OK…you all have convinced me. Here is the loooooong post I wrote last week, posted for a few minutes, and then deleted:
I just love our Bible school! As I sat there this week, surrounded by my family in the Lord, sensing the sweet presence of God in the room as we worshipped him together, I thought to myself: When all is said and done, this is where I want to be. Yes, I would give my right arm to have Jenna back. Anytime. Plus a whole lot more. But if this is how it must be, then I am glad that I am here. I am grateful for the precious people in my life, for the awesome Word I am priviledged to sit under, for that deep stirring inside my heart that whispers promises of great things to come.
Every day has pain, but every day has hope. It is a surprising paradox. Pain and joy, mountain highs and valley lows, my weakness and His strength, all co-exist in a strange harmony.
We were singing the old song: “Father, we love you, we praise you we adore you, glorify thy name in all the earth…” on Sunday. The song is sung to each person of the Godhead in turn, and as we sang it to the Holy Spirit I realised again how grateful I am for his indwelling presence that is such a comfort and a strength to me as I walk this road. For much of my christian life, I have paid attention to who God is as a Father, and who Jesus is as my redeemer, but I have not given the same focus to the Holy Spirit as the One who dwells inside me. It is He who endues me with the rivers of life which I need to outlast this wilderness experience. And his fellowship is beyond precious.
When Elijah had run away from Jezebel, (see 1 Kings 19) and found himself despairing of life in a barren and inhospitable place, an angel awoke him and showed him a cake baking on the coals and a cruse of water at his head. The angel told him to rise up and eat, for the journey is too great for him. My journey is too great for me too. But as I eat of the cake of God’s word and swallow it down with the water of His Spirit, I am refreshed and strengthened for what lies ahead.
It is still early enough in our journey to find unexpected reminders of Jenna around the house. Yesterday it was the little inserts that were in the boots that Jenna had picked out for herself on our last epic shopping trip together. She had put on those brown and pink boots right there in the store, and strutted along in them, much to the delight of other shoppers who thought she was the cutest thing they had ever seen. When we arrived home I had stuffed the big shopping bag in my pantry in the kitchen for later use, without bothering to empty it properly. I discovered the bag with its precious, utterly useless contents yesterday, and promptly folded it up again and returned it to where it was before. Yup, sentimental old me.
This is going to sound awfully strange to you all. There are useless items with a Jenna connection (however small) that I have tossed in the trash can. But before I do, I pause to kiss it (if it is at all kissable, LOL) simply because I remember that it was a ‘Jenna thing’. There. I just provided you all with your ‘weird mental image of the day’! Seeing Sumi standing in front of a trash can kissing the empty box of zip-lock bags because Jenna helped me pack our toiletries in the baggies before we flew to South Africa. If you ever wondered whether I was normal, you now know that I am not! 😀
It is so strange that this house is so full of Jenna’s things, and so empty of her. Her clothes are still in her closet, her toys in their place, her big fat Tom cat still sleeps at my feet at nights, her scribbles are on the walls and in my bible, I still find her hair scrunchies in the oddest places. Her cheese sticks and electrolyte solution are still in the fridge. The wii character that the boys created for her still appears in their games. Every now and then Jenna’s mii scores a home run and the boys cheer and thank her for it. Another mii character named “Harry” that Jenna made with her younger brother’s help is still around too.
I often catch myself looking at these floors, these walls, these furniture and thinking that there was a time that they were touched by Jenna on a daily basis. Her little feet walked here, she sat over there, she splashed around in that bathtub. Sometimes I have to pinch myself – was she really here? Everything around me cries out that she was, but her absence is so absolute and complete it is hard to wrap my mind around it.
Our neighbor was away this week and asked if I could walk her little maltese poodle, Morsel, for her. It was a request I had been expecting, and one that brought back many bittersweet memories of Jenna. Walking Morsel was the highlight of Jenna’s day. We would walk down to the neighbor’s house, and often Junior the cat would accompany us, winding between Jenna’s legs as we moseyed along. It would take a while to even get to their house, since Jenna would stop every so often to love on Junior.
When we reached our destination Jenna would ‘push the button’ to open the garage door and Junior would make himself comfortable underneath a parked car outside. Morsel would nearly jump out of his skin to see us and Jenna would try to pet him while I clipped the leash on to the little bundle of excitement. Jenna would then grab a hold of the leash while we let Morsel do his business outside. She could handle Morsel by herself for the most part, and was proud of it!
Once Morsel was done, Jenna would lovingly give him a doggie treat. Her favorite part came next – she would select a few lollipops from the bunch that the neighbor had purposely left out for us. We would walk home with a handful of lollipops. Two or three for Jenna, and some for ‘the brudders’. Junior would follow us home again, and often we sat down on our front door step to pet him for a little while before going inside.
Jenna didn’t want the neighbors to come back home. She wanted to continue walking Morsel and would ask for many days afterwards to go and do it again. She would tantrum about going, in fact. 🙂
I find it strange now to go through the ‘ritual’ without Jenna there to add her special little spark. Every time I open that garage door I remember that it used to be her job. I shouldn’t be giving Morsel a treat, Jenna should. I feel the same way when I turn on the dishwasher, load dirty clothes in the washer, or switch off our bedside light. Jenna delighted in doing those things too. Like any little girl her age she loved being a part of what I was doing and I miss her little precious presence ‘helping’ me as I go about cleaning my bathroom mirrors or mopping my floors.
Jenna has left an unfathomable hole in my life, there’s no denying it. Yet…on that dreary day when we buried Jenna the Lord promised me that a new thing would spring forth in my life, and I am daring to believe him. I can feel it. My spirit anticipates it, and part of me is straining to see what lies ahead on this journey, while another part of me is tempted to linger on the memories so that nothing will be left behind as I move on from here.
Isa 43:19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.