Slightly Obsessed #039 "Learning to Smile" (Wednesday Devo) by Pamela Thorson on 2013-07-17 14:27:31
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! -Philippians 4:4
We were at the local DIY'er supply store to pick up some insulation for my husband’s shop. We had just attended the funeral of a family friend, and I was preoccupied, still mulling over the sights and sounds of the memorial service.
Although we arrived at the large Lutheran church long before the service began, the main sanctuary was already full. We opted for the balcony instead of the extra seating provided in a side room. The balcony offered a panoramic view of the scene below. Above us, the cathedral ceiling soared to breathy heights.
The organist and pianist played our friend's favorite hymns in magnificent tandem. The pastor was appropriately genial and compassionate. Flowers overflowed the altar next to the urn containing the remains of the beloved wife, mother, aunt, and friend. A smiling portrait sat beside the urn.
But I couldn’t take my eyes off the mourners. At the invitation, friends and family members stood one by one and gave touching remembrances of the woman they loved. They were sad, of course, in losing this dear lady. Something else, though, infused the air, a breathy golden lightness flowing from the faces and the words and the smiles and the tears. I suddenly knew what it was:
This amazing woman faced death with the same smile with which she faced life. She lived her last days as she lived her life, simply and thoroughly soaked in the presence of her God. She enjoyed every day she was given to its fullest. And she trusted God for the rest.
I was lost these thoughts in the cabinet aisle when we ran into another acquaintance of ours, a woman who had recently lost her husband. Her pain was fresh, the emotions raw. The three of us talked for what seemed like forever. I’ve never suffered her loss, but I knew the look of desperation that lined her face and quivered in her voice. I promised to pray for her, amazed at how close the eternal always lurks just below the waterline of our lives.
I've lived the desperation. I understand the pain. But as I sit here this morning, as dawn threatens to chase away the dreary night once again, my mind wanders back to the flowered altar and the joyful portrait of a lovely woman who now beholds the face of her Lord. I yearn to live, like her, smiling at the future.
May God continue to remind us that death has been cheated, that we do not mourn as those who have no hope, and that joy is possible - even expected - for us.
Joy really is a choice, after all. We can dwell on our pain, or we can dance in the rain. For this moment, for today, through the power of the Spirit of Life, I want to be different.
I’m learning to smile.
About Pamela Thorson:
Pamela Thorson is a licensed practical nurse, author, and full-time caregiver. She pioneered in the homeschooling movement from 1982-2006 and authored her first book, Song in the Night, in 2008. She resides in the Northwest with her family.
Slightly Obsessed #192: Heaven Is Calling: Consider Jesus
Some days we can barely hear it. Other days it drives us to our knees. But it’s always there; that persistent tug in our souls. Whether we trudge through our days or chase the stars of fame and fortune, we can’t drown out the cry that sounds silently in the pit of our being, jarring us with its urgency and moving us with its tears.
No matter what you may be going through in life, I want you to know that God's grace is sufficient for you. You may have messed up, you may have failed, you may have gone the wrong direction, you may have gossiped, or much worse, but God wants you to know that it does not define who you are. He does. He and His grace is much more powerful than anything you might have said or done. Grace always shocks. It always amazes, and it always stuns. Grace is what we all need. It's what everyone groping around lost in the darkness needs to know.
Slightly Obsessed #191: You Can Give Others the Gift of Courage
My father lay propped up in the hospital bed, his face ashen against the white sheets. My step-mother and I huddled around him in the cramped space of the progressive care unit in which he was recuperating. He had suffered three heart attacks in the space of one month. None of us had gotten much sleep in the last few days. So far, we had seen little of either the hospitalist in charge of his care or the cardiologist on staff.
Slightly Obsessed #190: A Warbird’s Lesson
On a recent hot July day, we took in an air show in our town. Vintage planes, including a couple of impressive old warbirds, sat majestically on the tarmac for inspection as we darted from wing to wing to find relief from the withering heat.
These planes are still operable, so although some of them were open for people to walk through, the cockpits were off-limits for obvious reasons. No one wanted a tragedy to happen because an unauthorized person tampered with the controls. People who don’t know what they’re doing shouldn’t be in control.
Slightly Obsessed #189: The Calling
The sound must have been a maddening echo that haunted him at first, tormented by the rooster’s crow that mocked his empty proclamation of loyalty. For three days, his faith lay in the grave with the Savior’s body, darkened by the memory of his public desertion.
Slightly Obsessed #188: Freedom
He was shouting “Freedom” as he plowed his car at twenty-one miles an hour into the granite monument engraved with the Ten Commandments.
A video posted on the suspect’s Facebook page depicted the man in his car facing the monument as a women’s voice, presumably on a car radio, asked, “Where do you go when you’re faced with adversity and trials and challenges?”
Release Date: July 28, 2017 Reviewer: Andrew Funderburk Rating: 4 stars
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