Life Wanderer

“Don’t worry, I’m not lost. I know right where I am.”

Have you ever, at some point in your adult life, had some moment where you look around and think, “How the heck did I wind up here?” I have. I admit it. And I had a similar moment just recently.

I have a four year old who has recently been having some major separation anxiety issues. I don’t mean he just misses me when I’m not there. I’m talking about practically-has-a-complete-emotional-breakdown-if-he-can’t-see-you level of anxiety. If we are at home and I get up off of the couch to go into the kitchen, within 1 to 2 minutes I’ll hear him call for me and say “Where are you?!” He doesn’t like it when he can’t see us, which means school is also difficult now. A couple of weeks ago I was dropping him off in the morning and he said he didn’t want to go to school, which is SO not like him. When I asked him why not, he said, “Because you’ll leave. And I can’t see you.” So I knelt down and talked to him about how that’s okay, because I always come back. While he’s at school, I just go back home, etc. And then he looked at me and said, “But what if you get lost?” Heartbreakingly adorable. I told him, “Don’t worry, I’m not lost. I know right where I am.”

At the time, I didn’t really think much about it. I mean, when I said that to him it meant something. But I didn’t realize how much it would mean to me when I thought back over it later. I’m a planner. I always have everything mapped out, to the tiniest detail. And I don’t always like it when the plans change, but I can deal with it, because I always have a plan, so I can still feel like a control. But thinking back over those words brought me to one of those moments where I thought, “I’m not lost. I know right where I am. But where exactly is that? And how the heck did I get here?”

You see, looking at my life and how wonderfully amazing it is right now, it is absolutely nothing like I thought it would be. In no way whatsoever does it match up to any plan that I’ve ever come up with for my future within the last ten years of my life. And it practically floored me to realize this all of a sudden, but…I’m okay with that. Somehow with all of the changes I’ve had in my life over the last couple of years, and with how caught up I’ve been with my own busy-ness (<–is that even a word?), I’ve wandered away from all of the specific plans I’d been clinging to. But I’m okay with that. Actually, I’m more than okay with that–I’m totally thrilled and blissfully happy with it, because if I hadn’t, my life wouldn’t be what it is right now. And it is many things each and every day: fun, crazy, hilarious, hard, hectic, happy, frustrating..and amazing. A gift.

Its a lesson I didn’t even really consciously set out to learn, but learn I did. Sometimes the best gifts are the ones you stumble across outside of your box or off of the beaten path.

So, no worries. I’m not lost. I know right where I am, and I love it.

The World’s Most Beautiful Rose

“There once was a mighty queen in whose garden grew the most beautiful flowers. Every season there were some in bloom, and they had been collected in all the countries of the world. But roses she loved above all flowers, and in her garden there were many kinds, from the wild hedge rose with green leaves that smell like apples to the loveliest rose of Provence. Roses grew up the walls of the castle, twined themselves around the marble columns, and even entered the halls and corridors of the castle, where their ramblers crept across the ceilings and filled the rooms with the fragrance of their flowers.

But inside the castle sorrow lived, for the queen was dying. The wisest of all the doctors who were attending her said, ‘There is only one remedy that can save her. Bring her the world’s most beautiful rose, the one that symbolizes the highest and purest love, and when her eyes see that flower, then she will not die.’

The young and the old brought their roses–the most beautiful ones that grew in their gardens–but it was not such a flower that could cure the queen. From love’s garden the rose must be brought, but which flower would be the symbol of the highest and purest love? The poets sang of the world’s most beautiful rose, and each mentioned a different one. Word was sent to all, regardless of rank and class, whose hearts did best for love.

‘No one has as yet mentioned the right flower,’ said the wise man. ‘No one has pointed to that place where it grows, in all its glory and beauty. It is not the rose from Romeo’s and Juliet’s tomb or Valborg’s grave, though those roses will always bloom and shed their fragrance in stories and poetry. Nor is it the rose that blooms on Winkelried’s blood-covered lance. From the hero’s blood, shed in defense of his native land, the reddest rose springs; and it is said that such a death is sweet, but it is not the most beautiful rose in the world. The magical wonderful rose, which can only be grown under constant care, through days and years of sleepless nights: the rose of science, it is not either.’

