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Thursday, December 30, 2021

When Days Become Years...

 Grief.  It is such a strange thing.  

We each travel our own road, but the triggers that sear our hearts are universal when it comes to navigating the heartbreaking minefields of loss. 

A favorite meal, a scent that was theirs.

The first Birthday without them.  Every ensuing birthday without them.

Holidays... and Anniversaries... the first year of their passing.  The first Christmas table with the empty chair.  The days flowing into years...

And just like that...10 years have passed.  How is that possible??

December 4, 2011.

The day pancreatic cancer won.  I never thought our hearts would heal.

And perhaps healing isn't the right word.  Maybe it's more of a learning to ride the waves of sorrow and learning to hold the grief loosely.  Allowing joy to take up residence in hearts that were battered and bruised but still beating.

And the years brought blessings and love in new ways, in sweet ways, but the grief has always been there.  And sometimes, some days, like the marking of 10 years, the grief swamps.

So, we chose to commemorate.  It's not a celebration really, but a time of remembrance.

For us, it meant a time of travel.  Following the advice Mom gave us so often... a bit of legacy living for sure...

So, we took that great advice and went out and did the things!  We have traveled and wandered ourselves into some grand adventures over the years, but this year, this anniversary was a tough one.

Good friends planned a getaway that was balm to our hurting hearts.  A camping trip deep into the rugged beauty of Big Bend National Park!

We have wanted to visit for years... this was the perfect time.

We hiked and explored the days away and star-gazed late into the nights.
It was bliss!

The vast and desolate landscape of this historic national treasure gave us room to breath and space to remember all the good in our lives.  

Grief has a way of turning us inward, darkening our thoughts and shuttering our hearts.
Remembering the good in our lives opened us up to the joy and grace and the blessing that have always been ours.

And it wasn't long before the smiles followed...

Under that amazing west Texas sky we took stock of the things we've learned these past 10 years...
the list is refreshingly short!

We are small, so very, very small.
But God is so Big!

Our hearts can break.
But they can love powerfully deep.

Wandering is good.  And adventures are great...
But coming home is Best!

At the end of our grand adventure, it was so good to turn down our dirt road towards home.  The satisfying crunch of gravel beneath our tires, the familiar sway of our big old oak trees, and that beautiful log home waiting at the end of our drive...they all sang a welcome home that gave our souls rest.

And it occurs to me that at the end of this life, the moment God calls us each heavenward, we will feel that same sense of peace and rightness as we turn our face and hearts towards Home.  The newborn babe we celebrate this Christmas season... the Christ child who came to triumph over the grave... He will lead us by the hand to a welcome home we can only imagine!

So, my prayer for you this year... Hope and Peace for whatever road you might be traveling.  May you always know that we count it such a Blessing and Privilege to be on this journey together, walking each other home with an abiding love and joy.

It is His Grace that sets Heaven in our Hearts,
My Love, Always,

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