Crema

noticing joy on the surface of simple things … the evidence of holiness happening in the daily grind.

From The Heart of an Elder and the Younger February 29, 2016

Filed under: Authenticity,Cancer,Grief,Loss,Wisdom — lauradegroot @ 10:47 pm
Tags: , , ,

My dad died.  Andy Ploegstra was born Groundhogs day 1938.  He told that to his oncology nurses each time he came for a chemotherapy treatment.  He wanted them to know when Groundhogs day was; know it came on the same day every year.  He wanted to add humor, a conversation in the midst of being treated for pancreatic/liver cancer, the kind and the stage that would predictably take his life in a few weeks to months.  It didn’t.  He had many many months instead.  Thank you Chemo – for time, for more conversations, for the final gifts my dad had time to give.   He died February 17th, 2016.

Some will understand the arrangements, travel, details, crowds of people who come together for the intense mourning and honoring.  If you know are in the know about that, you are also aware of the mass of people who show up to help that all happen.  Some of those people you don’t even know. If you are remembering your own recent or not so recent story, I know you are also acquainted with grief.

I am sorry for your loss.  Be thankful for your tears, even if they are in your eyes, on your face now because of your dad, your mom, your sweet child, your grandmother, aunt, grandfather, worlds greatest uncle, the friend who blessed your life, the co-worker, neighbor, husband or wife you can’t still hardly breathe without some days.

Right before I left for those necessary days of rituals and closure an elder man shared a sacred story.  On the retelling of this story one evening a  younger man – my 18-year-old nephew – spoke a sacred statement in response to the story.    It’s profoundly true.  The two stories were gifts to me so I shared them at my dad’s memorial service.  I will share them here for all of you whose somebody has died too.

The elder:  “May I have  two minutes of your time before you leave?”

Me:  “Yes of course.”

The elder with his firm hand on my shoulder:  “I am so sorry for the loss of your father.  Based on the stories you told, he sounds like a great guy and you two had a special relationship.  I really am sorry for you.  But…I am jealous of your grief.  My dad was a drunk, not a mean or sloppy drunk….but a drunk and for the last ten years of  his life he got drunker.  When I put him in the grave, there were no tears, there was no grief.  So, I am sorry for your loss, but jealous of your tears.”

Days later in the retelling to some family, the response was mostly ‘wow’ or wordless.  Until the younger man said this:  “Well that only makes sense.  Grief is a byproduct of love.”

Dad, thank you, thank you for my tears, for my grief.  Its big.

 

Wisdom For A Decade September 21, 2014

The Wise Woman’s Stone

A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream.  The next day she met another traveler who was hungry and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food.  The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him.  She did so without hesitation.

The Traveler left rejoicing in his good fortune.  He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime.

But, a few days later, he came back to return the stone to the wise woman.  “I’ve been thinking,” he said.  “I know how valuable this stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious.  Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me this stone.”

                                                                                                                                    from The Best of Bits and Pieces

There are a number of especially wise women in my life.  One raised me.  A couple are long time friends.  One is a couple of decades older, a few are a decade or two  younger.  I know this is a gift – to have more than one wise woman who will speak into your life.

Alice is one woman of wisdom who shares what I have to look forward to, prior too each decade birthday.  On the eve of this 50th decade, I would like to pass along the wisdom of the decades I’ve received.

Prior to turning 30 I fought, kicked, bit, pushed, pulled, and attempted to ignore the fact I would not be 20something anymore.  Into this somewhat….ok completely immature and ridiculous behavior Alice the wise woman spoke.

“Laura, the 30’s are the age of wisdom and beauty.”

Well that put a different spin on things.   And so the decade went, where I realized some of the beauty she spoke of was inner, not just outer.

Prior to turning 40, there were no tantrums.  Yet, I wasn’t anticipating what sounded like an older-ish decade with any enthusiasm.  I called Alice.

