Sunday, October 23, 2011
What does a fabulous woman look like?
We are part of a church 'family' and if you don't know a church family you don't understand that it really IS a family. Although, like a family we bicker sometimes or get grouchy with each other, we also love. And if someone has a loss we all rally round. Kind of like kids who can't stand each other until their sibling is being attacked from the outside, and then the loyalty rises.
We had a loss this week of a family boy. He is chronologically a man, really, but still a boy. A boy who grew up in the church family, a boy who lives in the memories of everyone as a whole person - full of life and mischief and love. Now a young father, this boy's life ended a week ago much to the deep sorrow of his mom. (Not just his mom, but I am writing about her.) I can't even imagine that I could go on if I lost one of my kids. It is something I haven't yet faced in my long life. I am blessed.
But... I digress.
This woman, faced with the loss of her boy, deeply and openly grieved. She did not hide her pain or try to spiritualize it or pretend she was not crushed. She was surrounded by those who love her as completely as possible in this world, and yet her pain was particularly personal. Who can love like the one who has carried life in her very own body, sharing her energy and DNA and blood. Who can love like the woman who watches a child every moment of his life for YEARS. Think about that. Many mothers do this. They literally have their eyes on the child every waking moment, guarding the fledgling life.
I watched this woman grieve, and then watched her quiet dignity during the funeral. She was very much the mother of the family, responding to the grandchildren, standing in peaceful sorrow at the graveside by her sons, receiving condolences and consoling others.
Today, two days later, she came into church carrying a Kroger bag with baggies in it. In each baggie were seeds she had plucked from a particularly fabulous plant in her garden. She found her gardening friends - including me - and offered us some seeds to sprinkle over a bed for blooms in the spring. She gently told me how to plant them and what to expect in return for growth.
I watched her and loved her immensely. This is strong and compassionate womanhood. She is not through her grief, not at all. She will not know what she has lost until the years pass on and she has discovered holes in her life, over and over. But she is still planting for the future. She is passing out her little seed bags to her friends who stood with her while her son was planted in the earth to wait for the resurrection.
A woman's heart - who on earth can fathom the beauty and depths of it.