Leaves crunch beneath my feet . . . I breathe in a small, shallow breath of autumn air, cold filling my lungs, warm sun kissing my cheeks . . . cold and warmth, crashing on the same skin.
My heart is stirred as I realize just how often the Lord allows this, even brings this by His own hand: what we would see as oil and water; not to be blended, not to be combined, not to be shared. Cold and warmth. Pain and joy.
But He hands us beauty and ashes in the same season and we know as we extend our arms to accept His timing, that His will, His way, His methods are always perfect, always right.
I am wrapped in a thin sweater, fighting the wind to walk one more day while the weather will allow it.
My grandma, “Mia”, died today. I had answered the phone, voice scratchy from a deep night’s sleep to hear words on the other end, bearing news we had all been prepared for. Prepared or not, the finality of it, the permanency, the seal on such a dear life’s presence on this earth, was silencing to my heart. Those eyes that had become glassy, even shaky at times, were closed in death. Those eyes that would gaze upwards while we would take her on a road trip, staring at the inside of the car ceiling as though it were the gates of heaven, lips turned up and smiling, face glowing. Her vision was not good, her memory had long been fading, her hands, though shaky and pale, would hold mine together, rubbing them lovingly to share any warmth she had to give. She is able now to break into song as she was so prone to do at the slightest suggestion, not just about Jesus this time — but with Him, on the eve of her 94th birthday.
Life . . . it is sprinkled as though with salt and pepper, in contrasts of events of the most common kind: birth and death. Today, I grieve at the loss of my grandmother; the next, I will rejoice at the birth of her great grandson, ready to be brought into this world any day, though she has been brought out.
The leaves beneath me have been let go by the branches above, but new life will soon emerge, bringing beauty where there is now only brown. Leaves die, just as seeds must break and open before something young and fresh emerges. Over and over again, the earth building on the bowing of one life to give to another. My grandmother gave — her life, her body, her love — dying daily for the needs and desires of her husband and children, and on that foundation my mom built her life, bearing us, raising us, sacrificing daily and teaching to live is Christ, to die is gain.
Now I face my turn to die to self, to break and open and bear life, sacrificing, that someone may be left when I have gone — someone to tell others, as I must now, that death to this world is not death at all if we have already died to it — that we can choose to die to this temporary place years before we leave it, setting instead, our affections in heaven, where moth and rust can not corrupt; storing up there an abundance of heavenly treasures when we give, bow, serve to the needs of others while there is yet time.
We are powerless to choose what a day may bring forth, but a day has no power of its own to bring or take away, unless by the hand of God. God, who has been proven, who is good, who loves, who can be trusted, writes the day in which we find ourselves. How good, then, to surrender, and say, “Thou doest all things well.”