Come What May.

I saw this quote recently and it's stayed in my mind ever since. I really want to share it; but I do realize this is my second "heavy" post in a row.
I promise the next one will be lighter.

So many times the words of others can convey my own feelings more articulately than I ever could. They are succinct, thought-provoking, quick little snap-shots into life and all that entails. Google any topic, and put behind it "quotes" (i.e., "friendship + quotes," or "Mark Twain + quotes"), and you will literally find a garden of wise sayings.

And-- quotes are always applicable. I love that Emily Dickinson, Oskar Schindler, and St. Augustine thought and said things that I, too, have thought... and felt.

The quote above is one that I am ready to put on my wall somewhere. Yes, Word Art. It's one of those lines that initially seems simplistic, but then becomes uncannily relevant. I've literally thought about the statement so much my head aches with that I thought too hard and now my brain is tired feeling I had at the end the one Western Philosophy class in college.

The man who penned this quote was one of great faith, intellect, and influence through "quiet diplomacy." Dag Hammarskjold was a Swedish-born Secretary General of the United Nations from 10 April 1953 until 18 September 1961, when he met an early death in a plane crash while on a peace mission in the Congo. He was posthumously awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

I am fascinated by this subtle figure of history now, because of the one quote that opened this post. After doing a little research, I am ashamed to admit I have a degree in History yet am unfamiliar with a figure so influential in world politics, with a leadership style extraordinarily balanced between pacifism and grand action.

But it is this one statement from Hammarskjold's personal journals, Markings, published after his death, which grabbed my attention more than his very long and accomplished resume:

For all that has been, thanks. For all that will be, yes.

At 30 years old, I realize that life brings moments of utter elation and crippling despair. No more has this been more evident to me than in the last few years, when literally-- in one day-- my life changed forever. Without going into detail, I'll just say that it lead to the eventual breakup of my nuclear family, just substitute dogs for children. *

But for me, the events of February 2008 hit me with a plank that knocked me off the entire life course I had envisioned. I can only recently say with complete sincerity that I'm starting to get back to "normal" again... slowly climbing out of a period deep confusion and sadness.

Sometimes I come across something that triggers the old feelings-- those slippery stones that will always be in the path because, such is Life. It may just be a tiny pebble of deja vu  (i.e., the time I burned Rice-a-Roni and subsequently saw a future of endless Lean Cuisines Meals for One, because who would want to be with someone who can't cook?), to boulders of tragedy. Like the death of my aunt this summer. I have thrown more pity parties for myself in the last two years than Chuck E Cheese has hosted in the last 10; I've questioned the good Lord's wisdom more often than any human created in His image ever should.

I had so much faith and confidence in what I thought was going to be my life, that to suddenly fish-tail into the unknown was beyond my comprehension at first. I simply thought I wasn't going to make it. I sank into the kind of consuming, selfish depression that manifests into a stomach-churning, sleep-depriving, "nothing matters" way of life. I asked God Why me? and How could I have prevented this? relentlessly. (My mother used to tell me, "Stop taking everything so personally. It's not always about you." Appears not to have really registered.)

All this to say, I was encased in that awful depression every moment of every day. For months. It was my existence that I allowed. I forgot about my Best Friend and Sustenance.
I forgot about Christ.

But He hadn't forgotten about me. Blind as I was to His presence, so consumed in my own thoughts, He found a way to whisper healing into my life. I remember the first time since everything happened that I realized I was laughing out loud -- not a fake laugh, not a "get me through the day" laugh-- but really laughing. It was at a friend's house watching reruns of Friends. I was taken aback when I caught myself-- it was like having a migraine for months, to have it go away for a few precious seconds.

The pain was amplified through the relief.

     Of course the sadness came back, but I craved that relief, I wanted so badly it to come back again. Oh, I begged.... implored.... harassed....  asked God for it incessantly. I am ashamed to admit the thought that I didn't deserve this, so You should make it better right now may have crossed my mind a time or twelve.

