Monday, June 30, 2014

When the Voice Becomes an Echo

I can't hear her voice anymore.

When my grandma died, I replayed her saying my name over and over again as if hearing her one more time would lessen the pain, would bring her back. Maybe I just didn't want to forget.

But now, 14 years later, it's silent. I see her in pictures but the voice is gone. Her house is still so real to me, even down to the smells. But the voice is gone and I feel somehow removed from even knowing her by not being able to hear her.

A person's particular sound is an interesting thing. My twins are identical, but their voices betray their identity. We can pick up on emotions or lack thereof by the subtle changes of a voice. It's the telltale sign that a boy is becoming a man when his voice changes.

Oh, how we take the sound of someone's voice for granted.

Right now, a man who, over the last decade, I have learned to love, admire, and appreciate is dying. Cancer is taking his life. Minute by minute he's growing weaker and is only a shell of the man he was even six months ago. His words are silent as he is pumped with morphine for nothing more than comfort from the rages of the disease.  When I kissed his head yesterday, I knew I would never again hear him utter my name. I will never again hear him yell at the TV when his beloved Yankees are losing. I will never again hear him tell my children how much Papa Jesse loves them.

So may memories and yet I can only retain snippets of his voice. The way he would say, "Hey Sweetie," when I'd walk in the door. Or the way he'd call his grown son "honey," which I always found amusing, but so Jesse. I hear him calling out to his granddaughter (who happens to be a 110 pound chocolate lab). I smile I hear him reminding me again and again to call and let them know I've gotten home safely. I can hear him pray to a God who will soon welcome him through the gates of Heaven. Leaving us here, wounded, broken and ever vocal in our weeping.

Though I knew this time would come eventually, it's come too soon. I'm trying to grasp the reality of it all and though he was not my father, I him as one. I'm desperately trying to recall conversations so I can bury his sweet voice in my brain only to retrieve it when I'm lonely for him. Which will be often.

As I sit in the quiet of the day, I can hear him. I want to hear him. I don't want to let him go. I don't want his voice to fade into nothingness. So while I can, I remember. I hear. I smile and I mourn. I pray the voice, his voice, will always ring loud in my ears.

Friday, June 27, 2014


I hear the voice speaking so clear and so strong.
“My Grace is sufficient.”
But I choose to argue.
It doesn’t feel sufficient.
When the house is a mess. When the kids are wild.  When the bank account is empty. When my life seems not enough and yet too much.
Grace does not feel sufficient.
“My child, the air you breathe cannot be felt, but does that negate the truth of it?”
“No, but…”

I have no answer.
Sufficient is defined as “enough to meet the needs of a situation.”
In this age of excess and indulgence can we recognize what is sufficient? Can we stop and be ok with enough? Not too much, not too little, just enough.
What is enough? God’s grace is.

God’s grace is always enough to meet the needs of the situation. Whatever your needs, my needs are, He's got it. Not too much, not too little, just enough.
But then again, it doesn’t feel enough. I want to feel His grace changing me and changing the kids and changing my situation. I want to put His grace in a box I can control and manage and dish out as I see fit.
 But God doesn’t work like that. Plus, his grace doesn’t always bring change in the situation as much as it brings change to an attitude or a thought or perhaps there’s no change at all, but the mere acceptance of His holy presence is enough to provide peace while the storm rages.
It is sufficient. 
I can’t always feel the love of my children; does that mean they don’t love me? I can’t always feel the warmth of the sun. Has it refused to shine? I can’t feel the earth as it turns under my feet. Did it stop?
At some point truth has to overcome feelings. In our time of multisensory, attention grabbing excess what we feel and what we know to be true aren’t always one and the same.
Truth is God’s Word. Truth is the voice in the chaos reminding me that His Grace IS Sufficient. Truth is messy and beautiful and scary and overwhelming. And God’s grace will meet all needs. We are limited and small. He is all. He is the beginning and the End. What is happening in our corner of the world is not foreign to Him; He sees our struggles and our insecurities and He is very present to help.
The question becomes will we choose to believe the truth over the noise? Will we choose truth over fear? Will we allow the still small voice to invade our very marrow?
Because the truth is that God’s grace is enough. It is enough when life seems too much. It is enough when life seems to be lacking. It is enough.
God’s grace is sufficient. It is enough.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9

Friday, June 20, 2014

Come Home

The land is calling to me. Its voice has been growing louder as the confines of the city have begun to strangulate. Blocks and boundaries have started to feel like balls and chains.

Normally, the call of mountains and rushing rivers beg my ear to listen, but of late, the murmur of the prairies grow louder.

In the waving of the corn, I hear it.

“Come home.”

In the blue sky that goes on for miles.

“Come home.”

In the rich, black soil that so readily nourishes the crops.

“Come home.”

In sunsets that are saturated in reds and purples and deep oranges, I hear it calling.

“Come home.”

In the rolling thunder as it pours over the prairie.

“Come home.”

My soul longs for a place as wide as imagination. My heart yearns for a parcel of land that is just mine, but then again, you can never really own the land - the land owns you.

The land calls to me as it called to my ancestors who have lived off of it for generations. Some people aren’t meant for cubicles and mile-high real estate. Some souls aren’t meant for city blocks and harsh pavement.

I can hear it in the lonely silence of the night and in the howl of the coyote.

I hear it whispering in my prayers.

“Come home.”

Monday, June 9, 2014

What Are You Missing?

I love my cell phone.

I love texting and Facebook and geocaching apps. I love mobile coupons and paying for my coffee with the scan of a screen. I love the tidiness of it all and yet I love how far the capabilities of my phone can reach.

Then it was stolen.

My darling little black phone with the worn FFA sticker on the back was gone. And so was the ridiculously expensive waterproof case (my phones have the propensity to go swimming). Suddenly 1985 didn't seem that distant as the landline with the cord was now my only connection to the outside world.

Without the vital piece of technology I was afraid of how much I'd miss. I was worried I'd now become a hermit, devoid of human contact.

But instead I became PRESENT for my children and my husband. My attention was no longer divided between an "important" text and the call from my kids to do a puzzle. Conversations happened. Books were opened-REAL books- and consequently devoured. Mother's day was spent on the porch playing basketball and eating snacks and building LEGO's and never once did I say, "Hold on, honey. Mommy needs to answer this." Because I didn't, and frankly very few texts are of the "NEED to answer this" nature. Facebook seemed a lot less important and a lot more fake.

I was also ignored. At times, I was the only one at the table who was looking up. I stopped talking mid-sentence to see that my companions were both on their phones, not listening to me at all. I left the room and no one noticed. I have a couple hundred "friends," yet only two called me at home after the cell was taken.

What are you missing by turning off and tuning in? I can tell you it's a lot less than what you're missing by living a life in social isolation with only Facebook friends and Twitter followers to keep you company. When Siri is considered a fantastic conversationalist, it might be time to unplug for awhile.

I'm not against technology. It totally has its uses and I'm looking forward to having a phone again, but I will not be a slave to it, or social media, or really cool apps.

I will turn it off. Sign out. Log off.

Will you?

What are you missing?