In the last couple of days, I've had three different people ask when my next blog would be. I think it's because there is so much anxiety right now. I understand that. I feel it too. We need inspiration.
After meditation this morning, I asked of God, "What would you like me to say?" The above image came to mind.
If you haven't read my books, you may not know that that my brother John drew the above slightly before my maternal grandparents died (in the same nursing home within 2 weeks of each other). We used it as the cover of the bulletin of their joint memorial service.
What you probably don't know, even if you have read my books, is that my grandma was like a second mom to me. I loved all of my grandparents dearly but she was my hero. She had a faith that grounded her no matter what. When she got knocked down, she'd kneel and then rise. She knew God could work things toward good in ways we sometimes can't even imagine. She kept that spirit as my grandpa finished his 12 year struggle with Alzheimer's and as she was dying from cancer for the last 8 months of her life.
I had a job within a mile so I went for lunch with her many times weekly during her final 6 months. She didn't eat much but I did. I received sustenance for my soul from being with her. She had something I wanted - a good disease I wanted to catch.
My grandma knew how to trust God despite genuine pain, concerns and fears. She knew what to do to get back into alignment with the creative love of God despite fears. She knew that getting back to loving was the most important thing when we feel disappointments. Grief, yes; despair, no. She knew that God's Love is like an underground river that we tap into by the choices we make in how we think about ourselves, others and the problems we face. She had learned to live what Jesus taught about how to cultivate our own personal well-spring within through faith, trust and getting to loving the way Jesus did. She understood that it's a lifestyle, an internal process that produces fruit, not a slogan with which to slap anybody.
Love is a movement of spirit we must value if it is to make any real difference, especially when fear makes other movements of spirit seem more powerful. My grandma could have been angry at the doctors who put her through what turned put to be meaningless surgeries. She could have been angry at those who'd advised and treated her when the chemo did little if anything. Instead, she loved them and gave genuine thanks for all those who cared for her. They cried when they shared that things weren't working. They weren't alone in that.
She told me to go to the fireworks on July 4th, 1991, though we knew she was close. She said, "Go for me. See you tomorrow." At the fireworks, a rush of inspiring energy beyond description overwhelmed me during the finale. My girlfriend at the time asked me, "Are you alright?" I couldn't understand it myself: The finale was good but it wasn't that good. As tears streamed down my face and I felt more wonderful than I ever had up to that point in my life, I really wasn't sure what was happening, but in response I gave thanks for my grandma, my family and our country - this place built by people like her, where we're encouraged to worship God however we chose (or don't) and treat others the way we want to be treated. For my grandma, the two went hand in hand, loving God led to loving others. Feeling the Hand of God in her life led her to reach her hands out to others. I was just amazingly thankful for all of it, especially over the previous six months, as I bawled for a minute or so overwhelmed by love and gratitude.
When I got home, there was a message on my machine. I knew what it meant. It was my brother gently saying "You better come quick if you want to say goodbye." When I got there I asked when she died. It was just before the finale.
Going to God and getting to loving is everything. It works in ways beyond understanding. That's why I celebrate it so much. When we're struggling it often feels like there isn't much to celebrate, but as we keep tapping back into love, we realize love itself is worth celebrating. It makes the journey worthwhile and also produces the best fruit. That's why those who know, know God as Love.
Thanks for journeying together. More power to you.