Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Letter To A Grieving Friend




I see you. Even when you think no one notices, I see you.

You are a little less put together these days. You’re not sleeping much; at times, you are forgetful. You lose your thought, mid-sentence, and need help remembering the point; today, it's your husband. Why did you marry him, you are asking yourself. And your job: You could've been an artist! Traveled the world!  But it was your birthright to be responsible. To be here.  It was you who noticed your father looking ill, and demanded he see a specialist. You who initiated unfathomable conversations about hospice care and his “quality of life.” You were there when it was his time, even when it wasn't your time, to let him go.  

And now I see you frantically caring for everyone he left behind; sufficiently outrunning your own feelings, until today. Today, one of the boys left his bike in the driveway and you didn't notice until you’d backed up over it. And everyone in the office pissed you off. You are remembering it is almost Thanksgiving: the day dad got up at five to put the turkey in, and start the stuffing he'd make from scratch, and the house would smell of every childhood comfort you covet now. Today you let yourself feel that. The weight of his absence; just how much you are missing.

Do you recall the birthing classes required during your first pregnancy? The doctors warned us that tensing against the pain would actually prolong labor. I remember how the nurses encouraged us to keep our bodies loose, to unclench when the contractions hit. This is what life is demanding of you now, my friend, to surrender to the grief, trusting you will not tear.

Did you know then, when your son appeared, briefly, that it still wasn't over?  We found out that babies move in imperceptibly slow undulations until they make their final push to us. Forward, back. Forward, back...until their entry into life.  Don't you see what our bodies were teaching us?!  There is beauty in pain. It is possible for beauty and pain to coexist, nodding to one another with reverence.  

I see you. Even when you think no one notices, I see you.

And like all those who came before me, I’m holding a lamp up for you. I'll sit with you here, until the darkness becomes light again. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Homecoming

     It's been five years today.  Five years since a midnight phone call from the hospital brought us to his bedside one final time; his labored, shallow breaths of carbon dioxide silencing any last hope for a miracle.  It's been five years since Glen, my brother, and I, walked into a Paul-less morning and talked about what everyone else in the world was talking about: Michael Jackson.  "Thanks for waiting for him to go first, Buddy" Glen said.
     It's been two hundred and sixty weeks since Peg, one of our favorite nurses, asked me how I wanted to say goodbye to him.  "Shut off the beeping." I told her, and that beautiful, compassionate woman muted the machines, dimmed the lights, and let us do death our way.       
     It's been 1,825 days since Paul's death.  This year, I ran the race he never finished, asking Glen's wife, Erica, to run alongside me.
     At the YMCA the day before, I grabbed my t-shirt and picked up my bib.  "Double check the information on this sheet." the woman at the registration table told me.  
     "This says I am 38.  What kind of bullshit is that?" I joked. 
     A man in line behind me laughed too, "I'm Eric Torgersen," he told me.  "We have mutual friends.  I know what tomorrow means for you, and I just wanted to tell you...I'll be there, cheering you on."  
     The morning of the race, my phone erupted with texts of encouragement and support, and then this one, from Erica: "Maddie's really sick.  I won't be able to make it today.  Know I'm there with you, in spirit." 
     I started the run with butterflies, not dragonflies, no ethereal signs to spur me on.  But soon enough I passed by some cheering friends, just before entering the McLean Game Refuge where, according to other runners that day, Paul first started to teeter.   
     Mile five, turning onto Rt. 10, I ran by Skip Allerman's house, the man who helped petite Sue Davies as she lowered my near-unconscious husband to the ground. From that point on, I knew I was running a part of the course he hadn't and my legs grew miraculously surer, more determined.    
     I've begun to say my goodbyes here in Granby. Today I ended-at least for the foreseeable future-my weekly visits to my beloved therapist, Dr. Jeanne Folks.  "You're going to be fine, Heidi," she told me, in her trademark soothing tone. "When I cut my finger, I don't have to tell my body to begin to heal. Immediately my platelets mobilize to mend my skin. Our bodies always seek healing...as do our spirits."
     On the sixth and last mile of Paul's run, I crossed the final intersection and saw my friend Jenn, scanning the road, waiting for me. Soon Eric Torgensen, my new buddy from the day before, joined her in running me in. As I got closer, my friend Katy found us, bringing Maya and Cole and Anna, too. My cheerleaders, cheerfully assembled.
     It wasn't lost on me, not then, not now, just how symbolic it all was. Whatever race we're given-illness, divorce, betrayal, abandonment, death-it's ours alone to run. But always-and everywhere-there is Love cheering us on, bringing us home.
     I crossed the finish line by myself that morning, no one beside me, as were the rules. But up ahead and to my left and right, were a small crowd of people who love me, welcoming me home...Just the way I imagine Paul's own welcoming committee received him, when he finally finished his race, five years ago today.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Cole's Gift