“Hi Alice,  I was wondering if you had thoughts on what I have to look forward to in my 40’s?  You told me the 30’s would be the age of wisdom and beauty, what are the 40’s the age of?”

Her reply:  “Ugh, aging.  And denial…about aging.”

“Really?!”  I said with a look on my face that  appropriately reflected her answer.  “You are telling me that I am going from wisdom and beauty to Aging and Denial?  Forget it.  I’m tapping out.”

After some thought she said something wonderful that I have found to come true…slowly… over the last 10 years. “Freedom.  You find the Freedom to know and be who you are.”

This week, finishing up being “still in my 40’s” (and saying that A LOT), I contacted the wise woman.  Before I share what she said, there are two things you need to know.

  1.  My physician, Dr. David Thayer in Boulder CO,  has been my MD for 30 years.  The last few annual appointments he said:  “My job is to get you to 100 and then you are on your own.”  I take him seriously.  The whole ‘over-the-hill’ thing I am rejecting.  I think this is the half-way-there mark.
  2. This wise and wonderful friend has spent this year getting to know Cancer, Chemo, Surgery, Needles, Drains, Drugs, Discouragement, Doubt, Pain, Nausea, Help, Healing, Hope, very personally.  I won’t lie, I hesitated calling.  Yet, I’ve known Alice long enough to push hesitation aside.  You see, her wisdom & truth come from a heart and mind tuned into the Holy Spirit; from life experience and lessons learned through rough patches.  I knew I wanted what she had to give.

Here is the actual dialogue:

Me – still in my 40’s:
That time has come again.  Alice, what do I have to look forward to in the decade of the 50’s?
Can’t wait to hear what you have to say!
Alice:
Hi Laura!

It’s so good to hear from you! ❤️

What to look forward to in the 50’s?

Grandchildren! 😀 But that element is outside our control and determination. However it is an effervescent gift beyond words!

By God’s grace my marriage survived the 30’s and 40’s, and I can say the 50’s is the most rewarding decade of all with my husband. Our love has deepened through trial and longevity. We enjoy hanging out together!

This is a quieter decade. Our nest is empty. And that’s okay.

Finally having the guts in this decade (where maybe I’ve grown a little bolder) to pursue God’s call to write full-time. And having the new maturity to cast everything aside that hinders the call (even the very good stuff) as I pursue His will and way.

Finally understanding His choice is the best possible one for me, designed for me — to bless others in His name — as I run the race He’s set before me. (And I fought tooth and nail to avoid his initial call! I was so afraid! 😩)

I think there’s less fear in this decade.

Greatest 50’s gift — God is gifting me with a significant life purpose as scribe. I don’t need to live vicariously and bug my grown kids to create my life. I get to live through my own life! 😀

Hope that helps as you step into a new decade sister! 🎉🎉🎉🎉

Talk soon.
Alice

Alice again – a follow-up reflection:
One more thing —

In my fifties I learned I’m vulnerable to disease. 😥

So now in recovery I try to view each new day as a gift and to be thankful for it.

❤️

Based on this wisdom, I think tomorrow may be the beginning of the Best Decade Yet!   I decided I’m going to strap on my Great Anticipation Cape and leap forward with feet flying, arms flailing, and shouting:  “HERE’S TO BEING HALF WAY THERE!”
 

 
followingthewatershed

wa·ter·shed (noun) 1. an area or ridge of land that separates waters flowing to different rivers, basins, or seas. 2. an event or period marking a turning point, a change of course.

Life with Emily and Matt

(and two kiddos make four!)

Ellen Brock

Professional Freelance Novel Editor

created for the love-light.

stories of a life captivated by an imaginative, creative God.

Crema

noticing joy on the surface of simple things … the evidence of holiness happening in the daily grind.

Don't Ask the Fish | Christian Daily Devotional

noticing joy on the surface of simple things … the evidence of holiness happening in the daily grind.

Big Fat Sweaty Guy

The personal blog of Derek Brouwer.

%d bloggers like this: