Two Years

Two years ago the shrill ringing of the phone
broke the silence of a peaceful night.
Quiet words were spoken and heart-wrenching sobs
came welling up from deep within.

Two years.
What are two years in a lifespan?
A minor drop in the bucket.
What are two years grieving a death?
The feeling of a lifetime.

T 3-07

Tris, we miss you still, we always will.
So much remains the same,
so much about us has changed.

We still congregate at Mom’s
because we love to be together.
We still sit around the table and talk,
catching up on each other’s lives.
We still sit around the fire outside,
but now we watch the sky, the moon,
knowing you are somewhere out beyond.

T 5-14

We still speak your name,
in a good memory, a loud story
or something we know you would love.
We laugh more, cry less,
but miss you just the same.
The ache in our hearts is still there
because you are still missing.

T 4-12

The children are growing, changing,
getting taller without permission.
They miss the kickball games, roasting marshmallows,
playing in the shop, and long bumpy jeep rides with you.
Tyson has a little girl now.
I know how excited you would have been for him
and all the advice and comments you would have had.
Your two girls are growing up, tall and sweet,
becoming beautiful little ladies.
And your son, He is so much like you in so many ways.
I know you would have laughed
and loved to see him in action like we do.

T 7-14

In the middle of missing you,
we are so grateful and thankful.
It was our privilege to have you
as part of our lives, our family.
We are so thankful to be the ones
who knew you best, the real you.
We smile when we remember your laugh
and are thankful for all our conversations.
Our lives would be so much less
if we had not had almost 33 years with you,
and for all those years, we are grateful.

T 6-15

Time keeps moving along,
often with us dragging our feet.
Some days it feels like we never move,
others we look back to the beginning
and see the far distance we have come.
We would not be where we are today
if it were not for Jesus.
He gives us grace to face each day,
courage to rise on the next,
and strength to put another foot forward
to keep walking this journey.

T 11-12

Two years ago our hearts were broken,
never to be the same again.
As we knelt at the side of that upturned dirt
we whispered, “Good-bye for now,
we’ll be there soon!”

Tris, we miss you still, we always will.

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Walking With the Grieving

Grief-walking is a very long and lonely road. It is so long, in fact, it really has no end because as long as one lives, they will grieve their losses. As long as one lives, a part of their heart will be missing, holes left by the ones gone before.
While it is long and lonely, without fail Jesus is with us, helping to bear this burden. Sometimes he is a quiet presence you feel inside, other times he is there in a tangible sense in the form of a friend or neighbor.
Being willing to be Jesus to a hurting heart means so much to the one grieving. They see you putting yourself aside and giving time and talents to walk beside them. During my grieving, I was blessed in so many ways through the people around me. I knew without a doubt that they loved me, cared for me and while some had never walked this road, they were willing to step into my pain and be there for me. That is true friendship!

One thing to always remember is everyone is different. God created everyone unique and He loves that about us. Because of this, we will also grieve in our own unique way, each one differently than anyone else. When someone is not grieving as you think they should, just be gentle, give them time, love and encouragement.

This post is a compilation of many, many people’s thoughts and feelings. I had a very good response to my questions. Because everyone is different, there are many different ways listed to help someone. Not everyone will agree with everything listed here, so when you want to do something for someone, take into consideration what they would appreciate. Another thing to note, this list is full of things to do for anyone in need, not just a grieving person. Let’s be Jesus to someone today!

Prayer
“I would like to thank every person who has let me know they are praying for me.”
This cannot be overdone, it just cannot. There is so much power in prayer!
I’m not sure where I would be today if it weren’t for praying people.

Send a card.
This is an excellent idea because mail is always appreciated. Along with the card, write a note, a verse, a poem or something of meaning. Words carry weight!
“During the first year, I had a friend who sent a little something in the mail every month about the time my mom died.”

“I love when people talk to me about my loved one.”
This one was mentioned often. To know that the one you are missing has not been forgotten is so important. Talk about them by name, tell them what you miss or what you remember, or ask a question about them.

Babysitting
It was hard to think with the noise of small children around all the time. To have a few hours of peace and quiet alone was worth so much.

“I had church responsibilities when my loved one died. I wish someone would have offered to take my place teaching Sunday School for the rest of my term.”

Remember the important dates. Birthday. Anniversary. Date of death.
Remember with a word, a card, a text, or anything. Just remember.

Send Flowers
Not just over the time of the death, but flowers are appreciated anytime, like important dates or for no reason but to show you care.

“My loved one lived in a different community and over the time of the hospital stay and then death, we spent a lot of time and money on travel. Days off work are costly, gas is expensive. I wish someone had thought of this and if they were able, would have given towards our expenses in this way. Children are often bored while driving. A care package for them would have been wonderful!”

“A friend came just to sit and listen. She didn’t have words of advice, she just sat and listened to me cry and talk. It meant so much.”
It’s okay if you don’t have words, you don‘t need words. We are all prone to want to think of something to say, to have a beautiful reply for every problem, but the gift of sitting and listening is comfort in itself.

“I have a dear friend who stopped in about every week to chat, have coffee, or lunch or whatever. I never had to worry about how the house looked or what she would think of me. It felt so good to inhale the fresh air she brought with her.”

“When someone lets me share my story over and over, it’s therapy. It hurts, but it’s also healing.”

“Do. Not. Judge. And don’t make assumptions either. If you don’t understand, that’s ok. Likely the grief-walker doesn’t understand themselves or the situation any more than you do. Just love and give grace.”

“I wish people had not judged me for the dumb moves I made when my mind was numb with grief. I wish they would have encouraged me instead.”

“I know I am different than I used to be, I know grief has changed me. I just want people to give me grace and time to find the new me.”

“Don’t compare. I wish people would understand that everyone grieves differently. Just because your sibling died doesn’t mean you know how I feel when my Mom died.”

“After losing our baby at 13 weeks someone told me “Well I guess you just need to think about people who have it worse than you do”. Sure I get that, but when you are in the midst of hard grief, that’s not what you need to hear.”

“My Sunday School teacher didn’t put me on the spot by asking me about my loss in front of the entire class because she knew it would be too much for me.”

“Even if I look like I have it all together and am handling it well, inside I still want to hear that someone cares!”

“As a widow, friends are precious that are willing to stand by and be there when times are tough and you don’t even understand yourself! -see James 1:27-
Have a listening ear and not try to fix.
Words of life and encouragement are worth a lot!
If they have children, especially boys, there are godly men needed to be mentors!
A helping hand and acts of service are huge! Outside work, washing off the vehicle has meant a lot to me!!
Be open to what the Holy Spirit leads you, HE so knows when the need for a phone call, visit or coffee shop time!”

“She put a stack of note cards on my table filled with encouraging Bible verses to read when it was hard to open my Bible.”

Be available.
Let them know that you are available, day or night, no matter what time, for a call or text. Just be there.

“I really appreciated the people that listened to me the first year after our loss. Their listening ears helped me process my grief and shock. I really appreciated the few people who weren’t afraid to help me bear this messy, unpredictable burden of grief. I know my actions and responses hurt them at times, but still, they were gracious.”

“I have never experienced grief to this extent – I’ve had friends who have been thru those hard things. I’ve been putting effort into learning how to be a better friend to someone who is experiencing this. Someone who has faced trauma and sudden death said to the rest of us “We assume that we know how we will grieve when faced with death and we expect everyone else to grieve that way. The truth is that no one knows how they will react or grieve.” This has been very helpful to me when walking alongside a friend. And also being ok with being, uhm, maybe I could say, hurt by the grieving friend. In other words, understanding that they are hurting so badly that sometimes they hurt others unintentionally. So being willing to lay that hurt aside for the sake of the friendship.”

Acts of Service
“So many people brought meals and showed their love and care with food!”

Everyone needs to eat and it is hard to think about cooking at such a time!
Another lady said, “Bringing meals WITHOUT asking. It can be hard to say yes to an offer, but when a meal just shows up or is left in the freezer at church for you, it is such a blessing.”
Or this one, “Someone brought freezer meals in tinfoil pans for me. On days when I couldn’t think to cook, I used them and never had to worry about returning the dishes.”
If you have children, this one is great. “Once a month a lady dropped off a big bowl of cookies for us.”

Do some cleaning for her.
Not everyone is okay with this so if the person you are wanting to bless is home, send a text and ask if it’s okay. There is no end to the cleaning if you have a family and I’m sure there will be something you can do.
*When my brother died I know some ladies came over and cleaned my house while we were gone for the funeral. I am embarrassed to ask who all saw it in its messy state, but I am grateful for their kindness.

Money
Funeral expenses are astounding and even the smallest donation helps.

Ask. If you don’t know, just ask.
“Would you like to go out to eat with us or would you rather I bring a meal to your house?” “Would you like for me to take your children today or stay and clean your flowerbeds?”

“The smallest acts of kindness mean so much! When someone came for the evening and brought a little snack, it was so encouraging. When they dropped off a loaf of fresh bread or came and raked my leaves. Just little things, but they took time out of their busy schedule to be there for me.”

“After our loss, we had a couple people give us groceries/snacks in 31 totes. So thoughtful and I always think of them now when I use the bags. A couple stopped in one random evening with gifts for our children and flowers for my husband and I. We also received care packages in the mail with little gifts for the kids and snacks and candy. We were also blessed by an American Express gift card, restaurant gift card and Starbucks gift card all from the same person with a card stating that we are to use the AE gift card for a getaway. This was given right around the time our baby would have been due to arrive. I found that very thoughtful as so often we had intentions of going away by ourselves but it never happened because of work/money.”

Gift Cards
These can be used at any point in time when they feel up to going out again. They can be cards for the grocery store, shopping or a restaurant.

“Take things like paper plates, toilet paper, napkins, tissues, paper towels etc. to the house of those who just lost a loved one. Someone did that for us and it was a gift.”

“Friends got me out of the house for a few hours one day. They called and said they were coming to get me. We had a good day of shopping and coffee and it gave me something else to think about for a little bit.”

“When asked, “How are you?” I often didn’t know what to say. I did love to hear someone tell me they had been thinking about me this week and prayed!”
“How are you?” is a common question, it’s just one that comes out when we don’t know what else to ask. It is a very hard question to answer in the middle of grief, so don’t be offended if the grief-walker just smiles and says, “Okay” when you know they really aren’t. Most likely they themselves don’t know how they are.
“Be willing then to step out of your comfort zone and reach out to them…….be it a text, card, flowers, meal. Just do something. It doesn’t matter how small it is. It will mean the world. All I wanted was a hug and a tangible reminder that they cared.”

A hug without words
Sometimes just knowing someone cares is huge. You do not have to say anything. Actions speak louder than words many times.

“I loved the people who came through the viewing who just hugged me, cried and said ‘I am praying for you.’ At a time of sudden loss, you can’t remember everyone that came, much less the things they have to say. But that warm hug you will remember.”

“Give the gift of a massage. It is so relaxing once all the stress is over with to go and have a massage. It seems like a small gesture, but one I loved.”

“When someone dies, don‘t forget that their close friends are also grieving deeply.”
Death affects many, not just family. Check in on friends grieving a loss also.

“I wish people would have chosen something to do instead of saying,
“Let me know if you need anything!”
Most people who say this mean it with absolute sincerity, I did when I said it. I really, truly wanted them to let me know what they needed. Since then I have come to realize that often a grieving person is unable to process and think like they normally would, especially in the initial stages of shock. When someone walks up and says, “Let me know if you need anything!” there will almost never be a reply to the request. The griever is simply unable to think of what they need. When they do think of something, they still won’t call you because it just feels so needy.
Next time instead of leaving your question open-ended, be specific.
“Would you like for me to bring supper on Wednesday or Thursday night?”
“Would it be okay for me to stop in at 10 today and clean your windows?”
“I’ll be by in 20 minutes and will clean your bathrooms for you.” and when you clean the bathroom, stock it with toilet paper and etc.
“I’m running to the grocery store. Do you need any staples like bread, milk, or eggs? Or would you have a list ready that I could have?”