    As beloved as our Anna is today, my pregnancy with her caught Paul and I by surprise.  We were doing well enough financially, but I was grossly overwhelmed with the needs of my then three, and one and a half year old.  Most days, a good shower was my only barometer of success.  "Why are you crying?" Paul asked, when I showed him the positive test, "This is good news!"  So I chose to overlook the beads of sweat dotting his brow and joined in his optimism instead. 

     When I woke up later that night, I found a construction paper heart on the bathroom mirror.  "I love you because...you're so beautiful" he'd written.  I walked into the kitchen, shaking my head and giggling in sheer, unexpected delight.  This was a man who traditionally scribbled "Love, Paul" on the bottom of embossed greeting cards.  Turning on the light, I found another heart.  And then another.  The entire kitchen was decorated in paper hearts.  "I love you because...you're so fertile!" said one.  "I love you because...the third times a charm!" read another.  And on and on they went. 

     The holidays are always hard when you're missing someone, and 2013 doled out terrible suffering to some of the people I love most.  But while the world has felt dark and hostile lately, I vowed to keep it from my children.  Waking early on Christmas morning, I saw Cole's room lit up and him, bustling.  "What are you doing awake?  It's 4 in the morning!" I asked him.  "I know Mom, I set my alarm!" was his matter of fact reply.  So I did what my son instructed, returning to bed so he could finish up whatever scheme he'd begun; delighted as much to see his excitement at giving it, as for the present itself. 

     Later that morning, after a reading of the First Christmas, after stockings and cinnamon rolls, after my daughters had presented me with paintings and tea and bath scrub, it was Cole's turn to give his gift.  Had I known what waited for me, I probably wouldn't have dropped to the bed, weeping unabashedly.  But what would you do if you saw entire closet doors covered in construction paper hearts?  Like his father's, Cole's hearts were funny, "I love you  because...you think I'm handsome and you're the only one who says that to my face." And sweet: "I love you because...you comfort me when I am sad."

     I've made several resolutions for 2014.  Drink less wine.  Run more.  Spend time with people who make me better.  One of the most important things I could do this year though, is simply to remember what Cole wrote on his last purple heart.  It said: "I love you because you are very, very, very, very, very, very, very, Important."  On this, the first day of this brand new year, it is my prayer for you as well.  May you always remember how very important you are. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Jesus of the Classifieds

     The summer before he died, my husband brought me to a big box electronic store and told me to pick out a new camera. I found a mid-priced model and asked him what he thought. “Not good enough” he told me, firmly. When we left the store, I was the slightly stunned owner of a new camera and zoom lens, at a cost nearly equivalent to our monthly mortgage payment. To justify the lavish gift, I took pictures relentlessly. For months I made art with my lens; sandy toes in summer tide, crimson pink ocean sunsets, large hands woven between smaller ones, eyes-his, mostly-sleeping and wide awake, smiling and bemused. Our last family vacation was chronicled in print; both the toothless smile of my firstborn and the sagging, too-large suit of her younger sister. There’s proof of months of workouts as Paul’s chiseled arms raised high our son and released him -amid squeals of delighted laughter-into the hotel pool. After his accident, I even brought my camera to his hospital room, at least in the fearsome, but hopeful, beginning. It seemed equally important to document that part of our story. I took pictures of his swollen body and jaundiced eyes; the tubes entering and exiting his arms and neck. When his doctors forced his injured body into a coma for repair, I took pictures of that, too. One day, I thought, we’ll look back on this and remember just how bad it got, and we will bow our heads in gratitude at being spared.

     Nearly a year after I got that gift, Paul was dead. My desire to document our lives seemed to die with him, as I placed my camera high on my closet shelf. What would I put on film anyway, but forced smiles and bravado? We were a family in grief. Like a wounded animal retreating to lick its wounds, we needed quiet and space to recover. Photographs were for birthday parties and Christmas morning unwrappings, surely there was no need substantiate the aftermath of loss, the brutality of death?

