We are home from northern cal, safe and sound. As is customary for my life, or so it seems, I tend to only have two gears with which to choose from in my world of motion. The two gears being, drive and reverse. Opposites, of course. It is not the first time I mention it in my writing. I have, in past posts, used words such as paradoxical, simultaneous, coincide, ironic, etc. to express the place in which I dwell. That place being, where blessing and curse/rain and sunshine/happiness and sadness/love and hate coexist and keep me in a suspended balance. Weird; or at least I think so.
So it was driving up north that I knew my mournful sorrow would turn to joyful glee once we arrived to Sacramento. I knew this, in advance, because of who my grandmother was. We weren’t going to have a large mournful affair, no we were going to have a large family gathering and that gathering would turn to celebration, which in fact it did. So with this knowledge, I took advantage of the six to eight hour window I was stuck in a vehicle with nowhere to go, and allowed myself to mourn, hurt, and cry for the loss of my grandma Ella and my neighbor Fernie. I sat behind Brian because he was, thankfully, the driver of the van. And he kept looking at me in the review mirror and seeing my continuous sorrow show itself…I (for once) did not hold back. At one point in the drive, through the grapevine I believe, we were surrounded by tall, green, grassy hills. And I could have sworn I saw my grandmother and Fern standing atop one of the hills–beautifully bedecked in white, flowing dresses and waving goodbye to me. Both of them were extremely happy. They were smiling, and through their joyful adieu were in essence telling me, “It is ok to say goodbye. We are happy, and we love you, don’t be sad for us.” And though I know they weren’t really up on that hill waving to me, the very idea of them doing so soothed my heart, for I wasn’t able to say goodbye to either of them before their departure. Don’t worry, I continued to cry and cry some more. But that imagery has stayed with me, and I am thankful for it.
One of the songs I heard while encapsulated in the van was a song called, “Smile”, by Kirk Franklin. I would put it up for you to see but I don’t really like any of the videos associated with it…it is better listened to without a visual aid. Essentially the ministering lyrics go something like this:
“Today’s a new day, and there is no sunshine. Nothing but clouds, and it’s dark in my heart and it feels like a cold night. Today’s a new day, where are my blue skies, where is the love and the joy that you promised me you tell me it’s alright.
(I’ll be honest with you) I almost gave up, but a power that I can’t explain, fell from heaven like a shower.
(When I think how much better I’m gonna be when this is over) I smile, even though I’m hurt see I smile, I know God is working so I smile, Even though I’ve been here for a while I smile, smile…”
The truth of these lyrics are reminiscent of my intro paragraph and the running at drive and reverse simultaneously. My grandma is gone, but wow what a celebration! My Fernie is gone, but her grandson (whom we adore) and his expectant wife will be moving into the home of their beloved Fern. Blessings and sorrow–simultaneously. Elims=Smile!
Tengo una sombra de tristeza sobre mi alma.
tengo el resplendor de una
lleno con el difunto y
lleno con el amor.
El amor trae la alegria
La fe trae la esperanza
estoy vivo porque Dios es mi razón.