Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11: sending my heart to Kindergarten

Today I'm thinking about love, loss, grief and transition. September 11th will always be a day to pause, to remember, to grieve, and to hug your loved ones just a little bit tighter. I imagine in the moments right before their deaths, hundreds upon hundreds of folks were not thinking about working more, making more money, or traveling to far-off places. Those heroes and victims and citizens were picturing their loved ones, recalling their fondest memories, and sending their hearts to their families, a loving farewell in the midst of great chaos.

In the weeks leading up to today, our little family has been experiencing quite a bit of our own grief. There is a spiritual battle waging around our family, our home, and our ministry. We are weary, sick, sad, and yet hopeful. As a dear friend envisioned as he prayed for us, we are in the very eye of a storm, with only our wooden boat between us and the raging sea. 

My sweet, darling girl has each morning cried at the very thought of leaving for school. She has sobbed and begged to stay home. I've listened, and empathized, yet remained matter-of-fact. I've guided her, gently at times, pushing at others, toward the line-up into her classroom. Almost every morning she complains of a stomachache. My own gut is wrenched with anxiety and confusion as I wonder whether I'm doing the right thing, the right way.

I've tried everything to make this transition easier. We've celebrated, empathized and cried together. I've sent love notes in her lunch and sent prayers up constantly on her behalf. I've sat in frustration with her as she's wondered why God doesn't comfort her when she's away. Yesterday she asked to take her stuffed frog to school; we compromised with a small brown bear that used to be mine, that fit in her pocket. Nothing has worked. Each morning is as difficult as the one before.

Finally, today, I had one last idea. Several years ago a good friend and mentor gave me a heart necklace as a parting gift when I moved away. This morning I fastened it around Maddie's neck, tucked it down under her dress, and pressed it against her heart. 

"Maddie," I said, "today I'm sending my heart with you to Kindergarten. Anytime you feel sad or lonely or afraid, I want you to press this heart against your heart and remember that my Mama Love goes with you always. This necklace will just be a physical reminder of the truth that my love is always with you. And even better, God's mighty, powerful love is always with you." 

Daddy said a prayer for her day, and off we went to school. 

No tears.

An easy transition from the car, to the line, to the classroom.

No looking back. No wiping tears. No clinging to my leg.

My original thoughts on 9/11 still stand: "Death will always be a part of life; grief will forever be a reality...and healing will always be possible."

How, you may ask, is healing possible in the midst of such horrible grief and pain?
You may recall the vision of our friend who prayed for us...the second part of the story is he saw not only our boat in the middle of the storm; he saw Jesus himself manning the sails, tying down ropes, lightening the load, all in an effort to keep us as safe as possible in the midst of the mighty storm. As he worked, he sang a song of love over us. He was focused and serious, realizing the extent of the storm raging about, yet he was

The prayer I pray for Maddie each day this year is the same that brings me solace in the storm:

"The Lord your God is with you; he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you; he will quiet you with his love; he will rejoice over you with singing."

Today I'm sending my heart not only to Kindergarten, but to all those who are weathering storms of their own. May you feel the Mighty God with you, battening down the hatches, securing the sails, and whistling a tune of joyful delight.


mel @ the larson lingo said...

Oh, Becky, this is a beautiful post in so many ways. Sorry about the storm you guys are in right now, but know that I am also praying for you guys and I know Jesus will guide you through it. Your idea to send Maddie with a necklace is such a good idea, so glad the drop off was successful today. We love you guys! Kate was just telling me yesterday that she was glad she got to see Maddie at the Claire's party because she misses her and wants her to come over for a playdate. Let's set up a day next week! xoxo.

Tiffany said...

Beautiful. You are such an inspiration of a good mom! So happy I bumped into you that day!!!