Dear friends, a very happy weekend to you! Hope you and your family are well today. (Are you?)
Reflecting on Silver Linings today. It’s challenging balancing real and authentic here. Not wallowing in the present muddy mire. But wishing to create a peaceful sanctuary to cozy in, savor a hot cup. All the while knowing we’re both hearing, seeing, feeling the swirl. My head’s not in the sand. Yours either. We’re seeing/experiencing the same local and worldwide crises. I sometimes wonder if “things” are actually getting worse and worse, or if we just have more access to the disturbing via news/technology/social media. It can be overwhelming. I also wonder if we were created to absorb all this heartbreak and difficult.
And here’s a question for you. In the long run, will we just numb? Because I just don’t want to go there. Numb to the pain also means numb to the joy. And selfishly, I don’t want to miss the joys. Children. Family. Extended family. Friends. Nature: flowers, gardens. Hand-painted sunsets. Moonlit nights. Fireflies. Maple syrup. Chocolate. (!) The list goes on and on. So many memories to make. And I want to be mentally present, to fully experience, embrace them.
This past week’s been an unusual mix of joy and pain around here. Clouds and Silver Linings. My brother flew up to MN to have knee reconstruction. Most of you know about his accident a month ago. (Click here for more info.) In the process of checking out his knee and tibia for the surgery, the surgeon discovered the prior wrist surgery was done incorrectly leaving John with minimal movement. Screws were actually poking into joints and cartilage. Yeah. So not only did he get a complete knee construction, he also had a complete corrective wrist surgery. He’s pretty lagged out from a seven hour double surgery, traveling to and from, being in a wheelchair and all. Just returned to NH a few days ago.
And here’s the Silver Lining. So thankful the surgeon, a family friend, caught the previous mistakes early enough to correct. That he was willing to add an extra surgery into his jam-packed schedule. Means John will eventually be able to use his right hand and wrist again. Huge blessing long-term. Tough now. Hard to watch the struggle. Wish I could carry some of it, lighten the load.
So here’s a storm cloud. This past week a friend’s son was in a bad accident on the soccer field. He and another player collided. His eye socket and cheekbone have multiple breaks. Has a severe concussion. In a lot of pain, he’ll have facial reconstructive surgery soon, plates inserted. Tough stuff for anyone. Especially a high school senior striker right before playoffs. We love him and his family. So very sorry about his painful injury. Could have easily been any one of those boys out on the field that day, including mine. The Silver Lining? The injury could’ve been worse or even inoperable. Our prayers are with him for a complete recovery. Also for his family at this difficult time.
Here’s a Silver Lining. This past week my parents celebrated their 53rd anniversary. Thankful they’ve journeyed through thick and thin side by side, and what a blessing they could celebrate #53 together. Keep walking Mom and Dad. We’re following in your committed footsteps.
And here’s the most painful storm cloud of the past week.
I receive two messages from my dear friend (also my cousin) during church last Sunday. The first: “Allie, please pray. Jim’s had a severe heart attack.” The second, minutes later: ” Jim has left us, he’s in the arms of Jesus now.” Her husband was young, only 62. So unexpected. Nothing more heart-wrenching than slipping into that funeral. Seeing my sweet cousin surrounded by her four children and their spouses on that front pew. Missing a husband. Missing a daddy. A lotta grief and yet somehow a lotta joy together in one service.
The grief: Jim will be dearly missed by his many friends and family. Goodbye is excruciating.
The joy and Silver Lining? Jim knew where he was going. So not so much goodbye, but more like until we meet again. Jim, he left a beautiful legacy behind for his family.
The legacy (in my mind) is this. Jim wasn’t shy about expressing his feelings. Dearly loved his children, wife, his extended family and friends. And told them. (Told us.) Often. We have wonderful memories through the years, spending time with Jim on the phone and in person. And though he navigated many difficult life circumstances, he was an affirming person. Took time from his own busyness/stress to genuinely love and encourage those around him. Tell them how special they were. How much he loved them. How they made a difference in this world. That he believed in them. Such a legacy. (And one I want to leave one day.)
It’s hard to believe Jim’s actually gone. But only from our sight. We’ll miss him here, and greatly anticipate that day when we’ll see him again There. His family is in my earnest prayers.
More Silver Linings today. Jon and I traveled to Pennsylvania very last minute for the funeral. Needed help with the kids, mostly Charlie and Hudson so we could go. Very last minute. Two dear families welcomed the boys into their homes with arms open wide. Hudson in particular isn’t an easy guest. (Hudson’s five, has Down syndrome.) These friends loved on our kids. Can’t imagine a more precious gift at a more a poignant time. Deeply grateful.
More Silver Linings. Family in Pennsylvania open up a guest room for us last minute. A day later, when we finally arrive back to NH after hours of construction on I-84, a delicious homemade meal waits. Kind friends. Spoke volumes to these weary travelers.
Thankful today for gracious people and beautiful Silver Linings that help carry us through the storms.
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Allie, you captured well a lot of my thoughts this week. Being related, we are going to share many silver linings together over the years. I remember a day after my surgery reading Jonathan’s post about Connor’s terrible accident–my heart and prayers went out to him and his family….our heart strings are tied together in many a different numbers of ways, Connor has a long road ahead and my thoughts and prayers are with this loved one for sure.
