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Listening at the Speed of Life

– by C. J. Wade –

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death

Thursday Love: Either Way

Good Morning, Family!

I hope you slept well last night. Sammy and I were knocked out. I prayed for you before I went to bed and this sentiment floated to the surface of my spirit from earlier in the day –

Either way, I win.

Let that roll around your current status for a minute and say it to yourself if you have to.

Either way, I win.

So, I am having surgery in a couple of weeks and an evil thought crept up recently. “What if you die on the table? You could lose a lot of blood.” Just as rudely as it walked up to my pretty bubble of peace, I snapped back. “Either way, I win,” I said aloud without flinching. I said it so fast that while my spirit was resolved, my mind was like “Wait… what did you just say?” This conviction was coming from a woman that used to be afraid to go to sleep because I was afraid of dying. I would clean the house because I was scared that if I died, someone would gossip about my tidiness. Have you ever had those thoughts? Weird, I know, but we keep it real around here, right? Right!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

That response, that level of confidence is a new but comfortable space for me in this season and it doesn’t just apply to this physical body. When someone says something off color to me or treats me negatively, I’m developing this same attitude in those spaces like a thick layer of smooth leather over cool steel. On the outside, it may look like the word or deed damaged me to the core but it didn’t. I’m covered. I have layers now.

Whether you speak life or speak ill of me, I win. That’s just a little fertilizer, I say to myself. Thank you, Sandpaper, I say quietly to an offensive person. Either way, I win because I grow in Love and wisdom. Either way, my armor is strengthened and I develop into a better version of myself. I don’t have to fear the pendulum’s sway from left to right. I win. If I die during surgery (I pray that I don’t, but still…), I leave this earth with Love on my mind and memories of the same through beautiful relationships. There is no one in my circle that doesn’t know how I feel about them. I have done my absolute best to allow the Love of Christ to transform, expand, then spill out of me. I will see my Creator and I believe I will see loved ones I’ve missed. If I wake up in post-op, I still win because the journey continues toward more enriching experiences. More opportunities to spread Love on this planet. I’m with Paul on this one when he talks in Philippians 1.

For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die.

Philippians 1:20 NLT

Either way, I win.

Either way, you can win too. It’s like what a member of the transient community said to me one day – “I’m blessed any way the wind blows.”

Say these phrases at work, at home, and anywhere else you need it. Once they stand tall in your soul, so will you.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Wind Down: Pillars

Hi, Family!

Last week was rough.

I wanted to post, but after a couple of deaths in my circle, I just wanted to go to bed after work. Usually I can push through and even blog the next day, but I simply didn’t have it in me… so I thought.

When I’m full (sad, tired, excited, all of it), one of my coping behaviors is to free write. Whatever is on my mind ends up on the page. Sometimes it’s difficult to read later, but at least it isn’t swirling in my soul without a place to land or filling my mind with stress. In this case, I was sad and frustrated at the grieving process. In essence, I wanted the rawness of the loss to pass. The part of grief where everything is firing and numb at the same time. So, I wrote the following to keep the process moving. I hope it gives you hope if you’re experiencing the same.

When Pillars Pass

When a person that has shaped your life passes away, the Earth shifts a little. She knows she is carrying a heavyweight. She welcomes the return. She exhales in relief and says welcome home. When her role is fulfilled, the spirit of that Pillar ascends to its Originator and the sky opens up her arms and smiles. “Hello, Baby,” she says like an 85-year-old grandmother with cocoa-weathered skin and a warm smile spread across her face. Head slightly tilted to let you know it’s real. I believe that’s what happens when we die.

Photo by Rachel Claire on Pexels.com

But when Pillars pass… when a person who amplified divine gifts in you, there’s more. Let me explain how it feels to me.