“I have walked a different journey of grief by becoming a single mom and sometimes reading posts like this makes me sad! I didn’t lose my husband to death but grieved just like it was a death and people don’t know what to do in situations like this, so they do nothing. In that first year, I would have loved for someone just to bring me a meal, help me with my 5 kids (just to give me a little break since I had that responsibility 24/7) or just to come visit! I did have my family who took turns coming at least once a week for a year and not sure how we would have survived without that! I don’t want to hurt anyone with what I said, but just a reminder that you don’t have to lose a loved one to death to grieve! So if you know someone facing this type of grief now, please reach out to them just like you would if her spouse had died!”

“Grief is the conflicting feeling caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern or behavior.”

Grief is not always through actual death. There are many, many forms of grief that need to be acknowledged with encouragement and support. There is grief like she mentioned above, or infertility, miscarriages, abuse, and many things along that line that feel like an enormous weight on your shoulders. Sometimes a form of grief can be brought on by changes in your life, loss of a relationship or a job, or any number of things that don’t look like a big deal to us if we haven’t walked in those shoes. If you see someone grieving like this, reach out to them even if you don’t understand because you’ve never been there. You can still show them you care through words and actions.

In the end, there is no amount of anything that will take away the pain of loss. The pain always remains, but when there is care, love and genuine concern shown, it is like a ray of sunshine on a dark day. When a friend is willing to stoop low and help carry your burden, the load seems lighter and the path easier knowing you are loved.

his-comfort

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Our Silent Companion, Grief

Things are different now. We are missing a family member, one has gone before us leaving an empty spot in our home and hearts. Yet, we have gained an extra member, one that we are not so excited about having along side us for the rest of life. Our new family member’s name is Grief.

Grief likes to reside in the corners and at the most unexpected moments, he will tap you on the shoulder to make sure you know he is still around. He is not a friendly sort of fellow and he chooses the least appropriate times to show up. He likes to come along to church and torment you in public. Sometimes it’s the oddest places, when you pass a certain vehicle on the road or when you see an item in the grocery aisle. He is especially bad when you think you are home alone and in his quiet little way he will usually come around. Grief follows our footprints everywhere we go, at home or abroad.

With the changing of seasons, Grief always comes to life. Christmas is just around the corner and you can expect that he will appear for that too. When we pull out the boxes stuffed with decorations and lights, Grief will sneak up behind us and remind us of the one we are missing who loved Christmas so much. Grief digs up the memories of years gone by, reminding us that Christmas will never be the same again.

When the carols start playing, bells begin ringing and a quiet Silent Night is heard, Grief begins to play his own tune in our hearts. He stirs in the soul reminding us of the love of singing and carols. A tear makes its way down our cheek because singing just isn’t the same anymore, the carols have lost their sweet chime.

The names have been exchanged and we are off to do shopping, but sure enough, he sneaks along for the ride. Sometimes we could almost forget that he‘s there, then we glance at our list and wonder, “Why are there not enough names?” And there is Grief, tapping our shoulders to make sure we remember there is nothing to buy them this year, all of our gifts for them have been given.

We cook and we bake and all the while we are thinking about which person likes these desserts and who likes those sweets. Pretty soon Grief starts stirring and our minds go to those special cookies, the ones he loved so well, and the desire to bake anything just disappears.

Members of different families gather and happy chatter fills the room, people calling hello and catching up. We look around and wonder who is missing and suddenly Grief reminds us, it will always be this way, there will always be someone missing.

We call our family together, the children rustle and squirm in their seats. We look around the circle and each one is there, save one empty chair. Grief wails loudly, bringing attention to the spot, the one who is missing, yet forever in our hearts.

This member called Grief is like a needy child, constantly wanting our attention, crying to be heard and acknowledged. At times he hangs out in the background, quietly allowing some peace, but relentlessly he will surface, unable to let much time pass without a reminder. We can refuse to listen to him when he starts calling, or tell him to be quiet, but he will eventually become persistent enough that we have no choice but to acknowledge him.

