Thursday, July 05, 2018

Spiritual Journey First Thursday: Halfway Through

Doraine is hosting Spiritual Journey First Thursday this month, and she's asked us to reflect on the year so far, since we're now officially halfway through 2018. When I first saw the topic, I thought what a good one it was, but the more I think about it, the more I feel sad.

My OLW for 2018 is ENOUGH.  In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul wrote: "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." In that spirit, let me boast that I'm very weak in the ENOUGH department at this moment, as I get ready to head southwards after two weeks with my daughter in the midwest. I am so blessed in my life, and I have so many reasons for gratitude, but the goodbyes kill me every time. When I'm here, I miss my husband and son at home, and when I'm there, I miss my daughter here, and there are always friends and family to miss wherever I am.  Several of my closest friends in Haiti have moved away during the past couple of years. The news doesn't help, as I watch families separated and think about tiny children not knowing where their parents are, not knowing when they will see them again. The world is a sad place sometimes. It seems that perhaps a better choice for an OLW this year would have been GOODBYE. 

Please don't tell me goodbyes bring hellos. I know that, but right now I'm not feeling it.  


I love the picture Sara Groves paints in this song, a place and time when everyone we love is together, where there are no goodbyes and no separations. In this life we get brief tastes of that, brief moments.  I'm trying to focus on every moment, every blessing, every piece of goodness in my life, to turn toward the hellos and find ways to make them be ENOUGH in this second half of 2018. But what I mostly need, and what I know will be ENOUGH for me, is God's grace, which has always been there, and will keep being there.  His power is made perfect in my weakness.
You can see what other people have written on this topic here


Linda Mitchell said...

Ruth, I was away last week at a service camp with my kids and a bunch of others from my church. So, I'm catching up a bit in my blog reading. I feel the weight of your words. I have no advice or even words of comfort...all I can say is that I feel the times in a say that leaves me sad and a bit panicky. You will be in my thoughts today for the grace you and we all need moment to moment.

Irene Latham said...

Dear Ruth, thinking of you as you wade through the endless sea of goodbyes... I moved A LOT as a kid, and that created in me a strong desire for long-lasting (FOREVER!) friendships, traditions, etc... and what I have learned is it's ALL TEMPORARY. Permanency is a myth! So instead of fighting for it, bemoaning it, I have spent a lot of time learning to be in the moment and appreciate even the most temporal things... and like you said, reframing it as a shift, instead of an end, is helpful and healing. Like how my father is with me all the time, just in a different way than he once was. It doesn't negate any of our experiences, and in fact, I can build on those and be enriched when I think about him and how I can still share my life with him, and his life with the world. It's very strange. And yet I am still overcome with grief sometimes for the things/people I have lost...those goodbyes... and that's okay. Just part of it. (Normalizing it helps me, too!) All this to say: you are loved, you are enough, you are exactly where you need to be. xo

Violet N. said...

Hi Ruth - such a poignant post! The fact that you love many deeply makes life more painful when you’re apart, it seems but, I think, also richer because you have a keen appreciation of the times you spend together and how treasured they are.

If you want to wallow in separation sadness for a little over 4 minutes, have a listen to Fernando Ortega’s “Now That You’re Gone.” This song always grabs me because in it he doesn’t sugarcoat separation or put forth any answers, just laments. I find it cathartic. Maybe you will too:

You are loved by more than your family!

Ramona said...

"The goodbyes kill me every time." This speaks to the love you feel for so many in your life. So glad you have God's grace to see you through the sad times when nothing feels enough. Hugs as you move forward and prayers that you'll feel comfort during this time of goodbyes.

Carol Varsalona said...

Ruth, the song you showcased moved me and then Violet shared another. How beautiful these past 20 minutes have been - so peaceful. Staying in the moment is important so thank you for the interlude of peaceful thinking.

Donna Smith said...

I know. I am there also. As I just wrote that, I felt that those words were not meant to be from me to you. God has a way of speaking to me when I least expect it. He knows. He is there also.
Too many "good-byes" lately - but there have been some very nice "hellos", too. I'm trying to focus on the "hellos" and stay in the middle moment.
Couldn't listen to music. Maybe later. It's all a delicate balance. Sending you a prayer and a hug.

Doraine said...

I appreciate your openness and honesty, Ruth. The goodbyes are always hard. Some more so than others, but all are loss. And every loss deserves to be grieved well. Only then can you look forward to the hellos. I'm glad you can enjoy each moment with those precious ones you are with and love well. May you know the compassion of God's heart for yours with each goodbye.