Monday, April 5, 2010

"Were Not Our Hearts Burning Within Us"

Lk 24:13-35:    
That very day, the first day of the week,
two of Jesus’ disciples were going
to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,
and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.
And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,
but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.
He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?”
They stopped, looking downcast.
One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,
“Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem
who does not know of the things
that have taken place there in these days?”
And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”
They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word
before God and all the people,
how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over
to a sentence of death and crucified him.
But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this,
it is now the third day since this took place.
Some women from our group, however, have astounded us:
they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; they came back and reported
that they had indeed seen a vision of angels
who announced that he was alive.
Then some of those with us went to the tomb
and found things just as the women had described,
but him they did not see.”
And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are!
How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!
Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets,
he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures.
As they approached the village to which they were going,
he gave the impression that he was going on farther.
But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.”
So he went in to stay with them.
And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them who were saying,  “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!”  Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread.

You may know that this is the scripture passage that I awoke to, on the night that I entered into a real, intentional, free, one-to-one (some call it "personal") relationship with God and Jesus. It is a precious passage in my heart.

There is something about this description of mysterious appearing, this lack of seeing, and sudden awareness, this tender visitation and disappearance upon recognition, that the disciples experienced on the road to Emmaus, that gives me comfort. There is something in it of how I see Katie, nowadays. She is here for fleeting instants, and then gone. I am close to sobbing at certain moments, and then I gather my emotions before it blossoms into full-blown tears. Katie appears in butterflies, in feelings, in photographs, in memories, in intuition...and then she is away again. I have the promise of reunion, but must wait - for I don't know how long. The longing for her is always with me, but sometimes, more hidden than at others. She is with me, but not as I wish she were. She is here, and she is gone. Both of these things are true.
I smelled Katie's scent last week, as if she was right beside me, while I was re-ordering her room in anticipation of our exchange student. I felt Katie's blessing on the small changes that I made.

Zoe will arrive tomorrow,after a long journey, from a small village in France, and I don't want her to feel oppressed by the fact that she is sleeping in the room that belongs (still) to a girl who died. I have cleaned and "edited" things. (These photos are of "before.")
I have packed boxes of stuffed animals and clothes that have been put away for "later," and have given three full bags to the Goodwill (Katie's charity of choice). I will dust and vaccuum one more time tomorrow, and the room will be as ready as it can be.

Zoe's family hosted David in their home at this time last year. We visited her family last summer when we were traveling in France. If Katie were here with us, she would be THRILLED to have a French girl staying here. I feel that her blessing is upon this visit, and upon our guest, staying in her room.

Today, I spent an hour at the office of the Moyer Foundation, founded by Jamie and Karen Moyer. I have been asked to speak briefly at their annual fundraising luncheon. This is a special year for the foundation - their 10th anniversary - and I am happy to be able to share with their community of support what their giving has accomplished in our lives.

I am going to talk about what it means to us that David and Katie were able to attend the Hutch School, which the Moyer Foundation supports. They also support pediatric palliative care, childlife specialists and grief care, all of which are passions of mine. They have raised over $19 million for these causes (and more) in the past 10 years! We are blessed to have this generous couple and their foundation as advocates for children in our community.

So if you do not see postings here in the next few days, it's because we are busy hosting Zoe from Ste. Tulle (the south of France)...but I will be thinking of you.


deb said...

I send you blessings as you continue on this journey, Karen.
And funny, I wrote a little of the surprising element of belief, comfort, truth. It comes upon us.

I'm glad it comes upon you enough to comfort.
I'm glad Katie touches you gently and powerfully.

We aren't alone.

Mary Potts said...

Yes, I understand the longing. She is here, and she is gone...
I DO understand.

How lovely that you're opening your home to Zoe. How gracious and wonderful!

Kay said...

Love this post, Karen! I love that phrase you highlighted too. Makes me want to ask myself.. is my heart burning within me??...all the time!

I hope you have a wonderful time hosting. Sounds so fun! : )

Smileygirl said...

I know it's a busy week and Zoe is going to feel so welcome in your warm home. Will you let the cats out at night? I could just imagine what she will be thinking if they were running all over the house, nudging her face in the middle of the night. XOXO

Anonymous said...

After my grandfather passed away, to whom we were very close, there was a long period when we didn't want to use his house or spend much time around his things - too sad - coupled with a desire to keep everything the same - too difficult to change it. Then the summer before last I had some friends to stay there - it was like the moment in the Sleeping Beauty story when she wakes up, before she is the sleeping, beautiful princess - after she is awake and in love. Having my friends to stay and making new memories in the house didn't wipe the old ones, or change them - instead it made us remember things we had forgotten. And we could feel that my grandfather, who was a consummate entertainer, was present in spirit. I hope that you will experience something similar - i'm sure Katie would have loved having an exchange student to stay (as I did when my brother's had their's) - I hope having Zoe to stay will make some new memories that will complement the old ones and make you relive the happy times.

The meeting at Emmaus is also a favourite of mine - it always reminds me that you can find Jesus in the helpful friend, in the unknown stranger - in the person you thought you knew, but see in a new light.

Take care - I hope you have a great time - she's a lucky girl to be coming to stay with such a lovely family!


karen gerstenberger said...

Laura, I think we'll let Zoe decide how much proximity she wants with the cats...she has a cat at home.
I wish you could have seen Liger last night. He sat on the couch behind my head and put his paw on my neck, and purred...I'm so in love with him! Latte and David were racing each other up and down the stairs, and Latte apparently faked David out, & won.

Busy Bee Suz said...

this scripture is deeply moving and meaningful.
I love that you feel and see Katie around you..fleeting moments.
Zoe is a lucky girl coming to your family...she will have a wonderful experience with a fantastic family.
Enjoy the good busyness.

Karen said...

I love that same scripture passage. They are as distraught and discouraged as I have been, and then they have a moment of recognition and joy. I've had that experience too. So many mysteries in the resurrection...answers still to come. But lots of promise, too, and that's what comforts. Praying comfort for you too, dear friend.