Pillars aren’t supposed to move. They’re the support beams of your existence. All around, you can find their impact on your life. So when they die, a vacuum effect removes the land from beneath your feet. All that you know and reverenced. All that you upheld now feels like grains of sand you can’t stop from falling between your fingers. It’s an alternate reality. Your footing feels off like you’re in a wicked funhouse. You can tell your axis has changed, but before you lose all control, those grains of sand start filling the holes beneath your feet. You remember the words he said and the cakes she made. You hear his laughter as the sand migrates toward your heart. Wisdom. Jokes. Phone calls. Food runs. The memories overtake you and suddenly, you are sonically surrounded by the beauty of her voice.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Then, you smile.

The sand starts to feel more like a warm blanket of comfort. It doesn’t take away the sting of their absence, but it does create a force field of love around you. Whatever she deposited in you floats to the surface. His life-giving words are saturated enough to water your soul again.

That’s the beauty of Pillars. Although it hurts like hell to lose them, they give you everything you need to stand on your own. Everything you need to continue.

Photo by Hert Niks on Pexels.com

I wish I could press a big pause button that would prevent them from passing away, but deep down we know those people in our lives will transition at some point. So, what do you do when it happens? You remember their gifts. You recall their lessons. You remind yourself that you were a vessel they valued and that they shared priceless oil with you.

I know it’s difficult.
I know the tears are inevitable.
It doesn’t mean your grief is weak.

It means you were blessed to be born into her family. You were favored to cross paths with him. Take daily comfort in knowing that s/he knew you were good ground to sow their seeds. The same seeds of wisdom and skill they could have died with are now in you.

So use them and sow them well. Don’t let their teaching die with you. Don’t let the natural process of grief choke the new growth that is happening inside.

Grow up and be a Pillar to someone else.
The same oil is still needed.

I’m praying for all of you that are missing your loved ones. I’m so sorry you’re hurting. You are surrounded by prayers of love, peace, comfort, and warm memories that make you smile. 🙂

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Wednesday Wind Down: Solidarity

Hi, Sweethearts.

My heart has been heavy for those left to bury their loved ones at this time. If you’re in that number, I can’t shake the insurmountable inconvenience this pandemic poses on you. Final arrangements being curated over the phone. Creating streaming capabilities for such a personal moment. Sitting six feet apart from each other during the eulogy. The inability to console your family with the warmth of your arms. And for the ministers, funeral directors, morticians, and cemetery workers… I can’t imagine the stress and emotional boundaries you must maintain right now.

It’s horrible and I’m sorry.

While we walk in the faith of healing and restoration, sometimes the steps we take do not reach that happy ending. It’s difficult to experience and I don’t have the answer as to why it happens, so I won’t offend you by presenting a false rationale or a super churchy response. As much as it hurts, the truth is our loved ones die when we thought they would come home from work. When we didn’t know they were sick. The day before their birthdays. When we thought they would see the end of this pandemic. The timing is never perfect for us. Never.

TWW blog post image (1)

Place this gravitas in the middle of a worldwide initiative to minimize touch and you have a recipe for grief to yell loudly or muffle the mouth of the sufferer. A wall of emotions hovers at this physical impasse. And while I could give you a plethora of Bible verses to soothe your pain, all I want to do is stand next to you and hold your hand as your loved one is lowered into the ground. I want to have tissue on-hand as we sit together. I wish I could hug you. Yes, all of you. Whether they pass away from COVID-19 or not, it’s just a crummy time to not be close.

So, I had to write this post to say I’m sorry you’re going through this and I’m praying for you. Every day. You are not alone and I love you.

Peace & Blessings, Sweethearts.

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #6

Prayer: “I don’t understand this one. You’re going to have to help me with this. I don’t get it. Why did they have to die? Why couldn’t you just take someone else? This just doesn’t make sense. I don’t get it.”

I admit that I have thought about the following: Why did she have to die in a car accident? Why did he have to die with Alzheimer’s? Why did she die before seeing me graduate? 