Grief is now our ever-present companion, always tagging along. Not only is he with us over the Holidays, but we will live with him for the rest of time. Each time the season changes, every birthday and each beautiful fall day, he will be there. With time, we will get used to having him around but we will always carry Grief’s weight. Carrying him is the price of love, all because someone we loved so very much is missing from our life.

grief

A Tribute to Grandpa Miller

On October 5, Eric’s grandpa passed away due to failing health.
Today is the first anniversary Grandma will spend alone in 61 years.

In the days before his funeral, I asked his children and grandchildren for their memories and compiled them into a tribute to him.  

grandpa-miller-2

A Tribute to the Father of the Millers

A Husband, a Father, a Grandpa, Great-Grandpa, a Brother, and Uncle was he.
He answered to Emanuel, Manuel, Dad, Dawdy, Candy Dawdy,
Grandpa, Candy Grandpa, Great-Grandpa and Crist Joe Ale‘s Manuel.

A farmer by trade for years of his life, corn, hay, his fields and the price of beans.
Dairy and milking, silage and cows, his boys kept him company while he worked.
A daughter or two, by his side in the barn, laughing and singing with the cows.
With a son on the tractor, another in the barn, one working the hay,
and a few out back in the woods, he managed and called and directed them all.
Out through the window, his wife called his name and he gathered the boys for a meal.
Around the old kitchen table, they clambered and fought for good food,
stories of the day, laughter, and chatter all part of the meal.
After they had eaten he would pick up his Bible, in a voice filled with care,
he read from the Word, directing the hearts of his young.
A good game of softball in the soft evening light,
out by the flower garden spot, completed the day.

His children grew up and blessed him with grandchildren aplenty running ‘round.
They came down to the farm for visits, some food, and a story while he sat in his chair.
He would pull out pink candy from a pocket or two, and sneak it to little hands waiting.
Always the same kind, soon the candy was renamed after him,
affectionately known as “Dawdy Candy” which in turn named him, Candy-Dawdy.
On auction day, he would pick up excited grandchildren and take them along to the Mt. Hope sale barn. There was always time for a stop for lunch
at Mrs. Yoder’s or Boyd & Wurthmann in hopes of meeting a friend or relative.
He set the grandchildren to work, driving through fields and picking up rocks,
plenty of help for his hands. When milking time came, they followed along,
sipping milk from the bulk tank and shoveling feed for the cows.
The highlight of his week was a trip to the ball field on Monday nights.
He loved to watch his sons and grandsons swing for the fence.
When the grandchildren grew up, he enjoyed their visits anew.
Reminiscing of old was a favorite of his, those stories that he told and retold.

The day finally came that the cows had to go, other odd jobs took their place.
He would climb in his car and putter on down to host at Miller’s Essenplatz.
He visited with and seated all the people, while he chuckled and nodded replies.
When they smiled and waved on their way out the door, he would turn and reply
in his signature Dutch-accented call, “Thank-You-ah!
After everyone was gone and things quieted down, off to the back he would sneak
for his late night bowl of ice-cream, much to his wife’s dismay.

As life slowed him down, the cold Ohio winters drove him down to sunny Pinecraft.
It was months of vacation, lots of friends, a chat and a meal,
a run to the park in hopes of a friendly face to visit with.
Genealogy was his love and he knew people from far and wide,
he also knew exactly how everyone was related and to whom.
If he happened to come across a new face or two, get ready for the questions to fly.
“Now who did you say was your Dad? And your Mom’s maiden name was what?”
Before any time passed, he had them figured out and most likely they were related
to him, or at least to someone he knew.
Grandma would make donuts and coffee on cool southern mornings
and all the people would come. He chatted and reminisced, told old stories anew,
but all the while kept an eye on those donuts
and knew exactly how many were consumed and by whom.
Out for a meal in the evening with family, was something he loved to do.
His Florida favorite was Mi Tierra with fish on his platter, eyes staring back at him.
Spring would roll around and soon the North beckoned,
family and friends and his farm ground awaited him there.

