Monday, June 27, 2011

reflections on loss + awe.

{photo from Brittany's blog}

All day Saturday, Jordan and I worked alongside one another, doing laundry, cleaning bathrooms, buying groceries, vacuuming floors. We've been out of town for the past couple of weeks, and our house -- our refuge, our shelter, our calm and happy place -- had fallen into disarray.

So we worked together. I rearranged the mantle, added a new rug, a few pillows. We stocked our refrigerator and planned menus for the week.

And at about 3:00, we remembered we had tickets for a Baroque exhibit in town, tickets that expired this week.

We left laundry in the tub and the living room a disaster.

And it felt good.

All of it, mind you. The cleaning, the shopping, the pausing, the making time for each other in the middle of the to-do list.

This weekend, a dear friend of my family's passed suddenly from this life. And it's that "suddenly" that gets you, that takes your breath away, that stops you in your tracks and makes you look at the sky and wonder: Why?

As believers, as people who trust that there is more to this life than even cleaning bathrooms and warm green grass and thick salty breezes, we hope and pray that our friend's life is only over here. That somewhere, somehow, he is laughing and dancing and reuniting.

But here?

Here there is hurt. And confusion. And loss.

And because of the sudden-ness of it all, you begin asking those cosmic questions, the what. The why. The who.

I wondered what my response should be.

To pray. To cry. To call the people we love and tell them so. To hold hands with my husband. To say thank you. To celebrate. To breathe.

This life is a short one. It's a gift, we know, but too often, we treat it like a crummy pair of sheets grandma found on the discount aisle.

We, quite simply, are not in awe of it enough.

And so when death comes -- to a friend, to a loved one, to a parent, to a child -- we reflect. And we wonder. And deep down, we remember: This gift will not last forever.

Saturday, as we changed sheets and cut fresh flowers and set chairs around the table in preparation for friends, I realized that grief has the power to paralyze. It can stop you and make you go breathless, and you might never be the same.

Or you can look around and know that for whatever reason, by whatever power, you are still here.

There are paintings to be gasped at, meals to be eaten, homes to be cared for, and loved ones to be held.

And I don't want to forget. In the chaos, in the mundane, in the hurt and in the celebration, I want to stand still and take it all in and be grateful. I want to look at the clouds and know that somewhere, Someone wanted me to have all of this. This moment was given to me to do with as I see fit.

I don't have to do anything spectacular with it. I just have to recognize it. Be grateful for it. Relish in it.

This weekend, I did that.



Whitney said...

This is beautiful, really. I have a chronic (scary) illness and I think about this all the time. The future is scary, but the present is a gift.
I wrote about it here (not trying to spam, sorry):

Lauren said...

Amen--what an awesome post!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful blog, Annie! You are so right. We just don't realize what a gift life truly is! We need to start living, doing more of what we want to do, and being truly grateful, because this life is only a breath! It's all about living in the moment.

Blessings, Sydney

Annie said...

amen. love this. thank you for these words of truth.

Anonymous said...

This is a great post, and I love the picture that goes along with it.

A couple of months ago you suggested the book Cold Tangerines? I read it a couple weeks ago, and I loved it! Your writing really reminds me of that sometimes, and I think you could write a very similar novel :)

Heather @ Life Made Lovely said...

annie, this is one of the best posts i've ever read. it's perfectly lovely. xoxo

Four Flights said...

Hallelujah indeed. This post made me cry. Really, it did in a good way. Just what I needed to read. Thank you for it :)