andrea and Joseph
(Grandpa & Grandma G. and auntie Linda,
uncles Bill & Jim, in the background)

Katie with cousin Joe

"Loss makes artists of us all as we weave new patterns in the fabric of our lives." - Greta W. Crosby

Katie, Christmas 2005

But I still miss my girl.


Angela said...

Loving you...and giving you a great big hug...

Kay said...

Love these pics. All of them. Love the last one of Katie. Every time I look into her eyes I can't believe she isn't here with you. Such spunk and delight in those eyes.

I do think about being chosen. Mary was chosen and she birthed the Messiah but also suffered terrible agony watching Him die on the cross. (it rains on the just and the unjust.) I remember thinking 'why me' and then followed that up with 'why not me'. It's a complex thing.

ChiTown Girl said...

Wow, I really need to stop reading "Katie posts" when I'm PMSing. I can't stop crying, or looking at her beautiful face in all these pictures. Maybe it's my hormones, but my heart is just absolutely breaking for you today, Karen. I can not wrap my head around what it would be like to lose a child. I can't even for one minute pretend to get it. It's unfathomable to me. I'm so truly, deeply sorry for your family's loss. I don't in any way want to lessen the significance of their loss and pain, but as a mother, I imagine your pain and grief is on a whole other plane from theirs. Oh my God, I just can't stop crying, so I guess I'll stop typing. Know that I'm sending you hugs, kisses, prayers and love!

Lakeland Jo said...

bless you. You write beautifully. I am praying for you and your family, and your lovely girl. May you find some peace this Christmas XX

Karyn said...

I'm with ChiTownGirl... tears streaming down my face, too. Big hugs and kisses to you. And PS: I LOVE Katie's haircut when she was little. The bangs are so cute.

karen gerstenberger said...

Hugs right back to all of you...I didn't meant to make you cry. XO

Busy Bee Suz said...

I know that you will miss her always. She is a treasure to this world.
Hugs to you....Suz

Jason, as himself said...

"I just cannot live with the theory that God is a puppeteer, that he looked around the world and pointed his finger at us (or anyone else, for that matter), and that this horrific tragedy could be called - especially by anyone who really knows what it is like to go through it - a gift, blessing in disguise."

Absolutely! I can't stand it when people say, "Everything happens for a reason." They kept telling this when my dad's wife was in a horrendous car accident which left her completely incapacitated mentally and physically.

Katie was such a beautiful, beautiful girl.

Karen said...

Beautiful memories, but so hard to say goodbye. Can't wait for "hello". Hugs for your broken heart.

Renee said...

Karen Katie is so stunningly beautiful. Oh my gosh she is so gorgeous.

I don't believe that God chose Katie for this at all. Never, no way, not the God I love would never be such a monster.

Love Renee xoxo

Karla said...

I can only imagine. Prayers for comfort for all of you.

Elizabeth said...

Photo after photo after photo of that gorgeous girl. The glossy hair, the incandescent smile, the smooth skin -- she just shines. Thank you for posting these photos and for the perfect verses to go along with them. And your words of faith go deep and are inspiring to me -- intensely so.

Mary said...

Karen, I love looking at your family photos of Christmas past. I lingered and studied the details of Katie's poses and beautiful face. I agree that the experience of losing Katie can never be called a gift, or a blessing in disguise. It is disrespectful of your journey and your horrible loss to call it that.

As I often say, I've grown from the experience and I even can be appreciative of what I've learned but I was not chosen, Oscar was not chosen, and certainly not because we could handle it or because we are good parents. I just can't believe that's how it goes.

Thinking of you!

Bridget :) said...

I LOVE that last picture - she is so beautiful. She's always with you in every little thing you do.

Gannet Girl said...

Such a beautiful, beautiful girl, that Katie. She just exudes joy. How very deeply you miss, her, I know.