Sunday, November 13, 2011

shadow places

It's been a busy week. I spent a couple of days in Southern Minnesota with my husband's sister as she struggles with enormous burdens and fears. She is overwhelmed with questions that none of us want to face.

When do I let go of the care of my dear one? When do I acknowledge my limits and release him into the care of others? What happened to the dreams I had of the way my life would be today? Who am I in this shadow place?

As I've begun to take stock of my life, I recognize that as much as I plan and hope and work towards a particular place in the world, there is so much that I cannot predict or control. There is a quote from Isak Dinesen in the movie Out of Africa: "God made the world round so we would never be able to see too far down the road." It's a mercy, this roundness of the world. I think for some of us, if we could see too far it might siphon our will to live.

Today, I am planting my feet in the soil of the present. I am tending to the fragrant garden of my loves and letting go ahead of time of anything that would distract me from the eternal. I am breathing in the scent of my grandchild when he rests his head on my shoulder and allows heavy lids to lead him to a dreamless sleep. I am kissing my husband on his cheek and filing away in memory what his body feels like when I reach up to hold him. I am listening to the sounds of laughter and weeping and everything in between and welcoming it all with tenderness and attention.

I am whispering my fear and love to God in the dark as the road curves ahead of me. I don't know what shadows are there. I only know that night is sweeter when there is company and even the dimmest of candles.


  1. My goodness, but this is beautiful. Tears are in my eyes over here.

    I often say that I'm not afraid of growing old. I look forward to the wisdom of carrying 60 years of life in my body and heart and mind. I'm annoyed by the occasional gray hair because I'd rather my hair be either all brown or all gray, none of this one by one stuff.

    But the thought that scares me the most of any thought is ever having to live my life without Kirk in it with me. The thought of losing him one that makes me shudder and tears come to my eyes, and I avoid that thought as much as I can with an iron will.

    I know if that time ever comes, God will give me the grace to bear it as I need to. And thankfully, I don't have to try and prepare myself for that moment because, really, how can we ever prepare?

    And so I will take your words to heart and continue living in the present moment, being thankful for what is here and voicing my fears to God when they rise up to meet me.

  2. I agree, this is beautiful! I live in the middle of trying not to be buried in the anxiety of what could happen to trying to enjoy every moment & be present in the present of life. Kids do help because they are really good at living in the present.

  3. Spectacular, Terri - I love this. I hear your and Christianne's words, and I feel them. I think, sometimes, how Dave will probably leave before me, just based on our ages, and what those days will be like. But God will be there, as he's here. Lovely, Terri!

  4. your writing is truly magical. it soothes and heals. it says what must have always wanted to be said.

    every day i struggle to be present. i do not want to forget any of these moments, even the difficult ones. you remind me so perfectly to carry on in this. xoxo

  5. thank you friends. we've had some sadness here, but also those moments that are so precious and rare when you see clearly what it means to love.

    i love that you women are here listening with me.

  6. Terri

    I'm not one of the women listening in, but I am one of those who found this truly beautiful.

    Thanks for sharing this part of yourself, and for the reminder to live fully in every moment. I find this easy to forget and hard to do at moments like these when I'm once again at an airport waiting to fly away from my family for a few days.

  7. hi dean. thank you for listening and for taking the time to surface here. sorry you're leaving your family. those trips are torture, especially if they're frequent. hope you get lots of good time with them when you return.

  8. You speak to my heart. Thank you my friend.

  9. I was watching the documentary tonight about Gabrielle Gifford and her remarkable recovery, and for the longest time she wasn't told that others died the day she was shot....a mercy extended to her. I think you're right about how knowing too much might suck the life out of us. Learning to trust isn't comfortable, but it beats the alternative every time.

  10. hi maithri. that was really sweet of you to link to this. :)

  11. cheryl: how terrible for her to discover this. scary world out there. mercy is good.

  12. this brought tears to my eyes as well. thanks for these thoughtful words. :)