     The brilliant photographer Annie Leibovitz encapsulated the sickness and ultimate death of her lifelong love, Susan Sontag, through her photography. In print she noticed Susan’s failing frame, her vanishing hair and emaciated body. Throughout their partnership, Leibovitz had used her camera to tell stories. “I made the decision in the long run that (the photographs of Susan) came out of a moment of grief and that grief gave the work dignity.” Leibovitz said. Perhaps she had it right. I sometimes wish I had kept clicking after Paul’s death. I regret not capturing the empty chair at the dining table or the mattresses crowding my bedroom floor, as my children clung to each other, and to me. I wish I had made those images permanent, because what I know now that I couldn’t believe then is…we would survive. We continue to mourn Paul; we continue to remember him; but while suffering found us, Hope and Promise also showed up.

     In the local paper, there are often classified ads directed to one saint or another, or sometimes, to Jesus himself. Reading these always gives me a giggle as I imagine The Lord, fielding thousands of faithful prayers emanating from homes and hospital beds, churches and war zones…”And now,” I imagine Jesus declaring stoically, “onto the classifieds!”

     This week the kids and I traveled to see Paul’s parents in a very remote town in Northern Maine. To punctuate the ten hour drive, I stopped in Bangor and let them swim free in the hotel pool. Calling for me, I looked up from my magazine to pay attention to some new aquatic feat. For one poignant moment I looked at them, giggling and splashing, and I experienced a moment of such intense gratitude, it took my breath away. I wanted to scribble a simple classified ad to God:  “Thank you, for saving us.” Somehow in the dark of the night, quietly and without fanfare, we had made it.

     My children are not the people they would be if their father were here. There are lessons and gifts only he could have bestowed. Yet here our children are; scarred but thriving, wounded but kind, not the people they could’ve been, but incredible individuals, no less. And I did what any parent would do to preserve a precious moment, I picked up my camera and clicked.
 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Home, (bitter) sweet, home


When you open up the curtains,
start answering the phone
Stop driving around for hours
’cause you hate going home
You can talk about it,
even say their name
When you start thinking you’ll survive
even though you’ll never be the same

That’s how you know
That’s how you know
That’s how you know
That’s how you know
-Lori McKenna, That's How You Know


This house is a story of us.

We walked in that front door, noticed the cigarette-stained ceilings, broken steps and chipped paint and foolishly declared it, “perfect!” Nearly. We spent seven years demolishing, rebuilding, painting, repainting, decorating and making a home here. We scoffed at the people we knew who hired out to do what we did ourselves (small consolation for spending date night at Lowe's).

You built the front steps without a plan, at least not one on paper. That’s the way you did most everything. I helped carry nails and hold boards and hand you a drink when you needed a break. (I swear the clam juice was unintentional. It looked like water.) The kids ate watermelon slices, teetering on the frame of the emerging porch, as they learned their dad really could do anything.

In ’04 we transformed the living room into a birthing center to prepare for baby number two. You and Jake filled the tub with as much hot water as our pitiful tank could supply. When I yelled too soon from the top of the stairs, “It’s time!” you used the stove and teapot to supplement the best you could. And when Cole arrived, you kissed my forehead tenderly and said, “You did it baby!” and I said, “WE did it! And we never have to go through that again!” But upstairs is where we forgot all about the sleepless nights and newborn psychosis. It's a good thing we did too, because soon enough, we got Anna.

Remember when Maya called her new friend and asked her to come over for the first time? Her dad got on the phone and asked with all gravity, “Do you have any guns in the house?” That mirror in the living room is where I caught your eye and said, “Guns! Never! But we sure have a lot of drugs!” You stared back at me, appalled, but the couch is where we dissolved into a fit of giggles because, c’mon, that’s funny.

You cleared the driveway and made Maya your assistant when the snows came. In the fall, you blew back the leaves (and the kids) with your fancy leaf blower. They’d shriek and scream and tell you to stop but come back for more a few minutes later. When spring came, we did all we could to loosen the grip of the interminable winter. We made bonfires and roasted marshmallows and you played guitar and taught Cole to putt. I took pictures-those blessed, irrefutable accountings of time.

We made fires inside too, and when I could talk you into it, we laid our mattress to sleep in front of them and planned our future. We dreamed dreams for the kids and talked about how different life would be when we finally had money. But we had everything two people could hope for and most of the time it wasn’t lost on us.

