Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Phil 3:8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.
Some dream of the home in the country surrounded by a white picket fence...
I had a white picket fence life. Not like the one in movies or hallmark card commercials. My "new normal" life began early on..I didn't grow up in a family that appeared on the outside to have it all together. I think it was obvious to most that our family was not "perfect." An alcoholic father who spent most of his time out in our garage drinking beer by the case. Yes, there were relatives who didn't believe he was an alcoholic because he only drank beer and not the "hard" stuff. But, the devastation on our family was clear no matter what it was he was drinking. I was born on a Saturday...we work hard for a living and I believed early on that this was the life I was destined to...not a dreamer but a realist. I was not destined for a white picket fence kind of life.
But I did have a white picket fence that I held dear. It was the one that defined the space around my baby Evan's cemetery site. It was that picket fence that drew me to the site in the first place many years ago...when we were told that it was time to start making plans for the funeral of our daughter McKenna, 18 years ago. And when she lived instead of dying, I would walk through the cemetery over the years giving thanks. And then almost 4 years ago, with the death of our baby Evan, we came back to the place where the babies were laid. Evan was buried just a few feet away from the plot we had chosen for McKenna many years before.
We had looked at other possible cemeteries for the impending burial site. Some were just too close to the busy highway, some too impersonal in a never ending sea of lost loved ones. But, when we drove up to this place...there was just something about the small little area that held just babies and young children that drew us in. It was at the back of the cemetery in my home town. It was a place where I felt connected to other parents who found themselves burying a precious child. There was a garden arbor with a gate that became the entrance to our reality...surrounded by the white picket fence that in began to take on meaning. My white picket fence was at the cemetery...the irony of that somehow fit my life.
And now it is gone. They removed the fence this spring. They didn't ask us. They didn't have to. They didn't know what that fence meant to me..what comfort it gave me. Easier I am sure to maintain the cemetery lawn..But, that fence is why we laid you there, Evan. It felt so protected, so peaceful, so homey...and now it is gone and once again I am forced to face the harsh reality of your death.
How odd it is that as a follower of Jesus Christ, I firmly profess to believe in the certain unfathomable joy of heaven...to live for eternity in the presence of God and yet I found some peace in knowing that my baby was "resting" safely in the confines of a picket fence? How easy it is to seek comfort in the stuff of this life. God must grieve over the ridiculousness of this in my life.
This world is so full of illusion. That picket fence was an illusion that I held dear. And as all illusions, it was taken away just as easily as it appeared in the reality of my own grieving mind.
Today, I say good bye to my picket fence..with a heart of thankfulness that God continues to reveal to me those things in my life that get in the way of looking only to Him for my comfort and my security. To the one who will be the same--yesterday, today and forever.
So, when I visit the cemetery, I will grieve and I will rejoice. My heart will always ache for my little boy.. but I will rejoice with renewed focus--my little boy is in the presence of our great and mighty God...free from the world of illusion that sells the reality of our faith so very, very short.
at 10:43 PM