Tuesday, April 26, 2011

easter baskets and ikea

i had been dreading easter weekend.  after being ripped wide with the news of  cancer on tuesday, the last thing i felt like thinking about on thursday were easter basket doo-dads and plastic eggs. it just wouldn't register. nothing in my life felt pastel at the moment.  everything was still hot and bright and blaring.  electric-loud and jarring.  but somehow, on thursday morning, i managed to wander numbly through the picked over aisles of target and place shiny trinkets in my cart.  i wasn't even sure what those trinkets were.  just stuff.  stuff to stuff baskets and and stuff to stuff empty eggs.  stuff which suddenly had lost its charm.  just stuff.  i tried to make lists of things we needed to do.  things to get.  things to buy.  but nothing much made sense. i left the store quickly.  once home, i was happy to find an egg coloring kit leftover from last easter on a dusty shelf in my basement.   i hadn't thought about that either.  but we would at least color eggs...at least.

friday dawned.   Good Friday.  grey and rainy.  perfect, i thought.  Lord, can i just stay in my pajamas and skip this day?  we had yet to tell tyler.   he had been away all week.  telling him was at the top of my list and i wanted nothing more than to crumple up that list and throw it far away.  pretend. pretend. pretend that list belonged to someone else.  pretend i didn't have a clue what all the fuss was about.  pretend. pretend.  instead the day passed and the time came and i headed out to meet his bus.  instead i sat him on a couch and looked him in the eyes.  instead i held  his hand tightly and spilled out the words uneloquently.  instead i watched the face of my brave boy crumple.  there was no pretending.  not really.  he was the last in our family to know.  the telling hadn't gotten easier.

we kept ourselves busy all weekend.  attempted to keep things calm and normal.  even made a weak attempt at cheerful. saturday morning we had to make a decision over a piece of furniture at ikea.  the kids and rick kept asking my opinion.  it was everything i could do to hold back from yelling, "i don't really care."  now,  had those words actually come spewing out of this mother's mouth, i am telling you my entire family would have fallen to the floor in great moaning heaps of fear. mom not care about a piece of furniture?  are you kidding me? mom loves furniture. she always cares about the height and depth and color of a bookshelf.  that would have been it  -  i would have had all six of them crying violently on swedish couches.  so off i went again pretending to care mightily about the book-shelf-thingy we were purchasing for tyler's room.  pretending that i really did prefer the brushed walnut finish to the ebony. but i stood there blankly.   while we are on the subject of furniture,  i have to tell you what my funny friend beverly said to me last week.  first of all, you need to know beverly was diagnosed with breast cancer one month before me.  she had her major surgery the same week i was going through all the crazy diagnostic stuff....in fact, i was standing in her front yard when i received word from my doctor.   (how's that for a little context? maybe some day this will all make sense).   anyway, she is just so funny.  even in the midst of both of us pinnned under this bulging rock of cancer, she remains funny. she called me one morning after my diagnosis.  without even saying hello, she said to me, "you know, this is a really good time to ask for new furniture."   seriously.  she meant it.   what husband is going to say no to his breast cancer riddled wife.  i mean there isn't a whole lot to laugh about right now, but that was pretty funny.  and as i roamed the massive aisles at ikea on saturday i kind of played with the idea.  flirted just a little with plopping down on something new and wonderful and unncessary and pleading my need for the comfort of new furniture.  i thought about it....but i have to tell you, i truly didn't care.  that was just the place of my heart on that saturday morning.  that place of in between.  heartbroken and in need of healing.  kind of numb. 
how strange to be at this place of numb on easter weekend.  easter was about living and life and growth and birth.   i thought about how Jesus' disciples and followers and all of His marys must have felt on that day between the cross and the empty tomb.  i realize they weren't thinking about swedish furniture, but surely they must have been somewhere, doing something to keep their hands and their minds and themselves busy.  surely they must have stirring some kind of soup or sweeping a floor or slamming a hammer or washing someone's dusty feet.   surely.  their Lord was just taken from them.  they had just watched their Jesus die a painful death upon a splintered cross.  the world went dark. completely. the earth trembled. violently.   their Jesus was gone.  they left their hope on a hill outside a city...and it stayed there mixing with the very blood of their sinless, perfect, precious Jesus.  how could tihs happen? how could God possibly be in it?

so that was saturday.  the day in between.  the day of pretend.  the day of keep busy.  the day of numb.  the day of asking where-has-my-God-gone?  by the time we had selected the furniture and jammed it into our overcrowded vehicle, i was done.  we had plans to head to the horse farm and a movie and...and... and... and...but i was done.  i asked the family to drop me home.  i couldn't keep going.  the numb was starting to burn in the back of my throat and the fear was beginning to creep back in and boil over my insides.  i could taste it.  feel it.  hear it coming.  and i wanted only to bury my head between the white pillows of my bed.  i knew i would need to dig out baskets and eggs and candies and clean shoes and all those doo-dads sitting prettily in target bags. and i knew it would take everything left in me on this day. and there just wasn't much left.