‘I know where it blooms,’ exclaimed a happy mother who, carrying her babe, had entered the queen’s bedchamber. ‘I know where the world’s most beautiful rose is to be found, the rose of highest and purest love. It blooms on the cheeks of my child, when he wakes from his sleep and laughs up at me, with all his love.’

‘Yes, in truth, that rose is lovely, but there are those even more beautiful,’ said the wise man.

‘Yes, far more beautiful,’ said one of the ladies in waiting. ‘I have seen it, and a more exalted, sacred rose than that does not exist. It is as pale as the petals of a tea rose and I have seen it on our queen’s cheeks when, without her golden crown, she walked, carrying her sick child in her arms, back and forth across the room one whole long night. She kissed her babe and prayed to God as only a mother prays in her agony.’

‘Yes, wonderful and holy is the white rose of sorrow, but that is not the one.’

‘No, the world’s most beautiful rose I saw before the altar of Our Lord,’ a pious old priest said. ‘I saw it shine on an angel’s face. Among a group of young girls who had come to take communion, there was one who looked with such simple and innocent love up toward her God that on her face bloomed the rose of highest and purest love.’

‘Blessed is that rose too,’ said the wise man. ‘But none of you has yet mentioned the world’s most beautiful rose.’

At that moment into the room stepped a little boy, the queen’s son. His eyes were filled with tears and he was carrying a big book with silver clasps and bound in vellum. The book was open.

‘Mother!’ Said the little one. ‘Listen to what I have read.’ And the child sat down by his mother’s bedside and read about Him who suffered death on the Cross in order to save humanity. ‘Greater love there cannot be.’

The queen’s pale cheeks took on a pinkish shade, and her eyes became big and clear, as from the pages of the book grew the world’s most beautiful rose, the one that grew from Christ’s blood on the cross.

‘I see it,’ she said. ‘And those who have seen that rose, the most beautiful rose in the world, shall never die.'” -Hans Christian Andersen

A Mother’s Nature

When–at the misty, cold dying of the year–even the smallest leaf falls from it’s mother tree, is it ever forgotten?

Does the tree feel the separation? Perhaps she stands immobile by nature’s force, seeing where it lies silent on the ground. Does she ache with the futile longing to scoop it back up and attach it to herself permanently, once more?

On a misty, autumn day, I walk among the avenue of mother trees, who let their heavy tears fall to the ground, rolling off of their tender branches in the form of rain, making soft, echoing, pattering sounds of grief. For, surely, even the smallest leaf is not forgotten.

I stand in the misty parkway lane, the fog thickening around me, lying thickly on my shoulders like a weight of sadness. My own heart trembles with sadness for you, mother tree. For even after winter winds have blown through, removing all evidence of your loss, with nothing left to show of their existence, you are compelled to go on being a mother, carrying with you always the weight of one who was once so fresh and brilliant, now gone forever except within your heart.

But I know you. Despite this chilling loss that has crept over you, you continue to stand strong. The cold days of winter may seem harsh. Snow and ice may cling to you for a time, but someday the sun will shine once more, melting away those frozen shards of painful memory.

And with the sun will come another chance at new life and happiness. And you will revel in that warm happiness, all the more fiercely loyal and strong because of your loss. For, surely, even the smallest leaf is never forgotten.

-.-

I don’t usually elaborate on any of the pieces I write, but this one is very special to me. It came to me this morning as I walked around the lake (and yes, the weather was cold, misty, and foggy), after being told by a dear friend of mine that she and her husband had suffered a miscarriage.

My heart truly does tremble with sadness for them, and any others in their position. I have never yet had any children of my own, but miscarriages are more common than some people might think. I have had other friends and acquaintances who have had to deal with that pain, and, from what I understand, it is a pain and knowledge of loss that never truly goes away, even if it lessens.