    But, as a Wise Father knows, it's not about my very ignorant and faulty plan. It's about His. And the happiness I was so void of for so long started to return... slowly. In subtle phases I didn't even realize were occurring, I was pulled out of the grip of hopelessness. He did it through the elegance that only He can; through His whispers, through unconditional family support; a job that allowed me space to grieve; through people who came into my life at just the right time-- (including someone that has shown me the kind of love described in 1 Corinthians 13:4); through friends I've had for years; and yes, even through the wagging tails of my silly dogs on even the darkest of days.

     I remember being 8 years old, climbing a magnolia tree in my front yard on a whim, and doing it with such vigor that only when I ran out of branches above me and finally looked down did I realize I was way too high-- and had no idea how I was going to get out. Panic. Helplessness. But I got down, and in one piece; because my Dad came out of the house and stood at the bottom of the tree with his arms outstretched, without reproach. He slowly coached me down, branch by branch, all the while assuring me that if I fell, he'd catch me. I remember the utter relief and surprise when my Keds hit the solid ground.

    At 28 years old, the Lord coaxed me out of a tree and I didn't even really know it, much less understand it. He did it with such exquisite subtlety that I didn't even know what He was doing. But in retrospect, so much of it makes sense and seems so obvious. Literally, I could list on paper the good that came directly from the difficult situation. All that questioning, the hurt, brought me to a life I am so grateful for today. I am a changed person, I'd like to believe for the better. Why? Because He was with me every moment, whether I chose to see Him or not, knowing the big picture better than I ever could. Knowing He'd get me out of that scary tree.

And I am so grateful.

*I would be remiss if I didn't mention that much worse has happened to people I know and love. As well, I've watched others go through the exact same thing I did, and handle it with much more strength and grace. My "big" bump in the road is nothing compared to things others have experienced.

And, because He proved so good and faithful (as if He needed to prove anything to my very mortal self), I can honestly say that what's to come is fine with me.
It may be unexpected, it may hurt, but one thing is for sure:

He knows what He is doing.
And He'll be my guide.
And it will all turn out okay.

'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' Jeremiah 29:11


These Three Remain: Faith, Hope, and Love.

Pronunciation: \ri-ˈzil-yən(t)s\
Function: noun
Date: 1824
1 : an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change
2 : A word that has taken on incredible significance and literally, come alive before my eyes in the last month. The people I've known, loved-- and admittedly, taken for granted-- all my life have humbled me through their strength. Resilience, fortified in Faith and love.
One thing I have noticed on many blogs I follow is that the author will take a break from posting for a little while, then comes back with apologies about not posting. This could be an option for me today; but I will be realistic about this thing and know that, more than likely, not too many hours of sleep have been lost because my little blog hasn't been touched since early July.
For my own peace of mind, though, I will explain the absence.

This last month has been one of tragedy and bittersweet celebration for my family. This world lost one of the most courageous, compassionate members of our family to a very aggressive cancer, and her absence has left a void that supercedes description in words. Our comfort is that she is out of her pain here and now in the walls of a perfect heaven, a reward for a life well-lived while here.

This has has also propelled me into a period of introspection, re-evaluation, and a more clear view of this life and the people who I am so blessed to have in it.
This post has been evolving in my bedside journals, letters that won't be sent, and Post-It notes from my kitchen counter where I scribble down nonsensical thoughts on as I try to process everything.

It is heavy.
It's not about Tuscany, or interior design, or Balenciaga's upcoming runway collection.
It's kept me up at night with how complicated it is; yet, it ends up coming back to the fundamentals. The simple phrases that you see on refrigerator magnets, decorative wall hangings from Stien Mart, or in the guest-room bookshelf classic:
All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.

Yet, it's a topic that I'm still trying to grasp and still can't quite get words around. I will get there, eventually.
I'm just not quite there yet.

Please consider donating to the Lieomysarcoma Foundation Direct Research Foundation in memory of my precious, selfless, and courageous Aunt. By supporting LMSdr you can help expand advocacy for LMS clinical research and continue efforts to dramatically improve the expertise and knowledge of both patients and researchers alike. If you would like more information, please don't hesitate to send me an email.