You perfected chocolate chip pancakes when we bought the new gas stove-an expected, highly anticipated event of each weekend. At night we’d gather around the kitchen table to process the day, trading our ‘best and worst’. You’d say, “My worst part of the day was leaving for work and my best part of the day was coming home to you guys”. (Us too)

You’d play hide and seek downstairs, shutting off just enough lights to stay hidden and catch a nap. The piano I swore I’d learned to play, the one you moved more than once, is still here. How could I give it away? The woman who sold it to us gave us a demonstration by playing our song. Now tell me, what are the chances of that?

We logged a lifetime of memories in this house, and each room has the echo of you still. I’ve found comfort in that for almost two years now. Your tools in the workshop. Your clothes in the closet. Your books on the shelf. So how can I say goodbye to this house, to all these memories of you? Perhaps, finally, it's time.

After you died people offered comfort the best they could. They’d say, “It’ll get better. It takes time. You’ll find love again.” This I found to be of little solace. I didn’t want to get better, or move on, and the very thing promised-time moving forward-was the very thing I feared. Moving on without you? No thanks.

The amazing thing about being human though, every bit confounding and comforting, is that we do survive. Against our better judgment, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, we continue to seek purpose and meaning and joy. And time-that frequently merciless tyrant-does indeed lay salve to our wounds and tease our hope forward. And this is what I am clinging to now, a chance to begin again.

We dreamed of a place where our kids could ride their bikes, visit the neighbors and be safe. I wanted the 'pile in' house; sleepovers and basketball games, kids spilling out every which way. This would allow us to keep a pulse on their lives and become a safe haven for whichever hurting friends God led their (our) way. I want that still, Paul.

Kerrie once reminded me, "wherever you go, there you are." I am not so foolish as to think this move will erase my longing for you. I'm fairly certain 5:30 will still find me waiting for your car to pull in. There will be ache and sorrow in leaving behind the story we began here. But there is joy too, and hope in looking ahead. And you'll go with me, won't you?

I have heard that those who've passed are closest to us in our joy. If that's true, I can only assume it's because sorrow and grief are human emotions, quite removed from the reality of heaven. Light can have no part of darkness. Last night I turned the music up and danced some Elaine-style moves in the kitchen. The kids were predictably horrified, which only spurred me on. The funny thing is, I had the distinct feeling you were there with us, watching us sing and groove and laugh, a family tradition from the start. (I even raised my hands, inconspicuously, to let you know I felt you near.)

This is what I want more of in the future. Since I know you'll be with us wherever we go, less tears, more dancing.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tenzin's Prayer


Amid my late teens and early twenties, when any nod to my own physical appearance incited an immediate internal rant about my weight, I sought the counsel of the food/love guru, Geneen Roth. Many hours I drove the hills and valleys of my Kentucky home and listened to Geneen weave her tales of failed diets, faulty relationships and that ever elusive bag of M&M's. The latter goes a little something like this:

One day a mother, alarmed by her young daughter's increasing waist, decided to set locks on the kitchen cabinets and ban all M&M's (the little girls favorite treat) from their home. The daughter continued to gain weight. Exasperated, the mother called in a professional. The therapists advice? Remove the locks from the cabinets. Take a pillowcase, fill near to overflowing with peanut M&M's, and replenish at the first sign of depletion. When the little girl realized it would not be taken away, the therapist reasoned, she would begin to eat from 'stomach hunger' and nothing else. After two weeks the little girl had lost six pounds.

I spent much of my childhood bobbing and weaving through various tumults, where safety miraged just outside my bedroom window. In the huddled, desperate space of that adolescent pain, I swore someday a different path. Above any other dream I lusted after, grander than the palatial weddings of movie stars, all my heart ever desired was a family of my own. One day, I will have my own family and I will be safe.

I took to marriage the way an impatient swimmer waits for winter's end. I had been training for quite some time, after all. I stopped working and cared for our children. I made dinner and cleaned house. I deferred to Paul on all manner of domesticity: finances, houses and where to eat dinner. In the name of love, I cleaved unto my husband; God bless that wonderful, tolerant man.
And oh how I thrilled to the sight of my hand adorned by my wedding ring! Its very presence broadcast my unquestionable value to the world. Look now! I am loved! I am wanted! I will never be alone again! I corseted love around my chest, unlocked the kitchen cabinets and allowed my candy filled pillowcase to runneth over.

