Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sometimes I Pay Attention in Church

So, this Sunday the pastor of a church I visited talked about adopting an attitude of thankfulness. When he included Greek verb tenses his explanations, I nearly swooned because I love grammar. No, really, I do. It was a great message, and I took lots of notes. Don't know the guy's name.
I am thankful for time. I've been thinking a lot lately about how patient God is--and how gracious to bestow on us the gift of time.  Through/with/because of time we can heal. We forgive, forget, or sometimes just soften the image. We gain perspective and become wise. Maybe. We become better people simply because of the passage of time. 
I know that this is my time to grieve, and I know that God will not rush me through this.
For about ten seconds, though, I wrestled with the thought that it might be wrong of me not to be thankful for Maura's death or her illness. I mean, I'm really not one bit thankful that she had cancer and died. Duh. No shocker there. Does God expect me to be? No. I think He expects me to do just what I'm doing: move through my grief through time. Left foot, right foot. 
However, I also think that I ought to purposely thank God for other things in my life because my attitude may be on some sort of movable linear scale. On one end is thankfulness; on the opposite end is bitterness.  And, I don't think I can remain stagnant; I am constantly moving toward one side or the other.  Mind you, lots of the time, my grief consumes me to the point of not feeling thankful for anything. Like I said, God is patient, and He will wait for the other times, like right now, when I can begin to list what I'm thankful for. The list quickly becomes so long and detailed, it borders on the ridiculous (my family; colored plastic-coated paper clips; a job that I love; that Korean lemon tea that I eat like jam...). 
Not so ridiculous, though. 
Not so ridiculous to have an infinite number of blessings from an infinite God.
I am thankful for time. 
I thank Him for allowing me to mourn and for not expecting too much. 
I am thankful for all the healing that is taking place within me, even when I don't know it, just because of time. 
Mostly, it comes down to this: I am thankful that God is God. 


Sue G said...

I so agree. I am thankful every day of my life that God is God and that I don't have to be THAT wise or THAT forgiving or THAT loving. Some days I strive to be. In fact, I like to think that most days I strive to be. But, I am human, and some days it takes too much energy to rise above my circumstance and stand in a bigger picture of reality.

But one thing my cancer journey has taught me: I can only stand in faith if I stand in gratitude...if I find even just one little thing to be grateful for...if I can look at any situation and find a little God in it. I know when I do that the "little" soon transforms into a much bigger vision of God than I imagined...a much bigger sense of good than I had thought possible.

I truly believe you are walking your own journey of grief with a great deal of passion, integrity, and grace. No matter where you fall on that bell curve between gratitude and bitterness, the coin remains unchanged. Those two emotions are just flip sides of the same coin....the coin that is made of the precious metal and even more precious mettle that is you.

Step by step, you're a wonderful example to all who are hurting or too afraid to be hopeful. You show them that there is life in living and living in life.

No matter what.

Sue G www.caringbridge.org/visit/sueguenther

Elsa D. said...

Erin, if I ever go to Texas I will love to try your creme de papaia.
fiquei com agua na boca :)

Kathy said...

Sometimes, I pay attention in church too at least, when I can go. We had a discussion recently about bringing what we have to the table and giving it to God and He will transform it into something else. I think with your blogging and your willingness to share your grief and Maura with us, you are changing and transforming those around you. We all strive to be a little more patient. We all swing from thankfulness to bitterness. We all hold feelings inside that are too embarrassing or raw to share. I appreciate your human-ness and candor. As a cancer patient, I am thankful for the lessons you teach me.

As a side note of silliness...I look for inspiration in odd places. I recently watched the Finale of Touched by an Angel. I found it extremely comforting and moving. That show was one of my guilty little pleasures. If you have a couple hours to kill, look up the Finale on YouTube. One part is missing but the important parts are there.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mrs. De Souza

Do the world a favor and write a book. Despite the subject matter, your words are moving..and i leave your blog everytime with puddles of tears on my shirt. May the Lord Bless you and Keep you.