Sunday, November 6, 2011
The Anniversary of Giving and Taking Away
I don't know how to start. Some moments I feel overcome with grief for what day it is: the 5th anniversary of my mother's death. The day my world stopped turning and spun out of control for many years. And then last year - on this day - I spun into the Lord's embrace and there have I nestled myself happily and gratefully. And yet some moments I rant and rail against God, asking him why? Why did He have to take my mother, my best friend, away from me? Look at what happened to me two years after her death: I got married and became a stepmother of three. So much happened in my life that she was not a part of.
Last night while sitting in the passenger side of the car, head leaning against the cold window with eyes searching the stars and moon above, I listened to the new Casting Crowns CD,"Come to the Well" and I was in an angry place. I wanted my Mom. I wanted her not just alive, I wanted her right next to me, holding me. I wanted to talk to her, to hear her voice, I wanted to feel her arms around me. And I was angry.
Then I remembered what I had heard in a Beth Moore Bible Study on the Book of Esther. She talked about "reversal of destiny." or peripeteia which is a fancy way of saying reversal of fortune - that is to say, a literary device and concept of a turning point, a change of circumstances. There are plenty of people in the Bible who have had reversals of destiny. Actually, that is what a lot God's Word is: the lowly, the least-deserving or the least-expected people turning out to reach the highest heights, become the greatest people, the wisest, the strongest. In the book of Esther, it was Esther, herself, who started out as the Jew, Hadassah, who rose in status to be the Queen of Persia. Such an "ironic" or upside-down turn of events is an example of "reversal of destiny."
I asked myself: what was my "reversal of destiny?" What became ironic in my life - born from tragedy which turned into something benefiting me or others?
I struggled with figuring this out until last night in the car, looking up at the sky. As I was venting to God how unfair it was that my mother was no longer with me, I began to feel a calm settle over my body. My mind stayed on thoughts of my mother, then drifted to thoughts of my stepchildren. And that's when the pivotal phrase hit me:
A mother mothering without a mother.
How ironic. What a tragedy turned into a blessing. Blessing, you ask? I often don't think so, but my stepchildren are in full-time care of Husband and I because of an emergency situation that happened in their lives and thank God Husband and I had a stable home and life. It has been nothing short of total chaos trying to manage a life which includes a (fairly) new family of 3 kids plus husband...but I'm doing it.
And I know you probably don't understand this because you didn't know the dynamic between my mother and me, but I think I would not be as effective a stepmother if my own mother, though much loved, was still alive. Oh, of course I long for Mom to know my family, but for some reason, God thought it would be better for me to go at this without her earthly presence.
I don't pretend to know the mind of God, nor do I wish to. But this realization gave me some purpose for Mom's passing. And whether or not I am right about the "reversal of destiny" and my place in it, whether or not it makes sense to you or to me, it brings me a certain sense of calm and peace and on this day of days, the 5th year of her passing, I think that's a fine thing to think.
I'll leave you with this verse from Psalm 30:11:
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;
I hope to feel that way some of the time. I say some because I know I will grieve, I will hurt. But I know the Lord makes all things new, that He loves and guides...
and in coming to Him, I have been made free (mostly, because hey, I'm human) of this anger at her death.
I hope the verse comforts and inspires you.
And I'm curious. What do you think about "reversal of destiny?" Google it. Wiki it. Look up what Beth Moore has to say about it. And get back to me.
Happy All Saint's Day, as celebrated in my Lutheran Church today.
And Mom, I love and miss you.