It then occurred to me as I was typing, that while I wrote it with miscarriage in mind, it is applicable to the grief that touches peoples hearts after any loss. I hope that maybe it can speak comfort to anyone who may stumble across it that is grieving. Maybe it will tell them that they are never alone, and there are still good things to come.

Underneath the Makeup

If anyone knows me at all, they know that I have a love for old Hollywood. I live in a world of black and white, of classic films, handsome and dashing leading men, and effortlessly beautiful and talented actresses. That’s my reality–the place where I spent most of my time. So, naturally, I am familiar with the work of Hollywood’s most recognizable icon, Marilyn Monroe.
It is also no secret to those who know me, that while I will not deny that Marilyn Monroe was certainly pretty, she has never been my favorite. I have always looked at her as a ditzy and fake blonde who completely changed herself just for fame, was never true to herself, and would do or say anything just to make a buck from the industry. That is what I thought until semi-recently.
For various reasons, I have spent quite a bit of time over the last year studying, reading, watching, and learning quite a bit about Miss Monroe, and I have been very quickly brought to the realization that I had drawn such conclusions about her in my mind, yet I had never really learned anything about her at all. The more I have studied, read, watched, and listened, the more I have been roped in, and I have learned more than I ever thought could be possible about someone I believed to be so shallow.
I know that, to many people, hers is a familiar story. But I have been feeling that I would very much like to share it and pay homage to what evidence suggests was such a beautiful and real human being.
This account is as candid and as truthful as I can make it, according to the information I have been able to obtain from many different sources. It is a deeper look, not at Marilyn Monroe, but at who she always truly was–Norma Jeane.

