Yesterday I cried most of the way from here to York, Maine where Gail and I were meeting for lunch at Stonewall Kitchen. Too much memory. Remembering one year ago at MGH, wearing masks and gloves and wishing to touch Jud without stuff between us. Now, we’re in two worlds and I wish I could just see his face, his smile, his eyes. Some days it feels like his face is fading away, blurring from my memory. How can life feel so out of kilter and yet, know deep inside, underneath the sadness and longing, that all is well?
Last night our Bible study group met. I love and need that cluster of kindness, their prayers and insights. We talked about immigration, aliens and strangers in the world, in our world. There are many reminders in the Bible to “welcome strangers.” Exodus 23:9 says,”Do not oppress an alien; you yourselves know how it feels to be aliens, because you were aliens in Egypt.”
But do I really know”how it feels to be an alien” ? We talked of our backgrounds and where we’d come from. None of us claimed to be Native Americans. Sometimes, prosperity breeds forgetfulness. It can be a form of masks and gloves, separating us from touching someone we’re meant to know, to love. God reminds us in Exodus 22 to not take advantage of widows, orphans and aliens….the vulnerable ones. Now that I am one, I pray for widows.
One of the daily challenges for me is to embrace the wonder and joy of life while acknowledging the loss of Jud and other changes in me and life as I’ve known it. Tonight we celebrated Katharan Poco Blossom Carlberg’s 5th birthday. Pizza and presents, cake and more than a dozen children plus their parents filled Chad and Kristina’s house with joy…and a few balloons. The house, still under construction, took it all in.
At one point I showed Kristina a gift I’d received in today’s mail from Laura, one of my “Gordon girls.” She’s now a trustee! Laura sent me the cutest “business” cards I’ve seen. Circular, about the size of a silver dollar, stating, “Jan Carlberg, Blogger and the web address.” Kristina stood on the steps in the living room and shamelessly broadcast the blog and handed out the cards. I felt honored about the gift from Laura and Kristina’s passionate endorsement but I also felt odd. Like who am I and what am I becoming? What is a blogger?
Reading my journal on this date last year reminds me of part of who I am. A Fighter. A fighter like Jud and almost all the “aliens/strangers” in our family who left their countries to come to this one. Last year I wrote down this verse from I Timothy 1: “All those prayers are coming together now so you will do this well, fearless in your struggle, keeping a firm grip on your faith and on yourself. After all, this is a fight we’re in!!” And it was a fight at MGH for Jud, especially. And now, I fight different battles to believe, to go on.
A fight to remember we were all aliens and strangers…so dust off the welcome mat and toss the masks and gloves.
A fight to remember to wholeheartedly embrace life while not ignoring the truths of life, death and loss.
And tonight, a fight to write, even when I feel like words stay just beyond reach, like one of Kate’s balloons.
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