4

Don’t Close Your Eyes

It is late.

I should be sleeping.

But Kobe begged me to leave my own comfy bed and lay beside him. His tears melted my heart and when he threw his little arm around my neck and snuggled up close, I was so glad I complied.

He lay there, with his typical Kobe squinty eyed , one eye shut one eye open, mouth curled up, lopsided with the effort, expression on his face.

“Mom, stay here.” He whispered sleepily.

Usually, it’s “Mom, don’t close your eyes.”

Maybe it’s part of being a two year old. Maybe it’s part of seeing Kierra so peacefully with her eyes closed and the subconscious realization that she never opened them again. Maybe it’s part of missing her. And wishing she were here. But he tells me often, “Mom, don’t close your eyes.”

I lay beside him in her bed. The special big girl bed she loved so much, and stared at the spaces she stared at, and wondered where her thoughts lay while she lay here. I tried to capture the good memories, and let the sadder, harder ones slip by , like a child drifting into oblivion.

And the words echoed on my heart, “Mom, don’t close your eyes.”

Losing a child has worked a stillness in my soul that I have never experienced before. I lay down, and time stands still. My mind feels like an 80 year old that wanders by itself down delightful little winding thoughts. I can lay perfectly still, remembering, in a semi conscience state, with the most peaceful aura surrounding my heart. Past interlaces with present. And present with future. Sometimes I round a bend and do a face to face with a thorn bush. It’s ugly and it’s sharp and it’s liable to do damage. Some days I am cautious and skirt carefully around it. Some days, I want to feel pain. To feel the hard razor of the dark side of life. Sometimes it’s acknowledging the pain and ugly that brings the fullness of redemptive grace. The miracle of living with Eyes Wide Open.

“Don’t close your eyes, Mom,” he said again.

I reassured him for the hundredth time. “I won’t. I’m right here.”

I want to hang into that Eyes Wide Open moment through the hard and the easy. I’m still learning. Still begging for God’s grace. Still longing for that day when I will have a brand new vision…a brand new perspective…and a brand new daughter to feast my eyes on. An eternity to live with a fully renewed vision with my Creator.

Someday, I can no longer keep that promise to Kobe, and my eyes will close , but I will have lived well if he knows, without a shadow of a doubt that His Jesus NEVER closes His eyes!

For now, I want him to see Jesus in my eyes.
When he overflows the toilet.
When he spills precious pecans all over the floor.
When he grabs my face with both his hands to kiss me.
When he has disobeyed.
When he wakes up.
And when he goes to sleep.
When we spin ‘ring a round the rosy’ in his kiddy pool.
And pretend that Sir Topham Hat is helping him play.
When he runs as fast as his little legs carry him, toward Kierra’s grave.

Life is too short to close your eyes. Even in the pain.
I can still see Kierra’s sweet flashing smile.
Her wiggle of recognition.
Her quick brush of lips over cheek that meant a kiss.
Her very-begged -for, occasional lifting of her hand in a “Hi”
Her silky hair, all clean and combed out fresh.
Her hands clasped to her chest.
The sharp needles that pierced her tender arms.
Her drawn up legs and stiff arms that meant her belly hurt. Again.
The frustration that rose with over tired, over stressed moments.
Her bruised feet and hands from too many lab draws and IV sticks.

So many memories.
So many moments for me to grasp right now.

“Don’t close your eyes, Mom!”

Because if you do, you will miss that silent tear.
You will miss that dejected shoulder.
You will miss the anger flashing across the tiny face…because you were too busy to listen.
You will miss the amazing dawning of a new concept.
The light that follows the fear faced.
The longing in two tiny eyes.
The lashes lying, just so.
The miracle of steady breathing.
The amazement of a new morning.
The thrill of picking flowers
The little ways they say,”I love you.”

It hurts to look pain in the face. Joy and beauty are so much better companions! But, Life is meant to be faced with eyes wide open. Washed with the Grace of our Fathers love.

So peel off those clutching fingers from your face. Let go of the what ifs, and should haves, and if onlys, that distract your gaze.

Your life is this moment.
Right now.
Close this website.
Throw out your excuses.

Just don’t close your eyes.

The light of Jesus wants to shine in them…open.

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For the eyes of The Lord are on the righteous , and His ears are attentive to their cry. Psalm.

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4

When I don’t Understand God

“Where does understanding dwell? It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing.” Book of Job

That’s how I’ve been feeling the last while. Like God is silent. Life is cruel. Present is suffocating. And Future uncertain. I wanted to beat something up. Take a wrecking ball to a building. As if that would make me feel better. After the clatter and crash and settling dust, what would be left? Everything would still be exactly the same. Except for a pile of ruin.

But ruin feels good sometimes. Sitting among the ashes of your dreams and longings has a drawing power. It’s just so familiar. It’s all your mind wants to turn to. It feels like home even though it wreaks of utter desolation. Sometimes, the effort it takes to get up just isn’t worth it.

Acceptance seems like betrayal. Forgiveness seems like denial. Smiles seem frivolous. And joy seems like a giant lie.
So I sit a bit longer among the ruins, sifting them through my fingers.

God’s been working on this girl’s heart. I am hopeless and helpless without Him. The moments of my life that surround this sadness in my heart will always stay with me. The pain and total NOT understanding. The NOT FAIR and the WHAT IF. It has all been woven into the essence of who I am. God knew that when He created me.

Listen to what else Job has to say about understanding, this ancient man who lost everything except His life and his wife.

“God understands the way to it
And He alone knows where it dwells.
for He views the ends of the earth
And sees everything under the heavens.

(So He’s looking at the big picture. At the details.)

When He established the force of the wind
(Maybe our trials and pain?)
And measured out the waters
When He made a decree for rain,
And a path for the thunderstorm…

He looked at wisdom
And appraised it
He confirmed it.
And tested it.

(Guess what? Unlike my mind likes to think, God isn’t up there whipping up a storm, unleashing pain and horror over His children, without a thought of where the pieces will fall. He is appraising. Confirming. Testing. He knows what He’s doing. He created us. And He honestly has the BEST for us turning in His ‘Great Brain’. He delights in us. He will never leave us broken alone. Ruined for good. Because He is stronger then our circumstances. Look at what the last verse says.)

The fear (reverence, respect) of The Lord is
WISDOM
And to shun evil is
UNDERSTANDING.”

Just like Alex Marini shared on Sunday…
To have fullness of joy is actually not complicated.
“Obey God
Abide. In. Him.”

Our God is so big. Look at another quote from Job…

“And these are but the outer fringe
Of His works.
How faint the whisper we hear of Him!
Who then can understand
the thunder of His power?”

Today, I’m choosing to trust God. He knows what He’s doing. I’m just convinced. I feel like I’m along for the ride…. I think that’s just OK:)

Right now…the ride consists of reading Kobe’s favorite book…I can handle that!

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