ImageMarilyn Monroe
Born June 1, 1926
Died August 5, 1962

On the first of June in the year of 1926, a daughter was born to single mother Gladys Baker. Her name was Norma Jeane Mortenson. Even in the earliest days of her life, little Norma Jeane faced changes and difficulties. Her mother, Gladys, did not possess the financial means to care for a baby. To many, it is even believed that she did not want a daughter. She did try, however–undoubtedly through a sense of obligation, more than anything else.
Norma Jeane’s love for the movies was instilled in her as a young child. She was born in Los Angeles–the land of the stars. Her mother also had a position as a film cutter at one of the studios. Sometimes she would give Norma Jeane money so that she could go by herself to the movies. The young girl also spent much of her time at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, just going from block to block and looking at the places where many different stars had stood. She would spend hours trying to fit her feet into the prints of the stars, but they were always too big for her. She would just sigh and say to herself, “Poor little girl. Your turn will never come.”
Despite her efforts to live a normal and stable life with her daughter, Gladys was just not mentally or financially stable enough to support the life that depended on her. So, Norma Jeane was taken into custody by the state and placed in foster care at a young age. She was sent from home to home, having brief and sporadic reunions with her mother. She confessed to being unhappy as a child who just wanted someone to love her as a parent should, but she did not truly belong to the people she was sent to live with, so they could never give her the affection she so desired. During her time in one foster home, she was even sexually assaulted. In the midst of all of this instability, however, there were bright spots for Norma Jeane. She was still fairly young when she met Andre de Dienes, a photographer who was several years older than herself. The two became very good friends despite their age difference. Dienes saw model potential in the young Norma Jeane, and he helped her blossom by making her the center of many different photograph series. They would take day trips up and down the coast, shooting pictures and talking. Once they took a trip to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where they visited the grave of film legend Rudolph Valentino. Norma Jeane, still possessed by dreams of becoming a star, noticed that Valentino died the same year that she was born. Dienes never forgot the way she quietly suggested, “Maybe I was born to take his place.” A grim thought, considering that Rudolph Valentino’s life was also tragically cut short at the age of 31. Dienes was captivated by her–not captivated by the platinum blonde, red-lipped starlet that she was to become, but captivated by the natural beauty and simple style that she had then. Dienes was not the only one of Norma Jeane’s acquaintance who adored her just the way she was. Long-time friend Robert Slatzer recalled how he once told her during a day trip to the beach to never change, and she promised, “I’ll never change.” After her death, Slatzer lovingly described her as a “down-to-earth, pleasant type of girl.”
The guardian Norma Jeane was closest to was a close friend of her mother’s by the name of Grace McKee. Together the two of them would read endless magazines about all of the latest motion pictures, and McKee would dress Norma Jeane up like a movie star, even doing her hair and makeup for her. They also took many a trip together to the theater, to watch Hollywood’s greatest stars on the big screen. Norma Jeane was in high school when she was living with McKee. It was during this time that McKee decided to relocate to Virginia, and despite everything, decided not to take Norma Jeane with her. This created a dilemma because, if McKee left Norma Jeane behind, she was still young enough that she would once again be taken into the custody of the state. So, from school that she had a crush on, James Dougherty, was approached and convinced to marry Norma Jeane to keep her from being handed over to the state. An overall harsh blow for Norma Jeane, who would learn more and more over time that it was always just a marriage of convenience, and nothing more. She remained Mrs. Dougherty, however, for five years. It was during that span of time that she would take her first steps towards stardom.
James Dougherty enlisted in the military during WWII, and Norma Jeane, a typical housewife, did her part to support the cause by doing factory work. Photographers came around to the munitions factory to take pictures, and they noticed Norma Jeane. She was encouraged to look for work as a model, so that is what she did. She got a contract with The Blue Book Modeling Agency. This was the time when Norma Jeane underwent her biggest identity change. At the time, the agency was more interested in lighter hair, so Norma Jeane bleached hers. After changing her appearance, she became one of the agency’s most successful models. It was only a matter of time until someone from Hollywood picked up a magazine and discovered her. In 1947, 20th Century Fox offered her a contract. She accepted, but the studio still felt that something wasn’t quite right. That name. Norma Jeane was just too plain sounding, not important enough. Wishing to stay true to her roots, suggested the last name of Monroe, because it had been her mother’s maiden name. Yes! Monroe! They liked it. Norma Jeane Monroe. No, no, no. Still not right. Norma Monroe? Too clunky sounding. Jeane Monroe? Still missing something. Eventually, they hit the jackpot. Marilyn! Marilyn Monroe–that sounds sexy. That sounds different. Norma Jeane did not like the name Marilyn, but the executives persuaded her to use it, because it would help launch her career.
Everything began to go well for Marilyn Monroe. She had a contract with a film studio, she was taking singing and dancing lessons, etc. She had finally made it. Or so it would seem. After a while, it became clear to her, that the studio was not taking her seriously, and they refused to use her for anything. Eventually they let her have brief, non-speaking roles. Finally she was allowed to have one line in one scene in a movie, but that was all. Shortly after that, Fox released her from her contract. She went over to Columbia Pictures and appeared in one movie for them, Ladies of the Chorus (1948). Then she was dropped. After that it took some time for her to find more film work, but she slowly began to take on smaller parts. Her next big picture was a part in The Asphalt Jungle (1950). It was around 1950 that a talent agent managed to get her a second contract with Fox. Finally, more stability for her. Not only that, but an opportunity to achieve another one of her dreams. In 1951, finally having adequate funds to do so, Marilyn enrolled for classes at UCLA, where she studied literature and art. She was able to juggle school and her career with relative ease for a while, because she only had smaller bit parts and promotional pieces in magazines. These magazines sparked an interest in readers and audiences in Marilyn Monroe–who was she? Where did she come from? In 1952, Marilyn was given more significant parts in Clash by Night, We’re Not Married!, and Don’t Bother to Knock. She received very positive reviews, and people wanted to see more of her. More parts came, but it seemed to her that people were only focusing on her beauty, and not the talent that inspired her look. Many more well-seasoned actors of the day automatically wrote her off as a dumb blonde because of the way the studios presented her. More rejection for Norma Jeane from the realm she always felt she belonged in. Finally, one of her biggest breakout roles came. Marilyn was cast alongside Jane Russell in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953). The film was an enormous success, and she even earned her own immortalized footprints at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater–success for Marilyn. But it came at a price. Her schedule became more demanding and she decided she needed to stick with acting, which meant dropping out of college–another dream that would never come true for Norma Jeane.

