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"Whatever you think you can do, or believe you can do, begin it, because action has magic, grace, and power in it." Goethe


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Friday’s Five

I’m late filling feeders, but the hummingbirds come anyway. Welcome.

A scarlet tanager appears–my first sighting. Red’s always been my favorite.

The blue heron stomps around by the cypress. Frequently.

Geese are the latest wake up call each morning. The same two.

A Japanese maple is planted in Sam’s memory. It’s in view from the future art room window, not far from our pecan tree and his dad’s cypress.

Living memories. Good things.

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Friday’s Five

On this Good Friday, I’ll reflect on the blessings of life once again. Today, I’m unconcerned with numbering. There will just be words, and there will be more than five, I’m certain.

Even in the darkest days, there is hope. This day illustrates that perfectly. We know the ending. We know better days are coming.

Through the dark walk of grief, Christ is present.
He suffered on this day and He does not allow us to walk alone.
If we call on Him, He answers.

Is there any communion with Christ so telling as the one when we know He does understand, He does know?

Faith. It sustains me like nothing else could. How do people cope through trials and losses without it? I don’t know and don’t want to know.

Messages. God continues to send me people with messages of assurance. It has been overwhelming to consider how different people cross our paths and come back around. Not a coincidence.

Adoration. Nothing gives me as much peace as praying or sitting in silence before the Blessed Sacrament. Nothing.
There is a great gift in that time. To understand it, you have to believe and become one with the Father of us all.
Believing opens you to every gift.
It is true.

Tokens. Nina’s handmade rosary. Chris’s guidance on a pottery bowl. Debbie’s inscribed cross. Michelle’s emailed scripture. Sara’s woven cross from a palm reed.
Thankful for the gifts and the givers.
These people that come and go in our lives are not random. Nothing is random. Every gift leads to another.

These are reminders that God is alive and comforting us through dark times.
Knowing we have that same power to bring light to others when we can.

The text. The lunch invitation. The time we take to offer hope. These are the blessings of life. Don’t dismiss them as ordinary, for without the effort of one another, this walk would be more like Christ’s than we could ever bear. He has sent us strength through His people. Rely on it until you are able to give the same.


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Sunday’s Song: Truths

A couple of years ago, I wrote a poem about grief. It was based on a piece of art by the same title. I thought it was good. After all, I’d known various forms of grief by that time: loss of parents, other close relatives, my best friend.
Sudden as well as expected…I’d witnessed that passing. I’d seen it all.
Well.
Not quite.
There is really nothing to compare to the loss of a spouse. It is as unique a grief as the relationship was.
It is not easy.
It is undeniably the worst loss I’ve experienced. Friends ask me how I am, but I rarely tell them the truth.
If you have experienced it, you know why.

It is a truth that has no words.

No one can help you. You are still left to wake, to function, to survive. And you really do have to do this alone. You learn how.

The best help? Tell the grieving person,
“I’m praying for you.”

Then do it. Really.
Pray without asking. Pray because God puts that person on your heart. Pray because it is the only way to help. To really help.

It helps in ways that are unimaginable.
God does hear. He does listen. He provides the grace for the day.

I’m writing through these days, journaling the fog, the sunlight, the despair, the joy.
Joy?
Knowing this world is temporary.
Thank God.
I’ll see Sam again.
We are not created for this world. We are created for the next one.
We are merely in training.
I am here to tell you, the training is not easy, but on this Palm Sunday, as we enter the holiest week of the year, I can certainly say I have not sweated blood.
The Lord sees my struggles; He knows my thoughts. He alone numbers my days. I am determined to keep asking Him to help me. He has not deserted me yet.
Faith is not a game. It is for real. God continues to amaze me in ways I know are part of a bigger plan. He sends me answers through His people, through His creation, through my willingness to listen. He sends me moments of blessings every single day: so many.

Grief is an undeniable suffering. There is no doubt. But, the truth is that suffering is temporary, too.
Better days are coming. I’ve always said it. I believe it. It is the truth.


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Friday’s Five

The days keep passing. People tell me friends will stop calling, that they’ll get busy and forget. After all, life does go on.

#1 blessing tonight: they have not.
I still receive calls and texts and visits. I’m grateful for the goodness of people.

Grief is complicated. It’s an individual journey. There is no timetable. There is no “right” way.
#2 blessing: I don’t concern myself with what others think. When humans become in charge of numbering my days, I’ll care. I’m doing this the only way I know. Day by day.

That brings me to the gift of time. I need some. Time to get adjusted. To come to terms with the enormity of our loss. Time to settle into a new routine.
#3 blessing: retirement. It was a decision I made unexpectedly, but one that has proven to be a gift in many ways. I’m enjoying the freedom of time to take care of things, to take care of me.

We can’t know the future. After being determined to “stay in the moment” for the past year, I’ve found it’s a pretty good way to live.
#4 blessing: I’m doing what I can do today. Knowing that worry and fear are a waste of time, I try hard to focus on the task at hand. Go from there.

Finally, blessing #5: the gift this week of opportunity.
I’ve had a couple of job offers. Sara and I are planning a May art show. Some volunteer work is also calling my name. So, we’ll see. It’s nice to have options. I’m not rushing to do a thing right now.

Finally, a sixth blessing recently: celebrations. In the midst of grief, March 14, March 23, and April 1 still came rolling in: my Sam’s birthday, Sara’s, then mine. That’s a lot of firsts to acknowledge in quick succession.
But God provided the grace. He always gives us exactly the help we need, even though sometimes it takes a few days to recognize the enormity of that.

I recognize it. I realize it. I’m grateful.