Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Now I'm the one doing it

Tuesday was a sunny but windy--I mean windy--day. So windy that to have taken my double stroller out on the wide-open gravel roads, even laden with 75 pounds of toddler and preschooler, would have been taking our safety into our own hands. So, as I had promised my five-year-old a stroller ride before preschool, I donned my running shoes and headed to town to walk instead. I passed a tractor on the way. The girls sang along to the radio. I talked with people in town. I bought milk before heading home. It was all very normal, I was living my life.

On October 30th of 1997 I was sitting at the intersection of two extremely busy streets in Omaha. The sun was shining and the unseasonably early snowfall that covered the ground was glistening. The traffic, undeterred by slushy piles of snow, zoomed along. I looked around me as I waited for my green, and all I saw was people busily going about their business. Some were talking, some were singing, some looked annoyed by traffic, others looked plain bored. And then it hit me. No one knows. No one knows what I am going through right now. The sun came up. The earth is still spinning. These people are still living their lives while mine is laying in a pile of rubble back at the hospital. Everyone is still living life.

And it seemed desperately unfair.

I was driving between my parent's house and the hospital where my newborn triplet sons lay. Tyler and Ben were just 9 days old, and between them they totaled just over three pounds. Born extremely prematurely, they were barely clinging to life, and their brother Joshua had died three days earlier. I was living a nightmare, not knowing why this could have happened to me. Racked with Mommy guilt about what I may have done wrong, and what I should have done better, I was planning a funeral while getting a crash course on hospital terminology and pumping breast milk for the babes I still had, each of whom only had a 50% chance of survival themselves. I was as broken as I have ever been. And it was at that moment that I realized that life goes on. Everyone else was still living. The world did not shut down due to my grief. As badly as I may have wanted everyone to freeze in their tracks until I caught my breath, they didn't.

Now I'm the one doing it.

A dear woman, a Mom, 32-years young, full of energy, enthusiasm, beauty, and love, lost her battle with cancer Tuesday and was called Home. Her name was Carrie. A whole town is grieving Carrie's loss, grieving for her husband, and grieving for their children. A whole town feels helpless. And yet, life is going on.

On the warm and windy Tuesday of this week, I took a walk. It was no one other than God Himself who led me to my drawer of rarely-worn tee shirts first thing that morning, to pull out my "Footsteps in Faith" shirt, the ones made for Carrie's benefit two years ago. It was no one other than God Himself who spurred my daughter to beg me for a stroller ride that ultra-windy morning, an activity I have shared with Carrie many times in my life. It was no one other than God Himself who ordained me to offer that walk, just two hours after her death, as a humble tribute to the energetic soul just passed. I lived my life Tuesday, even though a nearby family's life was laying in rubble.

Now I am the one doing it, and it seems desperately unfair.

I have no amazing words of wisdom. I am not the leading authority on death and grief. I am merely reminded that God is in control. Even when we feel like we are spinning out of control, He is still in control. Laura said to me on the sidewalk that morning that God comforted her with a song on the radio. Wendy proclaimed in the drug store four hours after her death that Carrie had met God already. Everyone is walking around searching to find God's hand in this situation, and I pray they are finding it. God is in control. He is not failing to notice. He is holding this world that will keep spinning, the sun that will keep shining, and the lives we will keep living.

He wants us to be the ones doing it.

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace."
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

In loving memory of Carrie.


grandpa27 said...

Shelly -- What an inspiration !!! Your blog is amazing. It lifts my spirit, strengthens my faith, and inspires me every time I read it. I Love it. Thank you, thank you.

Jen Carey said...

I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your friend Carrie. It sounds like your community showed a great deal of support and love to her and I hope that you'll find comfort in knowing she's in heaven.

Tracy Bonacci said...

To my GPPP7 Prayer Partner Shelly,
My heart goes out to you at your great loss of your friend Carrie, and for her family. I will prayer for all of you.
A friend from work asked me to help her find scriptural passages for her to read at her father's funeral. One of those passages I chose was the same one you wrote at the bottom of Carrie's story. ECCLESIASTES 3 V1-8.

Please also read PSALM 139 v 1-19
O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you
are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.
You hem me in- behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; If I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them. Were I to count them, the would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.

Praise be to God. Take comfort in knowing your dear friend is in Paradise, and God will provide for those dear ones left behind.