Thursday, October 18, 2012

(be still)

Dark and cold and rainy evening and I am listening to The Fray's Be Still  and trying to formulate thoughts into words

Be still and know that I Am with you

Be still and know that I Am here

I wrote this awesome little quote on my chalkboard wall today:

Stop the glorification of busy.
-author unknown
It stares down at me as I rush by, this thought that busy isn't always good.
I am hiding in the busy, drowning in it, running away from all that I need to slow down and pray through. 
I say no to two separate events today, give way and say yes to the third.
I try to glorify the stillness, but in the stillness is grief and pain.
The stillness and maybe the rain bring thoughts and thoughts bring pain.
Being still means that I have a few q's for God, some things I don't understand, and I think being busy I can just ignore what I'm thinking and throw a few God is goods and thankful for graces (protestant Hail Marys) at the doubts and we'll be good to go.

When darkness comes upon you

And covers you with fear and shame

Be still and know that I Am with you

And I will say your name

The quietness always reveals the gaping hole, the void of our son.

Gabe is a shadow of my imagination these days, all the memories and joy and pain so distant.  Apparently two and a half years is a long time frame.  I can't remember things.  This drives me crazy and I can't even allow my mind to remember what it can't remember. 

But my children, they remember with startling clarity and once again I wonder if they're okay.

I sit on the front porch with Jacob and a few of his buddies.  They are crouched on their little haunches, little boy style, talking about nothing and everything. 

Jacob, matter-of fact: "My little brother died in my bedroom and I know where his bed was and I don't like to be there when I sleep."

I am stunned and panicky and the mama bear in me instantly has our house listed with a SOLD sign on it and I am far away from all this pain, wanting to protect this boy from memories, from death, from fear.

If terror falls upon your bed

And sleep no longer comes

Remember all the words I've said

Be still, be still and know.

I wait, wait to be calm, wait to be rational, and that night up in his room,  I sit on his bed and rub his little boy back, feel his bristly short hair that won't grow long the way he wants it to, pray for the words that I should say, pray to listen.

Hey, I heard you say you remember that Gabe died in here.  Can you talk to me about that? Cuz I remember too.

He rolls over. 

Yeah, I just know it, Mom.

I cringe.  Do you want to trade bedrooms? I would do anything, anything to take away a little pain from anyone here; these walls have seen too many tears.

Well. . . I don't know, I like having a big room, you know, with my stuff, and my desk. . . he trails off.  The materialism in him is winning over his memories. Unbelievable.  Maybe this isn't all as deep and crushing as it initially sounded.

I relax a little.  Well, we can always trade around bedrooms.  I don't want you to be scared.  Really.

He sits up a little, his big brown eyes serious.  Well, yes, I am scared because sometimes I do think there are rattlesnakes in here. 

I want to laugh and cry.  He just needs to relay facts, hear truth, be loved, be secure.  He needs to say that his brother died.  He needs to read too many westerns and be scared of rattlesnakes.  He is just a boy and he will be okay.

I think.

When you go through the valley

And shadow comes down from the hill

If morning never comes to be

Be still, be still, be still

My sister Elizabeth and I are sweating and fuming and vowing to never touch peel and stick linoleum squares ever again in a basement bathroom, snapping chalklines and using squares and still having problems and then Mom calls, with Cambria on the other end of the phone for me. 

She has long endless details about the bike ride Mom took her for and Grandma pushed Eli in the stroller and I waited for her at the corners

and then we went to see Gabe, Mom, I showed Grandma where to go cuz I know how to get there and I rode my bike and showed Grandma.  And we were there with Eli and I looked up and Grandma was crying not really loud, just a little.  And then I cried, too, Mom.

I left the linoleum squares.

And then Grandma prayed, Mom, and she asked me if I wanted to pray too and I said yes.  So we both prayed there. 

I bless my mom for loving my daughter and walking her through this moment.  I don't know what to say.  I feel far away even though I'm just across town and the phone between us amplifies the loss because I want to reach out an hug her little warm self and take the pain away.

And in the middle of my busy-running, in the middle of the pain-burying, our precious Eli turns one and I realize the enormous amount of healing and relief he has brought to our home.

In true over-busy style I buy him a cake from the Walmart deli case and we put a little blue candle in it and watch his little face in the glow of the flame;  I'm struck by the fact that I don't have a driving need to make his first birthday perfect, like I did for Gabe. 

Because he's here.  He doesn't care about the perfect cupcakes, and I don't either, because I can kiss his bald little head and pinch his solid little legs and chase him all over the house and out of messes, all day long. 

I thank God for him, this little Eli David constantly.  I try not to hold him too tight.  I teach him "no" and "obey" and Cambria and I roll with laughter when he learns to hokey-pokey.

I think of a paragraph in a book I never finished once I found that the grieving father's young son returns as a ghost;  (I don't need any additional weird thoughts in my head)

Mark sat back down on the stool, his heart beating too fast.  For the second time that day, he wondered how on earth he'd managed to become the person he was: a man who felt like weeping whenever someone he loved left the room.
You Came Back, by Christopher Coake, ch.2, pg.15 

If you forget the way to go

And lose where you came from

If no ones standing beside you

Be still and know I Am

Be still and know that I am God, He says to me.  All the answers are not here, but He is.

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.

After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.

After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.

And after the fire came a gentle whisper. {1 Kings 19:11-13}

He was there, in the stillness.

Be still and know that I Am with you

Be still and know I Am.

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