Along the sometimes bumbling path of our marriage, there were moments of such exquisite sweetness, I thrill to remember them now-and it is good to give account to some here, for they made up the majority of our lives together. Sharing sinks in the early morning hours, Saturday morning snuggling. Birthdays and dinners and bottles of wine near the fire. Nursing each other through stomach bugs and weight gain and finding more love with each new push past selfishness. Laughing at almost everything. We both held mightily to the power of humor to dissipate the greatest of tension. "I'm a human blanket!" I would say as I draped my body over his after a fight, and he never refused the olive branch. It simply wasn't Paul's way to stay angry. These ordinary moments were my life's greatest blessings.

Several months ago, my dear friend Wendy gave me a book entitled Tenzin's Deer. As I began to read, I felt a stirring I knew from experience signaled something important. In the kind of unmistakable skin prickle that begs you to Pay Attention I read on. In this story, a tender-hearted Tibetan boy named Tenzin wanders along the woods and finds the wounded tracks of a felled deer. Touched by what he sees, Tenzin begins to care for the animal, eventually renaming her Jampa, "Loving Kindness". Over a series of several nights, Tenzin's dreams become the blueprint to heal Jampa. Under his tender hand, she soon grows well enough to run and play and eat alongside her beloved friend. Eventually, a startling dream came to the young boy. Jampa had been healed and wished to be released. "Please stop praying and holding me close to you. Please let me go."

It is week six of our eight week hospital stay, but I do not know then how long we'll be there. I know only one thing with increasing certainty: Paul is not getting better. On the website we created I write these words: "For almost six weeks now, you have carried the burden of prayer for Paul and for our family. We are so grateful for that love and support. Would you join me now in asking God for a miracle for Paul? My prayer is that God would heal every muscle, organ, infection and injury..." Those desperate words remind me how clear-headed I was: Paul was leaving me.

In the hospital room, the frantic pace had slowed. The inevitable would come. We would wait. In a moment of exhaustion; physical, mental, spiritual exhaustion-I draped his arm over my neck and fell asleep. When I finally woke, I moved close to his ear and uttered what I believed was my duty as the self appointed One Who Loved Him Best: I let him go. "I do not want you to say goodbye. I want you to keep fighting. But Baby, if you can't do it anymore, if your body is too sick to go on, we'll be okay." I promised to take care of our kids. I promised to keep him alive in spirit. I promised to love him forever. "It's okay Baby" I said, many, many times over.

It would be a disingenuous account to paint myself a Tibetan monk who knows the beauty of love and releases it to its full breadth. My truth is simpler and far less sage. All that I dreamed has died. I am struck the petulant child, longing for what she cannot have. But when I am quiet, when that still, small voice rises up to guide me, I remember Tenzin's prayer. I admit my weakness and ask for strength. I ask God to show me how to love as Tenzin loved.

"At the moment he felt his bravest, (Tenzin) began to breathe with Jamba. As she breathed in, he breathed out. His breath deepened, and he felt as if he was now breathing for her, making it easier for her to leave. He said gently, "Go, beloved friend, to the wild. Do not be held by my love. Go bravely and well and clearly know we will meet again. Return to the earth as a gift."

Friday, September 3, 2010

Independance Day


In the days after Paul's death, there were things to be done; some expected and some I had not bargained for. I had begun mental preparations for the funeral days before I had to. I knew which songs he would want; who would facilitate the service, who I wanted to render the eulogies. What I could never prepare for were the small, imperceptible slights that unglued a thinly constructed veneer; the social security office, for instance. I knew I'd be asked for my identification and his certificate of death. I handed them to the woman behind the desk, trembling but resolute. When she began typing and, without looking up, asked, "What was your husband's name?". I finally heard it. "Was", past tense.


I have written here before that what surprised me most is the inequitable quiet of death, the absence of reassurance or comfort. I must rescind that now. Having passed a year's time without him, I can tell you truly there have been suspicions of something more.


