Friday, January 11, 2013

The stump.

Jerry Sittser writes of another profound image in his book, A Grace Disguised, about a tree stump.  He writes that grief is like a tree stump in your backyard... It used to be a tall, glorious tree, filling out the space with its lofty branches and greenery.  But now it is a stump.  At first, all a person can see is the stump in their backyard... a constant reminder of what used to be there.  But, slowly and surely, they begin to look around, plant some flowers, and other trees that blossom and bloom... The stump becomes an important masterpiece in the midst of a lush and thriving garden...

Right now, on my journey, I feel overcome with grief.  I feel overcome by death... I see the stump in my backyard, the death of all that was, that used to be, all that was lost in the death of my greatest blessing... the grand tree that stood tall and proud, and others came to marvel in its shade... :)  I feel like I am transitioning into some new stage... some unwanted "progression" that points me toward a new life... new seeds... a growing garden.

This may not make any sense, but I am committed to honesty for the sake of others, so here it goes... In this season of transition, I find my head spinning, grappling with past, present, and future, grasping for some certainty, some understanding, some comprehension...  My life is moving forward, but my world is radically different.  Lynn's life was complete, finished, no regrets or unfinished business... while my life is left undone, unresolved, in constant flux, unfinished.  My heart loves Lynn in the present.  The girls and I will hold him closely in our future.  Yet, we will only know him in our past (earthly speaking...).

As a Christian, I grapple with God's sovereignty over my life, leading me, planning and preparing me,  mixed with the shock and trauma of catastrophic loss.  Circumstances like, for years I prayed for a miracle, that God would lead us into financial freedom, I got down on my knees and begged God to make a way for us to be in His will and still be debt free... Now I am in a more stable financial position than we ever were before...  My prayers were answered?  There was a dream, not yet shared, that Lynn had as a child... We fought off the beasts that came at us from the forest, side by side, until Lynn stood back and I went on alone, conquering the final beast by myself... 

When my head is spinning with all of these details, I find myself zeroing in on the stump in my backyard.  It doesn't make any sense.  I want to understand it.  Why is there a stump in my backyard in place of my tree?  What was the sense in cutting it down?  

God is a great Gardener... He is calling me to move, just a step, beyond the stump. To look around my backyard and (at least be willing) to plant some seeds.  I see the Holy Spirit, lightly dancing/working around my yard, (like the character depicted in The Shack, by William P. Young). No matter what, despite everything, in all circumstances, God gives life to everything.

The stump is an essential part of my story.  I wish I could understand it, but I can't.  Knowing that God can use it, can bring good out of it, doesn't help.  It offers purpose, but does not ease the pain of catastrophic loss.  The stump will always be there, but my garden will grow... Someday my yard will be lush and green and thriving.  The stump will sit, perfectly accentuated by the surrounding artistry, masterfully designed by my great Savior and King...

1 comment:

  1. having the stump, means you have removed the thing blocking your site. You are able to see past the tree that was blocking your view?

    My stumps in my yard have now become a sitting place to take beautiful protraits of what was being obstructed:)