The funeral was held last Friday. The name of the church where it was to be held sounded familiar, but I couldn't quite place it until that morning. I'd been there once before-- last spring, when I was matron of honor for a friend's wedding. During the entire funeral service, I sat struck by the juxtaposition of memory and present reality: wedding boquets and funeral sprays, flower decked altar and flag draped casket, formal wedding attire and the uniforms of the military funeral honors team from Fort Leonard Wood. The same walls, same windows, same pews and aisles, doors and carpeting. Joy and sorrow are not so different as we think.
Even without Justin's death and funeral, I'd been slipping steadily, finding myself edging into the place every spring takes me, a place of heightened emotional sensitivity, where even the smallest sorrows press heavily on my heart, and joys are so intensified as to be overwhelming in their lovliness. I spend every spring in a perpetual mixture of simultaneous grief and rapture, a sort of incolsolable elation. You'd think it would be old hat by now, that I'd expect it, have become used to it, would be adept in the handling of it, able to casually brush it aside at whim. I've found, however, that if I try to avoid it or ignore it, the result is usually rising irritation building into agitation and anger.
All fun isn't swallowed up in moods here at Possum Box Lane, though. Last Saturday Scott and I went through his students' entries for an upcoming language arts fair. We sat in the living room floor, sorting and reading aloud to each other, and I laughed until tears ran down my face. When it comes to being made grateful for the distance you've traveled in your life, there is nothing quite so effective as love-sick adolescent poetry. "Oh, the poor thing!" I would find myself gasping out between paroxysms of helpless laughter--and meaning it completely.
Abba God, I am a wreck. But I'm not the wreck I used to be. Oh no! You and I together have reached whole new levels of wreck-ed-ness! Just think what we might accomplish in the future, Lord! Seriously, I've no clue what You're doing with the whole mood disorder business in any of our lives, but I'm trusting there's a purpose, that it's Your purpose, and that it's going to be good. Ultimitely, I have to; the alternative isn't really an option. Not and keep breathing, anyway. If You do get the impulse to let some of us in on it all, though, I doubt we'd be terribly adverse to listening. Or maybe we would. Yes, actually, I think we would, knowing the way You work. So strike that. Just slide a nice, soft, black velvet hood over my head and walk me to my fate in blessed ignorance. I like ignorance. Today I am most sincerely and contentedly grateful for it. Amen.
In chosen bliss,