Camping in the fall was a love of his with his family gathered ‘round.
He loved to sit and watch all the action, and then sternly call some command.
A crowd was usually gathered around his boys,
listening to them rehearse the old stories while everyone laughed.
He would smile and chuckle and try to add his own thoughts.
When the telling got tall with the stories of his, when all the things he had said
grew larger and funnier with time, he would silently laugh and say, “Help mich, Clarie!”
Little help she was while she giggled and shook, loving every memory she heard.
When late night fires blazed hot, guitars would start strumming
and the people would gather around singing songs of old he so loved.
In a voice all quivering with tears, he would hold up his hand and try to speak
the things that were deep in his heart.

As time moved on, age took its toll, his back stooped, bent by years of labor.
His hands were worn by the toil of the land, his eyesight slowly fading,
and his feet in a shuffle as he walked, life was coming to a close.
Yet, he had a heart full of love and a smile on his face for his wife, family, and friends.
Though his mind not as sharp the last years, that first love he had, still remained.
Holding his well-worn Bible near, with a tear-filled voice he stood often in church,
thanking his Jesus for all He had done.

While we miss him here, we rejoice with joy that He walks on streets of pure gold.
He is singing his songs and praising His Savior, perfectly healed today.
He leaves behind a legacy, a heritage, not soon forgotten, rich in love, family, and Jesus.

grandpa-miller-1

This was last year at their anniversary celebration,
a few more have been added since.

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Of Words and Grief

Tris was a quote collector.
His phone was full of all kinds of screenshots, photos, memes, quotes and you name it. Imagine everything from serious to funny and he had it saved.
I can still hear him laugh when it was a good one.

Since October I have screenshot, scribbled down and saved more things then ever before. Words that jumped out at me from a book, something that helped right at that moment, or something that was sent to me in the mail or by text. I was looking through them and the vastness was overwhelming for a post, so I just picked out a few that I have saved or created lately.

Isaiah-43-2

Without this promise, there would be no hope.
Grief-walking is a sad and lonely road, but Jesus never leaves our side.

Gone

A beautiful word picture I never tire of reading.

Family grief

We’ll send the rest of our lives missing him.

Christs Holds

There are days when everything would just swirl down the drain if it weren’t for Jesus.

duck

Never assume a grief-walker is really okay just because everything looks okay.
They may laugh and seem to have a good time, but underneath they are paddling with all their might to keep their head above water.

grief-changes-us

It changes you alright.
It changes so much about you, sometimes you don’t even know who you are inside anymore.
It changes the way you look at life, changes your perspective.
You become a different you.

Helen Keller

This is not a family any of us wish to be part of, yet as we are ushered in the door, we are surrounded by loving, caring and concerned grief-walking members. They come with open arms, understanding hearts and many tears, for our pain and their own. They know how we feel because they’ve walked this road of grief. It is ugly to relive grief, yet they allow that pain to wash over them again and again, just to walk along side the next person coming through the door. And so we are family now, no matter how much we dislike it, we are part of this grief walking family, for the rest of our life.

Hope

Even the tiniest sliver of light can be seen on the darkest night. hope.

I need help

Hope Heals - Katherine Wolf

This one is hard. I read and re-read and shake my head and wonder how it can be true.

notions of grief

If only grief were five tidy steps we could process and be finished.

Isaiah 4110

Robert Rogers - Into the Deep

This! This sums things up very well.

waves of grief

 These waves have the strangest way of catching us when we least expect it. I was at a garage sale the other day and there sat a Jeep in the drive. It was one of those waves and I just couldn’t stop the tears. I have wanted to call him so many times to tell him about something I saw, something interesting or something that would make him laugh.

you will grieve -reality

You will never be the same, all the price of loving someone.

WeMayFindRelentless

We cannot lose hope;
without hope, we have no reason to go on.

He has achieved

This best described him. This is who he was.

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He is There

Life feels heavy, weighed down with sorrow and pain.
So much sadness, so many deaths, untimely in our minds.
Yet in the middle of the mess, there is Jesus,
ever present, holding us up, carrying us, crying with us.
Never forget this!