Image

Next came the comedy How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), which was also an enormous help in boosting her career. Yet the reviews were bittersweet for her. She knew only too well that it was one of the only films she ever made where the audience could appreciate her for her talent and the words she spoke, rather than how she looked. What many people even today do not realize about the the seemingly bold, sexy, and fearless actress that was Marilyn Monroe, is that she suffered from acute stage fright. She was terrified of being in front of the camera and having to say the right words. Terrified of not getting it right, which was partly due to a fear of rejection, but also partly because she was a perfectionist. She said that whenever she was sitting in her dressing room, she was not Marilyn Monroe, but just Norma Jeane, and she would work herself up so much that she would become terrified to come out. This led to many a person on the set referring to her as being “difficult.” She was aware of what others were saying about her, and it only made her more afraid and simultaneously feel disappointed in herself, so she would often disappear for days at a time. In 1953, after one such incident, Fox suspended her.
While on suspension in 1954, she married professional athlete, Joe DiMaggio. Her marriage proved to be difficult due to her career. She later remarked that she knew DiMaggio married and wanted to share a life with Norma Jeane. The problem was that, to the rest of the world, Norma Jeane did not exist. Later that same year, Fox reached an agreement with Marilyn which allowed her to come back to work. Her first reappearance on the big screen was in one of her most well recognized films, The Seven Year Itch (1955). This film was also responsible for one of the most iconic scenes in cinematic history, when Marilyn was conveniently positioned over a subway grate, and the air lifted her skirt to revealing heights. It was a scene that turned out to be an iconic representation for her for the rest of her life–success for Marilyn. Unfortunately, with their marriage already on the rocks, DiMaggio was infuriated by the scandalous scene. The two disputed about it, and shortly after announced their separation–failure for Norma Jeane.
Norma Jeane longed to be a serious actress, but nobody would take her seriously. After the release of The Seven Year Itch, she decided to take a break. She spent her time off in New York, where she was reintroduced to a previous acquaintance, Arthur Miller. The two began a relationship and married the next year. Marilyn’s break from film, however, was short-lived. By the beginning of 1956 she had agreed on a new contract with Fox which stated that she was responsible for making and releasing 4 motion pictures over a  year period. She felt inclined to agree because she had recently established Marilyn Monroe Productions, in the hopes that it would give her more of a say in how her image was presented to the public. Unfortunately, it did very little to help her in the long run. She was cast as an unsophisticated saloon girl in Bus Stop (1956), and then came The Prince and the Showgirl (1957). She desperately wanted the part in the latter film, because it was alongside acclaimed Shakespearean actor Laurence Olivier, and she believed that if she could pull it off, it would help her image. But she never felt that she earned Olivier’s respect, and the film, as a finished product, only drove it further into her mind, that she was just something pretty to take up space in front of the camera.
Later that year, in 1957, Marilyn found out that she and new husband, Arthur Miller, were expecting a baby. She was thrilled beyond belief, even though she knew it would mean her career would be put on hold. In August of 1957, a pregnant Marilyn spent the morning at the beach with her husband. Many well publicized photos were taken of her looking radiant in a white bathing suit. She was happy. Later that afternoon she returned to New York and suffered a miscarriage. A positive outcome for Marilyn, who would face no setbacks in her career. A broken heart for Norma Jeane.
Marilyn officially took a year off to recover from her loss, but her husband encouraged her to return to work in Hollywood. So, that next year she returned and filmed Some Like It Hot (1958). Shortly after filming began, she discovered she was pregnant once again. But this too would end with another miscarriage within 4 months. Some Like It Hot was an immediate success, and Marilyn even won the Golden Globe for Best Actress. But despite her achievements, she was beginning to sink into a depression. She wasn’t happy, and couldn’t sleep at night. She began to abuse prescription drugs and to develop a dependency on alcohol. Fearing that she was approaching a breaking point, she began to seek psychoanalytic treatment. Nothing was going right. Her marriage was failing, and she and Miller would divorce in 1961. Her career was slowly falling apart, she was depressed and tired, but she couldn’t sleep, and she developed a fear of the night. Her psychiatrist, Ralph Greenson, was intrigued and simultaneously afraid of the way that she expressed herself noting that, “she evoked painful things with no pain.” She was empty. She began to deteriorate very quickly. When she claimed 35 in 1961 she claimed, “I know I’ll never be happy, but at least I can be high-spirited.” She had already attempted to commit suicide once before, but had been unsuccessful. A confusing portrait of her is painted in the last years of her life. To many of her friends and colleagues, Marilyn Monroe seemed positive, healthier, and full of life. To Greenson, while he had seen improvement in her, he still saw Norma Jeane, who was still suffering and had legitimate fears.
On the morning of August 5, 1962, Dr. Greenson’s worst fear as a psychiatrist was recognized. He had lost a patient. The body of Norma Jeane was found in her Los Angeles home. She had died at the age of 36 from acute barbiturate poisoning. The coroner ruled that it was a probably suicide. There was no denying that she certainly had tried to take her life before, but there were also many strange and unanswered questions surrounding her death. It is therefore, to this day, an unsolved mystery as to whether she committed suicide, or was murdered. Who knows, perhaps Norma Jeane just thought she could save herself by killing Marilyn Monroe.