sunday morning dawned.  the sun was shining.  a perfect easter.  i was ready to put on my face of pretend.  i was ready to step back into my shoes of numb.  but somewhere along the way...somewhere within that morning something changed.  i am not really sure what.  i wish i could tell you exactly when and how.  it might have been the morning sun peeking through my woods out back.  it might have been the sleeping children in the rooms upstairs.  it may have been my morning devotion and coffee and kiss from my husband.  i certainly felt a trickle of joy when i watched bella line up all of the ceramic rabbits in an easter parade on our kitchen floor (didn't realize i had quite so many rabbits sitting around, by the way).  i felt another deep prick of joy as i watched the children come rushing to the car on our way to church.  they came beautiful. there was a day when i thought easter bonnets and white patent leather and just the right flounce of a dress was important...especially on easter.  things have changed.   i wasn't especially worried about their clothing choices this easter sunday.  but i looked at their lovely, young faces and i was overwhelmed with their fresh beauty.  their beauty even after such a disasterous week.  they came with clear eyes and bright smiles and helping hands.  it was all i could do to not sit and stare at them all the way to church. 

and then finally there was worship.  and with the first note of the first song, i felt the numb begin to melt.  i felt the cold clutch of fear begin to shake loose.   i held bella in my arms and we sang together.  i felt my throat open wide and my heart open wide and my hands open wide.  wide open.  i stood there in the midst of praise music and all of this jubilant easter celebration and i took hold of my Risen Savior.  no, maybe He was taking hold of me.  i am not sure, but i can tell you there was some mighty holding taking place.  and suddenly it was easter...and it was blessed and i had great reason to celebrate.   all of this....All of This would be senseless and hopeless without A Risen Christ.  but because He lives...i, too, can live...i can face tomorrow....oh, friends, i know that sounds like you've heard it a hundered times...i know it sounds like a tired cliche...a worn thin platitude...except that it's true.  i mean it is really, really true.  i am afraid that before this is all over i will know it at even a deeper...harder...stronger level.   just typing that makes my breath catch fast.  because i know sometimes our Jesus reveals himself in great pain and angst.  there is nothing in me which wants to travel this road.  i am girl wanting only to run back to the cool white pillows on her bed...i still want to crumple up that list and throw it far away. i want to pretend this was all wrong.  all a mistake.  i mean there is just nothing pretty about being here.  after my appointment on monday i am more convinced this road looms ugly and large and broken.  please don't think for one minute i am comforted with small sunday school talk.  i am not.  it is taking Everything Jesus Offers to bring me peace in this storm.  Everything.  The Cross and The Empty Tomb.  and even though i walked into the easter weekend with great dread, i walked away knowing it was a great gift.

"but when they looked up, they saw that the stone,
which was very large, had been rolled away."  ~ luke 16:4 


Rebecca said...

So Beautiful, Jody. Thank you for telling His Truth. I am praying for you all the time. All The Time.

carolyn bradford said...

I cannot even begin to tell you how much you have ministered to me with EACH of your posts....but this...this takes the cake! You've just written every fear I've ever had! the fear of "wondering" if you have breast cancer...the fear of "wondering" what tomorrow might bring! but you said it so well....because He lives...we CAN face tomorrow...even when we think we can't! This puts all of my petty fears into major perspective! Thanks for your open, heart felt words....and no...they are not merely a Sunday School lesson but rather a lesson only learned by walking closely with a Risen Savior.

Sheri said...

Thank you for sharing your journey. You put things into words in a way no one else can. Sending up prayers of faith, courage, peace and hope for you and your entire family.

Sheri in Galveston

Aus said...

Morning Jody - this will get a tad long - sorry....

You had a "Peter Moment". Go read John 20:1-9.

You are kind of in Peter's spot. He was running full speed to the tomb, but then started to process..."Just a couple day's ago I denied this Guy three times...and He really has risen just like He said He would...and He's going to be soooo angry with me....and I deserve it...what am I going to do or say to make it up to Him....I really love the Guy...." Peter lagged behind doing all this thinking...

Meanwhile "the other disciple" (I think it's interesting that John doesn't name him too) get's to the tomb but then freezes and doesn't go in. Does he lack the Faith or Courage to finish the run?

But by the time Peter get's there he's ready and charges head first into whatever he's going to face...Peter finds his Faith on the way, and then moved by Peter's Faith the other disciple can finish the trip.

You now know how Peter felt - you've been there - were there on Good Friday and Holy Saturday - and again on Easter Sunday - but you walked into the tomb without stopping...

Nice work.

Really nice work!

Maybe you'll waiver from time to time - hope you don't but don't worry about it if you do, you'll bounce back.

And whatever happens - you won't be alone!

hugs - prayers - aus and co.