I know it’s not acceptable Christian vernacular, but I’m guilty of asking God why he didn’t take someone else’s life in place of the ones I love. I thought of the rapists, the murderers, the pedophiles… the ones deemed by society as below hell’s respect of persons, then I thought of how sweet my persons were. How undeserving their deaths were in my eyes. I couldn’t wrap my rationale around the reality of my persons no longer being a phone call away and to be brutally honest, I was pissed. Why would a good God take away pieces of my heart? Some deaths were easier to handle while others pushed me off my axis. What was I supposed to do with that… all of that anger and confusion?

I questioned my faith. I questioned the validity of the Bible. I didn’t want to hear that they were “in a better place.” I wanted them here. With me. No exceptions. No soothing back rubs. No funeral flowers. Just here… where I could touch them. Talk to them. Love on them again. At those times, the only prayer I could release were the words above and I had to trust that God wanted to hear my pain just as much as my praise.

During those seasons, I clung to this Bible verse with every fiber of my weakness. It was the only thing that made sense because it described how I felt.

Psalm 34:18
Courtesy of YouVersion – The Bible App

The most difficult thing to do was to crawl my way back to Love after feeling scorned by it. I had to come to terms with the truth that I didn’t know the prayers of my persons. It could have been one of relief or swiftness. I don’t know. I just knew I was hurting and my prayer lines were on life support. Eventually, I made my way from a crawl to a kneel like a fighter recovering from a blow. Kneeling transitioned to standing. Breathing slowly. Then came walking forward. No one could rush me or assign a path to my process. Only God could resuscitate me back to life and I had to grow to the point to let Him do it.

I love you all and pray that you feel confident to pray a real prayer of grief whenever you’re ready. He can handle it. Trust me. I’m a living, breathing, walking witness of that. You are still more than a conqueror. You are still strong. It’s just time for you to be honest about the rest.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Transpiration

There have been a lot of deaths around me in the last few weeks. Friends, family, students, and co-workers have lost loved ones unexpectedly. I know that within the silence of poverty and conflict, people die everyday, but in recent news, there have been outbreaks of crime like sporadic wildfire. Random shootings, suicides, and bodies found. When clusters of deaths happen around the same time, I always ask the question “What does this mean? Why now?”

What I got was the message below. It came so fast that my hands could barely keep up as I wrote it on a nearby sticky note. IMAG3365

Transpired is not the same as expired.
We transpire, not expire.
Our lives are transpiration; the transpiration
should be inspiration.

I must admit – I didn’t know transpiration was a word. I figured it had to be because of expiration and inspiration. So, I looked it up. You won’t believe what I found (unless you’re a hydrologist).

“Transpiration is the process by which moisture is carried through plants from roots to small pores on the underside of leaves, where it changes to vapor and is released to the atmosphere. Transpiration is essentially evaporation of water from plant leaves.” (U.S. Department of the Interior/U. S. Geological Survey)

My eyes got so big after reading that definition, and so did my understanding of the words I heard. Check this out.

Since we are the seeds of God and He formed us from the ground, we are essentially spiritual plants on Earth. Have you ever heard of “Bloom where you’re planted?” There you go. Well, when we die, we return to the dirt from whence we came, yet our souls are not expired. They are transpired from our bodies. If you read my post Water Proof, you’ll see where this is headed.

We are made of water and dirt. How appropriate for a seed to transform into a plant. Since we have been planted, at some point, we must be harvested. It’s gruesome to think about. It makes me cringe, but it’s the truth. The fruit of us – the lives we’ve touched, the people we’ve birthed, the service we’ve rendered – lives beyond the harvest. Essentially, we pass from one state of being into another in a form, i.e. spiritual transpiration. We don’t expire when we live in Christ. We don’t choose the manner in which loved ones transpire, but if they have been an ambassador for Christ on Earth, drenched in His living water… I believe we transition in Him as well.

Some believe in reincarnation while some believe there is no eternal home for the soul, and I respect your beliefs with sincerity. The following prayer is mine:

May we all transpire after we have expired all that
we were purposed to inspire on Earth.

Peace & Thanks for listening.

Photo courtesy of picture-perfect-world.tumblr.com

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