I meant to write yesterday.
But each time I sat down to type, the task felt impossible.
See, last week my computer crashed. While pieces and parts of my current novel-in-progress were salvaged, smoothing and repairing and working with the detritus felt overwhelming.
What a strange emotion to have about a computer crash.
Until I realized the scattered electronic pages mimicked the scattered state of my heart. A few short weeks ago, my grandfather passed away. A good grandfather. One who never hurt me. One always quick to tell a person they’re special. One who never hesitated to say he’s proud of us and we matter.
Like the loss of reams of research, edited manuscript and files upon files on my paralyzed hard drive, I don’t know if I’ll ever know precisely all I lost when I lost Grandpa Joe.
But I do know God blessed me with a closeness and a knowing in the last ten days of his life which no hard drive can contain or record. We spent days and hours and minutes visiting, he and I. A hospital room does that to people, you know: reduces the fading one to a thin, green gown; reduces the visiting one to a flower unfurled and reaching toward the old and wise one with a feverish longing to know.
To know him.
To know what mattered.
To know what matters, in the last ten days of nearly 95 years.
I still have no certainty about these things. But I have deep-bellied guffaws. Pictures of a man walking his girl to school for years, protecting her books in a special satchel built to withstand lake-effect weather and built-for-two. Stories of hard work and honesty which pays off in a lone octogenarian, limping with a cane–a long-ago employee of the giant, sleeping man in the silver casket. A man who comes to pay his respect and a funeral attended by six friends and ten family members.
One thing I am certain of: God knows our loss.
Large or small, He knows.
He goes before.
He comes behind.
And though we may feel lost and thin and stuck under the deep, cold soil of winter, He makes a way for us to emerge.
As much as we might think flowers push themselves up out of the ground, it is the warmth of the sun which pulls them.
It is the light of day that pulls open the petals which reach heavenward for more.
So instead of writing, today I knelt in the soil. Let awakening blades of grass poke between my toes. Patted spade-fuls of soil around fragile, wanting roots.
And then I watered it all.
Welcoming the spring, even as the sharp cold of winter beckons me.
And hoping in the possibility available in abundance from the impossibly merciful God.
“So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD.
His going forth is as certain as the dawn;
And He will come to us like the rain,
Like the spring rain watering the earth.”
Hosea 6:3 (NASB)