If you have been reading this, and have made it all the way to the end, and you are interested in a raw documentary on Marilyn Monroe and her psychoanalysis, there is an excellent one that is among my sources, and is also posted on Youtube. Click the following links to watch:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9

“Hollywood is a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss,
and fifty cents for your soul.”

“I am involved in a freedom ride protesting the loss of the minority rights
belonging to the few remaining earthbound stars. All we demanded

was our right to twinkle.”

“It is often enough just to be with someone. I don’t need to touch them. Not even talk.
A feeling passes between you both. You are not alone.”

“I don’t want to make money. I just want to be wonderful.”

“I have feelings too. I am still human.
All I want is to be loved for myself and my talent.”
Marilyn Monroe

Everyday decisions..

I know this post is undoubtedly going to give incredibly accurate insight as to the strange person i am, but so be it…

Today I went out to do some errands in the city. I live about half an hour outside the nearest city limits, so you can understand that it really isn’t an unusual occurrence to see deer running around. I was a couple of minutes away from my house when I noticed that there was another car pulled over with their hazard lights on, but it didn’t look like they were having car troubles. It just looked like they were waiting for something. As I drove closer, I saw a beautiful doe laying in front of their car.

They had obviously just hit her moments before and they were waiting for assistance. It is actually against the law here to kill an animal like that and drive off and leave it. You have to give a report and professionals have to dispose of the animal’s body. So here were these people waiting for assistance…and in the meantime, there was the doe. She was still alive, her legs broken. As I drove past she looked frightened and tried to stand up, but couldn’t. I’m not even completely sure why, but that was one of the saddest things I think I have seen. I just thought to myself that, if I were someone who owned my own firearm, I would gladly pay the fine for killing that animal so that it wouldn’t sit there suffering–put it out of its misery. But at the same time, part of me definitely questioned whether I would be able to do that if I found myself in that position. Could I really end the life of a beautiful animal like that? Granted, it would have died anyways, but maybe not at my hands.