Your words regarding dear cousin Jim were so right on. Jim’s presence in our lives, whether daily by those near him, or less often by those further away, will be dearly missed. One of the hardest things with Jim was never having the chance to say goodbye. I think it is safe to say that you and I both know of no one more earnest and sincere in her greetings and goodbyes than Jim’s dear wife, cousin Jen. Her heart for others is huge, and I truly hope she feels the deep deep love of family and friends and Jesus in this valley.
While you have mentioned a lot of Silver Linings this week, and people that have “stepped up” over the last few weeks, you have also been a part of that Silver Lining for so many over the years. Thanks for being part of mine through my latest struggle…
Dear John, so glad we can help in little ways. My prayer is that you’ll be up and about much sooner than expected…keep on keeping on, you’ve got a lot of people who care rooting for you. XO
Barbara Child says
So beautifully written, Allie. I know your extended family must be so grateful for all your love and prayers, and your very presence, in their unspeakable difficulties. Healing will take time–whether physical or emotional. When you think of it, healing body or soul is one of the amazing gifts God gives us. It’s not something we can do, but must trust Him for. Praying accordingly for these who are hurting–
Thank you Barbara. You are so right. Healing is a God-given gift. In His time. XO
Aunt Pinkie says
You have captured it all faithfully – the pain of loss, but there us always a silver lining. So much healing to pray for. We have our work cut out for us! Thanks, Allie. God Bless you!
Thank you Aunt Pinkie, another silver lining is that we got to see you. Love you.
I learn so much from you Allie! It can be so hard to see those silver linings sometimes. You have helped me see them and I know you help many. Your family and friends are very fortunate to have you in their lives, me included. I am keeping your family and friend in my thoughts and prayers and also you. Such hard times, but as you say there are silver linings we just have to look and we will see them.
Those silver linings can definitely be elusive can’t they. Sometimes we really have to hunt… I think a lot of the times the silver linings are people. XOXO
Allie, adding my comments also on how encouraging you and your writings are. Continued prayers for your brother as he recovers & heals from his surgery, your cousin Jen & family & healing for this soccer player.
Thank you so much Mary, miss you and yours as always. I hope all is well. xo
Christy Smith says
You captured poignantly the pain and loss together with the hope. Thank you for sharing from your own experience, your recollections and tribute to Jim. My sentiments echo yours even though,
living on the West Coast, my time with him was a fraction of yours. Jim lived wholeheartedly, spreading cheer and good will to those with whom he spent time. It is bittersweet to think that Otto, Luke, my Mom, David and I just spent two days with him and Jenny at Jonathan’s wedding. We experienced a fascinating trolley ride together and Jim was so delightful! He will be missed by many, mostly by Jenny and the kids. He now lives what we believe. Thank you for the beautiful post about aomber linings!
Dear Christy, I’m so glad you and your family spent that precious time together with them in August at the wedding. Definitely bittersweet. Wish I had been there too. XOXO
Aunt Margie says
Love and loss, love and loss, inextricably knit together
Like waves pounding the shore, never ceasing. Thank you,
Allie, for reminding us not to get so blinded by the clouds
That we miss their silver joy filled linings. They are there
If we but look up and around. The pain isn’t diminished
Immediately but joy triumphs in the end! Our west coast prayers continue.
Thank you dear Aunt Margie. “Love and loss, love and loss, inextricably knit together
Like waves pounding the shore, never ceasing.” So poetic and true, I love that. Miss you. XO
Christy Smith says
Dear Allie, I have wondered the same thing. It just seems there is so much turmoil in the world currently, it can be overwhelming. I am so sorry for all the heartbreak you guys have been dealing with. It is hard to carry this pain, keep finding strength in that silver lining, my friend. I just returned from seeing my father (He lives in a different province). His situation is palliative. Clouds and silver linings indeed.
Thank you so much Carina, for the kind words. I can imagine your dad was so happy to see you, I hope it was a wonderful visit, friend. XO
Linda Jenkins says
This is so beautifully written. Loved the powerful quote. Thanks for being a silver lining in my life and teaching others to do the same. Love and prayers to all.
Thank you so much Linda, you have been a silver lining for many years, ever since you taught Jonathan in 6th grade. You are very special to all of us. xo
Karen @ On the Banks of Salt Creek says
Thank you for sharing. I’ll pray for all those you mentioned. I can’t imagine going through all of this (and all the other world stuff) without Jesus. So grateful for Him and all He does for us.
I know He will sustain you and your loved ones. Yes, things are bad and we are exposed to a lot more of it than ever before. I do believe in providence and that there is a plan for all of it.
Take time to be still and know that He is God. You have a lot on your “plate”.
Dear Karen, thank you so much for the encouragement and prayers. I know that’s what gets us through every day, but especially on the tough days…Loved the verse, thank you so much. XOXO
Anu-My Ginger Garlic Kitchen says
Oh Allie! How beautifully written this post is. And that quote is awesome. Prayers for everyone. You are AWESOME my friend. Wish you all joy and happiness! 🙂
Thanks friend, you are so sweet. XOXO
Our prayers go up for your beloved family and friends. May the peace of God be with you all.
Thank you Dianne, miss you and Bill so much. XOXO
How beautifully written in this post is. that quote is also awesome. I prayers for everyone. you are awesome my friends. may the peace of God is with you all. thanks for being a silver lining in my life and also teaching others to do the same. definitely, this is bittersweet. wish I had been there too. I am keeping your family and friend in my thoughts and prayers and also for you.