Monday, November 12, 2012
I knew that it was a gift beyond measure the moment that she walked through the store-front entrance and our eyes sparked recognition. It was then that I had began to jump, up-and-down-giddy, at the opportunity to see my old friend. I had almost hurried right out the front door because of my to-do-list without end, but my girls had persisted, and reluctant, I'd stopped to fill their bellies with a mid-day snack of soft pretzels and cinnamon.
To think that I would have missed this moment for that list.
I had chosen to rest there and it was the resting that had put me in sight of God's mercy.
It was late August and the season had begun to change.
The cancer that had bullied for months had returned, and even as we spoke, I knew that she was being pressed to make whirl-wind preparations to leave everything and everyone that she loved so that she could do battle for them.
Her sons had tugged and pulled boyishly at her side and she wondered out loud how it would all get done.
When the time to linger was gone, we hugged and said good-bye, and I counted.
Three figures, the sum of which meant, completion.
I'd been cataloging portions of my days this way since life first began constricting. It was like being lost and looking for pebbles left for me in the woods so that I could find my way out from under the canopy of shadows.
Jen's diagnosis came soon after my counting habit began, and when she shared with me that she too had wanted to read Ann Voskamp's book, 1000 gifts, I could think of nothing better to do with my copy.
In that moment, did she know that I numbered her a blessing?
Weeks after our time together, the news arrived.
It was carried in on the familiarly intertwined Central Oregon air of woodsmoke, juniper, pine, and sage. It rushed in quickly, and as it left, it drew my breath with it.
I had not expected autumn to arrive so swiftly.
As excited as I was for my trip to Allume, I was saddened to realize that I would be in Harrisburg during Jen's life celebration. As it got closer to her service, it became more of a struggle to stay present; my thoughts jumped from bank to bank between my surroundings and the multitude of people back home who were gathering to say good-bye.
I continued to utter soft heart-prayers for her family and friends who were experiencing such deep loss, and I petitioned God to walk and lead and comfort.
And God continued to lay down pebbles, calling, this truly is the way.
As I came to my table, distracted and late for lunch, my friends excitedly informed me that my name had been selected-- that there was a gift for me back out in the hallway.
God had tenderly chosen that moment to replace my copy of Ann Voskamp's book that I had given away to Jen.
Yet another reminder of his goodness.
Yet another reminder that regardless of the season, he desires for us to find him.