Thursday, November 08, 2007
Garden of Words, Part 2
“I remember my afflictions and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them and my soul is downcast with me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore, I have great hope. Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, The Lord is my portion; therefore, I will wait for Him. The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him. It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”
Yesterday it happened. The moment I had dreaded for two months. My little boy Noah said good-bye to his best buddy, Erik, before Erik’s family moved this morning to Virginia.
I decided to pick up Noah at his classroom and go to the book fair as a distraction. The bell rang and third-graders swarmed into the hall heading for their coats and backpacks before they clambered through the side door out to the playground. I stood against a wall watching the frenzy.
Noah spotted me and grinned.
“Hi Mom, why are you in here?”
“I thought we might go to the book fair.”
“Really?” His grin got wider.
I saw Erik coming out of the classroom next to Noah’s.
“Noah, do you want to say good-bye to Erik?”
He didn’t answer but turned and spied his friend through the throng. Erik spotted him, too.
Remember the movie “Reds” with Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton? As I watched the two little boys fight through the mass of eight-year-olds to get to each other, I thought about that scene when Diane spots Warren after she thought he was one of the dead being unloaded from a train. I know I am a dramatic soul but my heart hurt. Really, really hurt when I saw the two little boys embrace and actually lay their heads on each other’s shoulders. My eyes were wet. I didn’t hear what they said, but I could tell Erik was a little choked up. Then other boys joined their hug and it became a joke.
Noah called “Bye” to Erik and then walked over to me. I thought he was fine and we started walking down another hall to the library for the book fair. Suddenly he stopped. I stopped and looked at him. He walked toward me and put this head on my chest.
It took every ounce of strength I have to not blubber and make a little scene. I stroked his hair and he looked up at me, tears in his eyes.
We didn’t say a word.
Some other kids came and Noah used his coat to block his face. It was time for me to step up and be strong for my boy.
“Let’s think about books, shall we?”
I ushered him into the library and greed and materialism took over. The distraction worked.
This morning I woke up sad and anxious, thinking about how difficult it is to be on this planet without a close buddy nearby. I have been there more than once in my life and the loneliness can be palpable. Noah had a best friend, Hunter, in California and it was so difficult to leave him. Now, less than a year later, he must once again say goodbye to someone he spent hours with every week.
So what did I do with these feelings? I had several options. I could’ve eaten. This is an easy way for me to numb any emotions or discomfort I am having. I didn’t. I could’ve taken it all out on John and Noah by snapping at them for whatever. I didn’t. I could’ve just laid down in bed and pulled up the covers, bought some balloons and dip for my pity party. I didn’t choose any of these, though the Lord knows I have in the past.
Today I decided to sit still and then take a walk through the garden that is Lamentations 3: 19-26. Among this patch of God-crop, there is such nourishment and comfort. Because of His love, I won’t be consumed. He has compassion for my situation. God feels for my pain. I love that. To think the Creator of emotions, feels for me and wants to help me even more than I want to help Noah.
In another book this morning, I read “Avoidance of pain stops growth cold.” I can’t erase the pain that Noah is about to endure, nor can I just wipe out my own. But I can remember these words when my soul is downcast. I can tell myself the truth of God’s love and therefore, have great hope.
Then I wait quietly. He comes. Sometimes He comforts in the truth of the big picture. Sometimes He comforts by sending me someone or something that gives me a boost. And sometimes He just sends me a garden of mercies that grow new every morning. Within the rows of growth, I can dance. Even with a bit of pain in my heart. In His garden of compassion, I am not consumed.