I’m sorry. Simply sorry.
Because I’ve not done what I promised you I would do.
I’ve failed to be 100% genuine.
You see, it’s been a difficult few weeks.
I wish I could tell you why.
Yes, I’ve been incredibly busy at work. But I love my career.
I’m healthy. I’m surrounded by great friends and family. I have fun and plenty to laugh and smile about.
But the mix-match of things going on around me have left me feeling out of sorts.
My emotions have been on edge. My sleep has not brought rest. My days have been a constant stream of frustrations.
In a word: I am a grump. And while I put on a happy face for (most) people, those who know me best have seen it.
And though time’s been short to post, I’ve stayed away.
Because I felt like I didn’t have anything worth saying, like anything I wrote would just be a string of shallow whining.
Because the few times I sat to write something worthy of post, the words felt empty and unreal.
So in staying away, I haven’t been real.
Today, I choose to change that. I’m here, and I’m hanging on by a thread. Do not worry: I’m okay and I will be fine. I’m just not quite myself. I don’t have any words to inspire or encourage today.
But amidst it all, I’ll share the conviction that’s on my heart today.
It comes from two sources – one, a precious friend and another, a blogger whom I’ve only recently followed.
First, my friend.
One of my sweetest friends who looks past everything and understands – “gets” me, down to the core of my heart.
And she asked me this week how my prayer life has been. (Because even though she may say everything gently, she also cuts right through the fluff. Thank you Lord for friends like that.)
She knows. She knows where I am even though I don’t.
She understands. She understands that the unrest in my soul can only be stilled by turning to our God, the Prince of Peace.
Then, this blog.
I only stumbled upon it a week ago, even as dusk was already beginning to settle over Sara’s life. I read and then read some more.
You see, Sara suffered from a very strange disease that kept her homebound for at least a few years, based on what I’ve gathered.
Completely homebound. As in – no fresh air, no trips to the grocery store, no movie nights. Even her dog had to stay inside. She was allergic to the air. That’s right. No smelling the fresh spring rain, enjoying the sunshine on her face, trudging through the snow. She was a prisoner in her own home. She had to rely on others – for food, for prescriptions to be picked up, for house-cleaning, for so many things that we take for granted. She never went to the party … the party had to come to her.
She had to be okay with being needy. What a reminder of how very helpless we all truly are, despite our best pretending. Our needs come in different shapes and forms, but we all have them. We all need. That’s why God gives us one another. The Body of Christ is one of ministering and being ministered to. How much richer are lives are when we admit that we, too, are weak and can’t do it all ourselves.
Sara had a right to complain. To whine. To hate life. To isolate herself and just give up. More than anyone I can think of in this moment as I write, I think she earned that right – even deserved it. I mean, can you imagine? Beyond “just” the necessity to stay within your house’s walls to prevent complications, her disease was not a friendly one. She hurt. Intensely. There were no “normal” days, as her disease was never absolutely silent.
But Sara did not choose this path.
Sara chose joy. She deliberately, intentionally, willfully chose joy. She took her circumstance and used it to build a platform of encouragement. She ministered to others as she proclaimed God’s goodness and faithfulness. She found new ways to deeply connect to people. She cared for and supported her friends. She was grateful. Loving. Sincere.
She did not define herself a prisoner of her life – even in her last post, she shared that her definition of home was in the hearts of people, not in the four walls that enclosed her.
Sara passed away last night.
She’s rejoicing with our Faithful Father now, free of pain and free to roam the streets of gold without worry.
Oh, how her friends, those who have known her along the way, grieve for her. Yet even in their mourning, one thread runs through every post, every comment – because of Sara, they choose joy. Even in the hurt of losing a precious friend, Sara has taught every one how to choose joy no matter what.
How deeply that convicts me.
I know they say you’re not “supposed” to compare, but really, how can you keep from it sometimes? Seriously. What do I have that is possibly worth complaining about when I consider how much this mighty soul accomplished in the face of crippling circumstances – and all in a spirit of love and joy??
A single thread.
We all hang on by it at different times.
Sometimes we choose hold tightly to that thread and try to hide behind it.
Sometimes, like my friend, we choose to pray our way through it.
Sometimes, like Sara, we choose joy. Simple, trusting joy.
Weaving that single thread in and out of the lives of others – where all those threads together begin to create a beautiful fabric of support, caring, and trust.
Oh, may I be more like my friend and Sara. Inspiring faith. Genuine joy.