Saturday, June 21, 2014

GOD OF ASTONISHMENT

Blessed are they who mourn, 
     for they will be comforted.
                                  Matthew 5:4

For most of my life, when I read or heard the Beatitudes, I skipped over this second one.  I didn't want to think about mourning or the reason why I might mourn, and I went on to think about something else (and often not the other Beatitudes, since they are all very challenging to me).

But when I was reading the Gospel which included the Beatitudes recently, that finally caught my attention.  I reflected that God has indeed comforted me since I lost my dear husband, through my children and grandchildren, and through all the friends who have been so wonderful at helping me create a new life that I never would have thought possible.

What struck me, though, was that the flood, which I saw as a disaster, was in actuality, a great grace.  I was required to think and act, to make endless decisions and to move forward whether I thought I was ready to or not, and I now love going into my office in the morning, looking out at my garden, praying, and planning my day.  The gift which was even greater was the growing friendship with my reconstruction agent Marie, who was here usually five days every week, and with her husband Edward, who painted the amazing mural in honor of my husband. When Edward was diagnosed with cancer, I was able to take him to some of the tests, visit him in the hospital after a stroke, and give them both a place to rest on the long journey between the chemo facility and their own home. 
I told them that I felt as if had been given a new sister and brother in the many months since the water heater burst.  It was not anything I ever expected, but it meant that the long empty days that might have overwhelmed me were instead filled with life and hope and laughter.  And so, as Psalm 89 proclaims, "The favors of the Lord I will sing forever; through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness."

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