This winter I got characteristically stuck in the mud and tried to turn around in a spot grossly unsupportive of mini-vans. This habit had been a running joke in our marriage. One year, on my way to Christmas service, I made a helpless call to AAA. The driver did a horrible job hiding his amusement with me. There was a night out with the girls when my triple A membership rescued me again. A good thing, since my sleeping husband never heard a single frantic call home. So, on this particular day, I was familiar with what to do, only here's the thing: I had left home without my cell phone. The more I tried to back out of the mud, the more stuck I became. Will you believe me when I tell you what happened next? I question myself, even as I write it. In one quick motion, my car seemed to lift up from the mud and be deposited once more onto solid pavement.


Visiting San Diego in April, I spilled out the details of the previous ten months to my dear friend Jules, her Golden Retriever Luna sitting between us. While I petted her dog and cried with Jules, Luna winked right at me. Not a blink, but a legitimate wink, the exact way Paul had, so many times from his hospital room.


After one particularly difficult grief session with my counselor Claire, I hurried home, realizing all the windows downstairs had been left open in the rain. As I closed one window, I saw something that stopped me. There, wedged between two panes of glass, was a dragonfly. The dragonfly, as you may already know, has become for the kids and I, a symbol of transformation. So there I was, in the midst of working through some painful stuff, looking at a trapped dragonfly. With great gentleness, I lowered the window, hoping to set it free. It didn't move. I gingerly blew on it and watched as it took flight. Could I possibly miss the symbolism? I was holding on so tightly to Paul, keeping him trapped. Mired down with pain, I could not set him free. When I called my sister to tell her what I'd seen, she had a different perspective. "Heidi, is the dragonfly you? Do God, and Paul, want to set you free?" This would make for a better story if I told you that was all it took. That, from that revelation on, I began to release my desire to have him back. But there were still months of anguish and arguing ahead before I could begin to let go.


On the Fourth of July, our neighbor "Mr. Paul" came to my kitchen window as I stood washing the dishes. "Honey," he said, "Are you ready?" I hesitated, uncertain. Later that night, the three of us set sail; Mr. Paul, Miss Ali and I. Paul navigated the boat just past the beach where we swim. "We can sit here until 10 at night if you need to, honey. Take as much time as you need" Ali said. After a few minutes and a few words of goodbye, I walked to the back of the boat and released Paul's ashes into the ocean. "I will always love you". I said. He exists in another dimension, but Paul, and our love for him, remains.


I have often viewed life through a spiritual lens. On the night before my childhood dog died, I whispered goodbye and knew it was the last time I'd see him. I cried in fearful foreshadowing the night my brother ended up in the hospital with a bad concussion. Whether it was rubbing my rosary in rote prayer or raising my hands in evangelical vigor, I have always huddled near Him. My one constant was the awareness of God in, and over, the world. How could I miss Him in the months after Paul's death? The answer is clear to me now. The truth is, when we numb ourselves from the pain-when alcohol or food or people or things medicate the place of pain inside us-we numb ourselves to everything else, too. We keep at bay the very things that might bring us forgiveness, joy and peace. We miss the dragonflies.


This summer I walked the beach. I cried, sometimes in deliberate, scheduled ways. I laughed every chance I could. I admitted areas of excess in my life, those convienent escapes from grief. I spent time with strong, sage people, willing to keep company with suffering. I played with my children. I made dinner and fed my friends. I swam.


After his ashes were emptied, Paul and Ali held me, encircling me with all the love two chosen parents could give. Ali whispered words of comfort. Paul added that my Paul would continue to be with us; in the water as we swam, next to us as we gathered quahogs, washing up onto the sands of the beach. As we turned around and headed home, the night sky had tuned into an explosion of pink. We were struck quiet by the sheer beauty of it. A band on a nearby beach began to play. A bonfire burned in the distance. Showy and splendid, so very Paul.


A few years ago, I stumbled upon a lesser known passage of the Bible. It says, "Call to me and I will answer you and show you great and unsearchable things you do not know." In the throes of crisis, as Paul's doctors gathered to discuss with us the considerable obstacles to his recovery, I wondered about that scripture. I imagined praying that line over every doctor gathered that day-how 'unsearchable things' revealed to those collective, capable hands, might change things.


In my future, not too distant, I suspect there will be a reunion between me and the wooden pews of my chilhood. Or perhaps I will meet with God, as I often do, calling out in the early morning sun on His (Her) sea. Perhaps I might glean some unsearchable things as I walk along the beach. Wherever I end up, one thing I am certain. The same God who sends the dragonflies is holding onto my best friend, preparing for me the greatest reunion I could ever imagine. Because Paul was. Because he is...