The ninth month…

In the ninth month of the year, the number we give birth to what we carry, bring life forth from what we’ve nurtured with our own food and blood, God has wept.  He weeps because living people, pure, good and provided for ache so deeply, their wounds hurt others.  He weeps because we cry out in pain and mourning for loss.  He weeps because the pain of loss is real, the roots of loss grow deep and strong.  He weeps because life is precious.

But He knows.

He knows the mightiest oak has roots mightier and deeper than ever the highest branch.  He knows the greater heart, more powerful love will feel heaviest pain, the sharpest sting… The greatest hearts don’t break.  Even when the pain of labor is at its worst.  He knows light shines brightest in darkness.

At the grocer yesterday I saw a middle-aged man, in a grimy mechanic’s shirt and filthy jeans with oil stains up his arms zip past me with a grin on his face.  He was riding his grocery cart, full of provision for his little girls while they ran along side him squealing gleefully.  He must have been working his butt off all day but in that moment, nothing else mattered or brought him greater joy than drinking life in with raucous zeal for and with his family.

From infancy and as we get older, we look to our parents and loved ones for guidance and leadership for the right heart posture.  Even when the world seems full of lack, pain, or strife, our parents set the tone and lead us through the joy of childhood.  God bless those who have a father or mother who believes in joy, love and fun.

When our loved ones have fulfilled all this world had called them to be, we suddenly have to uncover a higher place for leadership and thankfully, it’s there waiting patiently, concerned and ready.

When we’ve had the privilege of living alongside our loves through this life, remember we were put together for a reason.  Remember it is in our own lives we honor that purpose.  Remember through their life we shared in joy, fun, and love:  Our goal must be to return to a place of honor that both continues their legacy and embraces the joy of our relationship with them, of their love for life.

Our loved ones remain with us, understanding our pain and grieving that they’ve caused us to hurt.  Now is the time to remember their loving embrace, to care for ourselves in health and strength of spirit so the tears of mourning wash us clean.

So our lives continue to honor the spirit of those who reached their finish line before us.

There is nothing given to us we can’t bear.  We always have everything we need to survive each moment: We just have to look around for opportunity and be willing to ask for, or take it.

Our hardest times in life are the spiritual equivalent of Olympic training: It is painful, ugly, raw, and seemingly unbearable.  No one highlights or glorifies Olympians taking ice baths, vomiting, or crying tears of pain, nor the people who help them get through all of the ugliness.

But they damn sure focus the spotlight on the gold medal when its given.

When pain is strongest, let yourself be washed, loved, and cared for by the greatest loved one of all: God.  He never gets tired, feels taken advantage of, says the wrong thing, judges, or does anything other than what is right and perfect, even if it doesn’t make sense to us.

Keep pressing forward.

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