broken heart...full tummy...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

my sister-in-law made a comment, on the day that tony's dad was found, how needing to eat or sleep or use the restroom was annoying. 

i laughed and cried when i heard her.

it was so true.

i went through the motions of waking up in the morning to face the next 18 or so hours and wonder how we were going to fill them.  and then night would hit and i wouldn't want to go to bed.  i would want to sit up surrounded by the very same people who were grieving for the very same person.

and then the doorbell would ring.

and someone would go answer it.

and the arms of a stranger would wrap themselves around me and hold me as i wept.

and warm food would be placed on the counter.

a basic need taken care of.

a neighbour down the street brought a basket of colouring books and crayons, movies and snacks for my children and for the other children who would soon be joining the throng.

a offering of joy for my little ones when i couldn't see past my tears.

pulling into our driveway last night after being on the road for 15 hours, i walked in my front door and stood there.  how could 3 weeks feel like a lifetime? 

i dutifully went to my freezer and opened the lid and began to cry as i saw what was inside. 



handwritten notes with cooking instructions.

these women had taken time out of their busy holidays (one just having had a baby) to make sure that my family was taken care of.

that even though my heart was broken, my tummy was full.

i can't even begin to explain what that feels like.  i've seen the body of Christ in action, but i haven't been the recipient at this level before.  and i'm humbled.  and so, so incredibly grateful.  in my sorrow, He is lifting my head.

reminds me of a passage in 1 kings...

~but he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree.  and he asked that he might die, saying, "it is enough; now o Lord, take away my life, for i am no better than my fathers." and he lay down and slept under a broom tree.  and behold, an angel touched him and said to him, "arise and eat." and he looked and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. and he ate and drank and lay down again. and the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, "arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you." and he arose and ate and drank and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to horeb, the mount of God. (verses 4-8)

elijah became overwhelmed by fear when his life was threatened.

been there?

now, i don't have a broom tree.  and i'm not going on any journey that i know of that will take me 40 days and nights.  15 hours was enough, thank you.

but i have been ministered to.  as i have tried to make sense of what happened and realized i can't. as i've wept.  as i've felt anger.  as i've held on to my husband.  as i've felt as though my world is no longer as it should be, i've felt His touch, through the arms that held me, through the emails, the phone calls, the prayers...and the food.

they say a way to a man's heart is through his stomach (and it's true, i made tony chocolate chip cookies for his 26th birthday and we've been together ever since), but a way to a grieving heart is the same way.  now that i have children, i realize the sacrifice that goes into preparing that extra meal.  how scary it must be to walk into a room full of grief and feel so inept that all you can do is open your arms.

the writer of the book of hebrews mentions entertaining angels unawares (13:2), and while i'm fairly certain that most of the men and women who surrounded us were of the human variety, they allowed themselves to be used so that Jesus' supernatural strength could fill us when there was nothing left.

and i thank Him for you.