Anyways…to the point. Being the poetical sap that I am, I immediately thought of this poem I read during my first semester of college:

Traveling through the dark I found a deer dead on the edge of Wilson River Road. It is usually best to roll them into the canyon: the road is narrow; to swerve might make more dead. By glow of the tail-light I stumbled back of the car and stood by the heap, a doe, a recent killing; she had stiffened already, almost cold. I dragged her off; she was large in the belly. My fingers touching her side brought me the reason–her side was warm; her fawn lay there waiting, alive, still, never to be born. Beside that mountain road I hesitated. The car aimed ahead its lowered parking lights; under the hood purred the steady engine. I stood in the glare of the warm exhaust turning red; around our group I could hear the wilderness listen. I thought hard for all of us–my only swerving–then pushed her over the edge into the river.”

William Stafford

Healing

I am still sad that I could not participate in the final farewells of my friend Carol, but everything I have heard from all of my friends who were able to attend makes it difficult to feel quite so sad. It makes her loss somewhat easier.

There were hundreds, literally hundreds, of people who showed up to celebrate her radiant life yesterday. The sanctuary was full, the overflow rooms were filled, and people were lining up down the street. She was so much more loved than I think she ever realized. And it has been strikingly evident that, while her family is naturally hurting, they are also at peace. Everyone has said that it really was an uplifting and joyful celebration of her life, and that makes me happy.

Image

I feel so privileged to have known Carol for so many years and to have gone to school with her every day.

Her death has hit me so hard. It is just such a shocking thing when one of your contemporary friends passes away so young. But her life was full, and most of all it was exemplary. She experienced so much, which is a blessing, but she also has taught so many people so much, both while she was living and through her death.

I know that rings true for myself. When she was alive she taught me to always have a smile on my face and to be kind to others. Through her death she has taught me to appreciate every moment of my life, and to examine my faith in a way that I don’t think I ever have before.

I don’t think we should be sad over her death for the rest of our lives–she wouldn’t want that. But I don’t ever want to forget the impact that her life and passing have had on me.

Image

 

“God has blessed me more than I could ever ask for. Perfect husband, amazing family, spot for me in heaven. How do we overlook Him so easily?”
-Carol Michelle Hensley Singletary

“Having a bad day? Hold your hand over your heart…feel that? That beating? It’s called purpose! You’re here for a reason, so make the most out of it.”
-Carol Michelle Hensley Singletary

Image

 

“I want to taste and glory in each day, and never be afraid to experience pain; and never shut myself up in a numb core of nonfeeling, or stop questioning and criticizing life and take the easy way out. To learn and think: to think and live; to live and learn: this always, with new insight, new understanding, and new love.”
-Sylvia Plath

Be calm in the midst of the storm.

“The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning.
It’s time to sing Your song again.
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me,
Let me be singing when the evening comes.
Bless the Lord, O, my soul,
O, my soul,
Worship His holy name.
Sing like never before,
O, my soul.
I’ll worship Your holy name.
You’re rich in love, and You’re slow to anger.
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind.
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing,
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find.
Bless the Lord, O, my soul,
O, my soul,
Worship His holy name.
Sing like never before,
O, my soul.
I’ll worship Your holy name.
And on that day, when my strength is failing,
The end draws near, and my time has come,
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending,
Ten thousand years and then forevermore.
Bless the Lord, O, my soul,
O, my soul,
Worship His holy name.
Sing like never before,
O, my soul,
I’ll worship Your holy name.”

-Matt Redman

Image

 

Today is a hard and very difficult day for me, and tomorrow will be as well.
A Celebration of Life service is being held for my beautiful friend Carol today, and tomorrow morning she is being laid to rest.
These would be emotional days regardless, but they break my heart even more since I an across the country and am unable to attend and say my last goodbyes in person with all of our mutual friends.

Yet I am continually reminded to hold onto hope, and to keep my eyes on the Lord, who is a God of peace, whilst facing this storm in my life, because without Him I will sink.
I don’t know what tomorrow or the future holds. All I know right now is the pain in my heart, but I hope that this song rings true for me and all the others I know who are grieving right now:

“Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes.”

Be thankful to God for your life, because it is not a right, but a privilege and a gift. We are not guaranteed any time on this earth but this immediate moment.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
Romans 15:13