Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bleeding Hearts

This is a post I have written over and over in my mind but just never could get around to posting. I had plenty of light-hearted things subjects that I could have posted on (and hopefully will, once I get this post out of the way), but they seemed trivial compared to what my heart has been going through this spring.

As most of you know (since only family and a few close friends probably read my blog), my mother is dying. She has been suffering with both Stage IV cancer AND dementia - a sort of double-whammy that took us all by surprise last fall. Instead of complaining, she chose to count her blessings and set the example of quiet trust. I've been blessed to be able to spend lots of time with her the past six months. Even as her mind was betraying her, I have memories of laughing with her, singing with her, reading to her and even calling the hogs with her. My heart is bleeding as she lies in the next room on probably the last day of her life, but my heart is also full because of her love.

Also, as most of you know, this spring we decided to sell our beloved family home in Johnson City and move to Knoxville. To say this was not an easy decision is the understatement of a lifetime. I am so sentimentally attached to this house and the memories we have shared in it. Our family has so many great friends that we have made in the 22 years we have lived in Johnson City. In fact, I have lived there longer than I've lived anywhere in my life. We didn't know when we signed the papers that the timing of our move would coincide with my mother's passing and that I wouldn't even be there to help pack. I never got to say goodbye, but I had a bigger goodbye going on.

Many years ago, we planted a bleeding heart bush right by our back deck. You can see it from the kitchen window. It has flourished to become the largest bleeding heart plant I have ever seen. I just love it! In fact, bleeding hearts are now my favorite flowers. The little delicate pink hearts hanging all in a row take my breath away with their beauty. My daughter has grown to love it as well. For her, it has inspired many photo sessions, watercolors, drawings and even jewelry-making attempts. It was just one of many things we would have to say goodbye to when we moved away.

This spring something happened to this plant that never has before. A late frost killed the blooms, and the plant that normally would have bloomed through July had only a brief window of beauty. It was almost as if it was grieving with us. But something else also happened - the plant put out a "baby" just a few feet away - a small shoot of a new plant that we could dig up and take with us to our new home. Rebecca has it sitting in a pot in her dorm room right now. Our hearts will go on.

And that's sort of a metaphor for what's going on in my life. I know that God will heal my broken heart.

One song that has meant a lot to me this spring is "Come Lift Up Your Sorrows" by Michael Card. I love these lyrics, and I am learning to worship God with my wounds. It is the sweetest worship I have known.

"Come lift up your sorrows and offer your pain
Come make a sacrifice of all your shame
There in your wilderness He's waiting for You
To worship Him with your wounds, for He's wounded too

In this most holy place, He's made a sacred space
For those who will enter in, and trust to cry out to Him
And you'll find no curtain there, no reason left for fear
There's perfect freedom here, to weep every unwept tear"