I know buttercups are out of season right now – the exact opposite season – but for us – it is a time for things on the back of the family farm, like buttercups, ancient headstones from long, long ago, worn paths from the cows, the tractors and wagons and feet that made its way from one end of the farm to the other – paths of a life-time.
My sister-in-law, my husband’s twin, who lived in the little house on the edge of the buttercup field, sneaked out on us all Saturday, sneaked out to soar to heaven.
Of the two, she was born first; together the two weighed the same as my first-born son – over 9 lbs. We worked together after I married her brother at the local newspaper. She was the photographer. I am sure it is because of her, I filled the job opening to type the AP stories that came over the wire and wrote movie reviews and local interest stories . She not only took the photos, she developed them. Her most prized photo was of Bishop Desmond Tutu when he visited EKU. She was a can-do girl. I don’t think there was a job she couldn’t or wouldn’t do.
She never met a stranger, handled conversation diplomaticly, never ran down anyone, never blamed anyone – and she had the ability to make a room light up when she entered it. That can be a tough gig – room-lighting. People come to expect it – family, friends, acquaintances—even on the days when you feel there’s no light left in you. Compassionate, she’s been known to give food to the man on the side street holding a sign asking for help – even if that food took the last few dollars for the week – she would do that for anyone who needed it. Like her mom, her heart was compassion designed to help people and felt the most fulfilled when she did.
She loved tennis, raising chickens, rabbits – and three of my very favorite nephews – all close in age to 3 of mine – and all three of her sons honor her with their work ethic and their loyalty and faithfulness to each other. She lived the family traits of loyalty and faithfulness. When we moved back to my husband’s hometown for two years, a few of my sons spent quality time with her – 5 minute or two hour quality time – and they gained because of it – either through her laughter or the insight of life she shared with them – and in those conversations, she was always loyal and faithful, guiding them how she knew her brother would want them guided.
We all have baggage in life that weighs us down – some we pick up ourselves; some is handed to us – some we manage to let go of, some we learn to hand over to the Father – and some we can’t manage to drop until we cross over to the other side – but when we arrive on the other side, the heaven side – all that baggage just unsticks itself from our souls and drops right off – enabling us to shine as designed. I think she’s doing that now – shining in the beautiful place.
Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted (Matthew 5:4)
That they feel His strong hands holding them, guiding each heart through learning to live the day without her, that His Holy Spirit sweep out things not of Him in this grieving to living process – and usher through the windows, through the doors, with each footstep ” things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse” (Philippians 4:8).
Praying Shaddai fills the empty place in our hearts that this wife, this mother, sister and friend left – and that each heart know – really, really know that you honor their grief – that you keep track of thier sorrow, caring enough to collect each tear in your bottle, each tear recorded in your book (psalm 56:8).
“I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give is not fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27)
Praying for little hearts, like Samuel left at the temple, be filled to over-flowing with you so that instead of brokenness and loss, they live wholeness, blessing and courage.
“Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. in My Father’s house are many mansions” (John 14:1-3)
I remember when my grandmother died. She’d had dementia for years – and when she died, I visualized her abundant spirit freed, like when she was a young girl, racing her horse against the trains at Normandy, KY. I visualize this sweet sister-in-law, like her mother describes her – sitting under the oak tree at the edge of the buttercup field, looking over the family farm, filled with a peace we here cannot grasp yet, laughter spilling out with her brand of humor – because there’s just too much joy inside and it has nowhere else to go.