Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Letter to My Siblings

Let me begin by saying I love you. I love you unconditionally and unequivocally. No one has the power to choose family; but if I could, I would have chosen you. I think you are remarkable, amazing, gifted, brilliant, funny and fun. You are my brothers and my sister, my blood, and I love you very much. I am far from being a perfect sister. (But then again I don’t have to tell you that, do I?) At any rate, though not faultless, you can know with certainty that I have a flawless love for each of you. I would fight for you, defend you, stick my neck out for you, take a loss for you…. I don’t always say the right thing or do the right thing, but I want you to know that my heart is right toward you.

How do I explain this next part???

I have experienced such incredible pain over the past two years that at times I thought my heart would really and truly break in half. And yet…I’ve experienced a level of grace that is equally as deep. How can I have grief and joy at the same time? I’m sure I don’t know. My emotions have reached highs and lows that I never imagined possible. And through those moments, I have grown. God has done--and is still doing--an extraordinary work in my life. I can’t explain it. It’s like everything goes through a different filter now. I guess my perspective has been morphed into something unexpected yet wonderful.

As much as I wish this weren’t true, I know that in the future there will be times when I will hurt your feelings. I'll say or do something that will cut you to the quick. Words are such a double-edged sword. They can wound or heal. They are arrows that can pierce or liberate. And I pray that the words I speak to you will always bring healing and freedom. But can I just go ahead right now and say “I’m sorry” for the things I am sure to say that will not? Is there such a thing as “pre-forgiveness”? If there is, I’m asking for it. I’m asking for it because I know I will need it, as will you. And just so you know, I’ve already forgiven you for anything you might ever do to hurt me. Forgiveness brings healing. It brings freedom. And I choose forgiveness.

The past is something we don’t have the power to change. And should we if we could? It has molded us into who we are. The road we’ve traveled until now has shaped our character. It has forced us to make choices. It has offered us heartaches and adventures. It has challenged us and stretched us. And as I look back over my shoulder at where I’ve been, I have a tear and a smile. The three of you are there, making me laugh and cry. I’m so glad you are there.

The future is right out there somewhere…“the unknown”…daring us to enter. Challenges, choices, heartaches and adventures…. They’re all up there, too. I know I won’t always make the right choices, but I’m hopeful. I’m terrified and excited. I’m shaking with fear and trembling with excitement. I’m anxious and confident. Grab my arm so we can walk together. Then maybe it won’t be so scary. Then we can lean on each other if we get tired or all laugh when it’s fun.

In case I haven’t said it lately, thanks for making me laugh and for propping me up when I was exhausted. You have brought much joy into my life and I LOVE YOU.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

How I Miss That

When my husband and I first started dating, he would hold my hand so tightly that my fingers would go numb. Seriously! He was always holding my hand, even if we were just walking around inside a store or riding along in the car. After several minutes I would unhinge his fingers from mine, shake some blood back into them, and then give him my hand again, smiling.

This trend didn't slow down one iota even after we got married. Oh, no! Hand holding was just something we did--all the time. And no matter how many times I would laugh at him and say, "You're squeezing them too hard!", he never got it. He just loved holding--squeezing--my hand.

I was just thinking the other night about how much I miss that....

You see, two years ago, he was in an accident at the oil refinery where he worked. His job was to climb 123 of those huge tanks (the big white ones with the winding staircases that go around the sides) and gauge their oil levels. That fateful morning, he climbed to the top of a 36 foot tank, opened the hatch, leaned over, and took a deep breath of nitrogen gas--something that shouldn't have been there. He immediately passed out and fell headlong 26 feet down the ladder. When he woke a few minutes later, he didn't realize that he was already paralyzed from the chest down.

It's been 812 days since he grabbed my hand and squeezed my fingers until they got numb. How I miss that....