On October 20, 2000, I opened some birthday cards. Then, I opened my Bible, and found this scripture by chance:
17 Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
19 The LORD God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.
(Habakkuk 3:17-19, NKJV)
After reading, I closed my Bible, smiling for just a moment at the comforting words from my Heavenly Father (such delicacies) , and I got dressed for a funeral.
You see, we buried her on my birthday.
Standing stunned and silent as the coffin was lowered, we trudged away (the Blended Ones) when it was over, back to everyday things. Time moved on and so did we, and water rushed under the bridge in a comforting roar. Misty air from the river soothed. Slowly, tense muscles loosed, and fists unclenched. Differences unmasked as trivial things, and one day we forgot them altogether.
And somehow, we became a family…
But she…she was my blood sister, and I remember her smile, laughing as we played paper dolls as little girls. She was sharp, and I remember how she could outsmart almost anyone, right up to the moment she died. And she was the beautiful one. The world was her oyster. But oh, how that world was filled with enticements, and she took part to the fullest. It was her downfall.
One day, she shot herself. It’s silencing, isn’t it?
For us, the Blended Ones, it was silencing, too. Sometimes a tragedy stops time, sharpens life’s smudges, and makes important things clear.
We miss our sister.
But as the years tumbled by, our family (steps and halves and everything) kept going. The alarm clocks went off, and we got back up, every day. Somehow, through it all, we learned to love. We learned to forgive. We learned to laugh again. We never gave up trying. And in our hearts, we never gave up hope.
How beautiful, to come to the table again…
I’m here today to encourage you to do the same.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said, “We are not called to be successful; we are called to be faithful.” Can you do that? I decided I could. I decided that no matter what, I could put one foot in front of the other, for one more day. One day at a time.
The ideas I’ve woven into words for you today are a passion for me, and they have been a lifetime in the making. My sister’s death was an exclamation point. If I could hug you one by one, precious readers, I would, with all my heart engaged. Then, I would hold your shoulders, look you squarely in the eye, and say, “You can do this. You can live. And it is worth it.”
If you think that no-one else cares, I’m here to say that I do. And at the risk of uttering a cliché, I’ll speak a truth: God cares, too. And finally, believe it or not, it could always be worse, dear friend.
So, chin up. Wipe that nose. Take a deep breath. And go at it one more time. We, the Blended Ones, are right beside you.
Scriptures to ponder:
5 For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime!
Weeping may last through the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
(Psalm 30:5, New Living Translation)
7Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. “Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
(Luke 12:7, NIV)
12 “I, even I, am he who comforts you.”
(Isaiah 51:12, NIV)
7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
(1 Peter 5:7, NIV)
33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33, NKJV)