Cross

This writing, born in deep sorrow,
yet in the middle of the never ending pain,
there is the comforting knowledge
that I am not alone, ever,
because He is there.

~~~~~~~

He Is There

When the pain is excruciating,
you are ripped open,
left wounded, raw and bleeding.
When the ache goes deep,
down to the very core of the heart.
When every beat of your heart
pounds with the pain,
He is there.

Jesus is there, He stands beside us,
not simply as a sympathetic bystander
silently watching our suffering,
but He is also in pain,
feeling the rake over the wound.
He is not only a comforting, soothing spirit,
He is experiencing our agony
to the very core of his being,
taking our pain as His own.

When we lie in a heap, heart aching and torn,
Jesus lies there too, throbbing with pain.
When we cry into our pillow at night,
torrents of tears welling up like rain,
Jesus cries too, He feels our sorrow.
When we sit in the shadows and silently weep,
Jesus sits along side, weeping with us.
He is there.

The ache of death,
the cut of a word,
abuse of a child,
lonely, hungry,
cold, tired,
weary and worn.
Every time,
every place,
everywhere,
He is there,
experiencing the very pain
felt by man.
He is there.

His crucifixion stretches,
never ending through the years.
In every moment of pain and suffering
He feels the whip lash his back,
feels the scorn and abuse.
He cries a thousand tears on our behalf,
kneeling beside us in agony as we grieve.
He is there.

Someday there will be an end of suffering,
of death, of crying, of pain, of heartache,
a beautiful ending with a resurrection.
Resurrected with him,
made new,
just as He was.

Until then,
He is there.

To Bless Him

The road He led me to travel started smoothly,
rough along the edges at times,
but quite easy to traverse.
I blessed His name as I walked.

Small pieces of stone developed over time,
larger ones tripped me up occasionally.
Trustingly I stretched out my hand for His,
placing my faith in Him to keep me steady.
I praised His name.

Over time a few rolling hills loomed in the distance.
I placed one foot in front of the other
and with the help of His hand,
climbed steadily up,
the path still relatively smooth.
Bless you Lord, for this life of mine.

Peeking over a rolling hill one day,
I saw a valley lying before me.
Though the task of crossing looked great,
with my hand in His, I knew we could make it.
When I tripped, He lifted, when I fell, He caught me,
and together we made it to the other side.
Thank you Lord, for crossing with me.

Day followed day, months turned into years,
still we walked on.
Nothing seemed impossible for us together.
Bless you Lord, for all you do for me.

road

And then one day with His hand in mine,
we crested a mountain ridge,
the scene before me was dark and ugly.
A deep ravine, a chasm so wide
the other side could not be seen through the fog.
Fallen logs, swift moving streams,
cliffs, boulders and danger blocked my path,
night as dark as ink filling every crevice.
“Lord,” I cried as I pulled my hand from His,
“I cannot bless your name!
This road you have asked me to travel
is more than I can bear.”

I fell into a heap, tears coursing my face.
“I cannot cross this great divide,
the way is too rough,
the pain too much to carry,
the road too hard to travel.
I cannot bless your name,
what reason have I?”

As I wept, a gentle hand tugged mine.
With care He lifted me to my feet
and pulled me into His embrace.
In a soft voice he whispered,
“You don’t have to cross this valley alone.
I will carry you when you cannot walk.”
Only a tiny sigh touched my lips.

Together we started down,
the road ripped deep into the earth,
filled with pain beyond compare.
Many days were spent struggling,
only moving one step forward.
Tears fell freely,
but a gentle hand was there to wipe them away.
Blood spilled from the wounds in my feet,
with tender care he bound them.
But nary a word of blessing
crossed my lips as we climbed,
only cries of grief and anguish.

We pressed on day after day,
crossing that great divide.
Always, as he had promised,
He walked with me,
when I could no longer move,
He carried me, faithfully there.
And finally one day I quietly spoke,
“I bless you Lord,
not yet for the path on which I walk,
but for the hand that holds mine.
For this, I bless you.”

©Shannon Hostetler