Friday, September 6, 2013

When The Flowers Have Wilted and The Leaves Have Dried....

When you're in the midst of a tragedy do you ever feel betrayed that the world doesn't recognize? Even if it's just for 5 minutes. Do you sometimes wish you could flip a switch and stop the world with it's hustle an bustle so it can  surround you in your sorrow or heartbreak or whatever it may be?
  It's times like these as Christians we rally around each other because it's the CHRISTIAN thing to do. Our Christian Duty.  Hopefully we also do it because it's the HUMANE thing to do.

During those immediate times  we gather together for support and strength. Bringing meals, sending cards and donations and flowers.  We rally around for a week or two with "If there's anything I can do or if you need me call me."  as our theme. 
  After a week or two we get back to our own lives and allow them to try and get back into theirs. 
  Getting back to a routine helps to bring back the normality.   Getting dressed, going to work, socializing with co-workers keeps our minds and bodies busy as we slowly heal.  We find ways to fill our days so we can feel again. We appreciate and depend on those who surround us. 

What happens in the weeks and months to come.  Do you often feel yourself 2 or 3 months down the road into a relapse saying to yourself 
 "where is everyone? I still need your strength and support..." 
 Only to find that the world is now over it, and why aren't you?
You look around and find yourself alone, lonely and wondering if you'll ever stop hurting. And try and focus back on the time when you were surrounded by people and cards and Tupperware after Tupperware of Lasagna and chicken and rice casseroles.   You look on the shelf and notice the beautiful bright cheery flowers have wilted and the leaves have dried and fallen off the stem.
    You can see the beauty of them and their previous existence. The memory of what they used to be pales in comparison to the realty of what they have become. You could create something beautiful with it but the truth is your inventory of time, energy and creativity is in short supply and you can't find your reserves. 

When those we care about have an immediate need we often rush to their side and bombard them with support.  We make the time to care and comfort. 6 months later where are we in our caring? Do we visit often? Make a phone call or extend and invitation to get away from it all? Or as we wondering if we'll ever get that favorite piece of Tupperware back? Are we avoiding those calls that turn into 2 hour depressing conversation where you basically want to tell someone to "get over it and get on with life?" Because you have things to do and places to go and people to see?

 As we all go through this life together I think it would be fitting for us to not just remember those who are going through hard times but to reach out to them...after the flowers have wilted and the leaves have dried. How often to we think of others but never let them know? Only to find out they've been struggling and could have used some support. How often have you been on the other end of recognizing you could fulfill a need, hand you only taken the time to recognize there was a need to be filled.   Are their times when you've marketed the burden or pawned and pimped it off on someone else because you've been too busy or unwilling to help carry it? 
   I'm often reminded of a church meeting from long ago where a sister stood up and mentioned how she prays everyday for the homeless people in the park w/o food or shelter.  Sometimes all we can do is pray. 
 I recall saying, 
"Prayer is great. It's a beautiful thing. But there are times when it just may not be enough.  Sometimes we have to be the answer to the prayer we're offering up."   

  We need to be the blessing in the lives of others.   When I say be a blessing i don't mean that in arrogance. I mean there are things people in the community need and in some ways I can provide that need.  Because I have been given much, I too, must give.  I believe these days it's called "Paying it Forward."    Often times we use Prayer as a crutch or an alternative to service. Imagine how the World could be if , with each prayer, there was an intent to somehow act upon it? 

I hope we will often consider using these hands:


like these hands.

A good friend walks in when others walk out.   A good friends arrives when others have left and their need to feel important has gone with them. 

   I leave you with one of my favorite quotes
Marjorie Pay HinckleyI don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.

I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.
I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children.
I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden.
I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.
I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.”

― Marjorie Pay Hinckley

Be the one to show up after the flowers have wilted and the leave have dried.

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