Thursday, October 27, 2016

Standing Evenly at the Will of God (The Circumstance We Never Wished For)

by Danetta Kellar

The things we would least choose to have are round about us. But “In these things be not thrown down, nor despair not; but stand evenly at the will of God, and suffer all things that cometh to thee, to the praising of our Lord Jesus Christ; for after winter cometh summer, and after even cometh day, and after tempest cometh clearness." -Rose from Brier, Amy Carmichael

The week our life changed, thousands of people prepared for a life-threatening hurricane. 

They secured their property, evacuated their children, and found safe shelter far from the eye of the pending storm. News channels vibrated with a cacophony of warnings, updates, and radar images of the coming menace. 

While all this preparation was going on, we were in the midst of our own tempest, one for which we could not prepare, could not evacuate, could not find safe shelter. 

Hands interlocked, arms wrapped tightly around one another, we stood evenly at the will of God as the tempest of Loss raged through our hearts and lives, death taking one who had made us feel safe and secure. 

We did the only thing we know. We planted our feet on the Rock of Christ as the storm assailed our emotions and our physical endurance, and we prayed to survive.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Concurrent Streams of Joy and Sorrow

by Danetta Kellar

I once saw a sight most strange. 

In the deep woods of the mountains where we summered in my childhood, two streams flowed side by side, separated by a narrow, rocky ledge embedded in dark rich earth. One raged wide, its waters noisily churning up the dark and decaying debris of seasons past. The other ran slow and narrow, quiet and clear. In its depths sparkled gold and silver stars, reflecting the bright light of the sun. 

Dark and brooding, flowing beside calm and glittering, these waters fascinated me. While cousins and uncles fished, I wandered the banks of this magical anomaly. As I tracked the streams upward, I found the two emerged from one wide place in the river. There at the source, the water happily danced and burbled in the dappled sunlight that spilled forth through a canopy of ancient oaks. The changing, beautiful nature of the river was entrancing, and in my mind’s eye, I can see it still. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Life After Loss

We must learn to live differently, to live life without.
by Danetta Kellar

Long ago when we moved to Africa, one of the first lessons we learned was that our schedule, the way we used to execute our tasks in bullet-point style, perfect to-do lists, was obsolete. Life moved slowly in Africa. We didn’t know how to communicate. We looked at people as they talked and just heard sounds coming from their mouths, not understanding a word. We were not sure what to eat or if we even wanted to. We were lonely and tired. 

We learned eventually to live life differently. 

We learned to set one simple goal per day, and rejoice when it was accomplished. Write a letter. Walk across the road and talk to your neighbor. Cook oatmeal over the fire.

Life after loss is much like moving to a foreign country. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Art of Standing with Those who Mourn

How dare it live?
This post was originally published in July of 2015. Its words strike me very personally today. Thank you to all who excel at the art of comfort and are standing with my family right now. We love you and appreciate you more than we can say. It is hard to believe spring will come again, but we believe in the Maker of the springtime.

by Danetta Kellar
@Danetta Kellar

There it grew, defiant and ignorant of death. Living and green, vibrant. Pressing its tendrils up through the concrete, winding its way around the iron grating, clinging tenaciously to the wall. I hated it and resented its life. Death had robbed me of my joy, and I was devastated. Even the ivy made me angry. How dare it live? 

Kate came with her teenage daughter and quietly did what needed done. Mountains of abandoned laundry became neatly folded piles of order. I watched from my bed as her daughter organized my sock drawer. Warm food carefully arranged was delivered on a tray to my hiding place. Deep inside me, through the fog, I was grateful.

A letter arrived almost immediately from a quiet friend who had also known such grief at one time in her life. Its words spilled forth understanding, recognition, validation. I could hold that letter in my hands and respond silently even though my eyes could not hold another’s gaze and my mouth had stopped responding verbally to anyone.

There is an art, an exquisite discretion, to standing alongside those who are hurting. 

We may not always understand the pain they suffer. In fact, some events are so tragic, so unexpected, that we stand gaping in shock, unable to fathom what they must be going through. But we must not withdraw, we must not isolate them.