Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wayfaring strangers and news that shakes us

Cedar waxwings fluttered in the pear tree and waded in the birdbath.

I grabbed my camera.


Apparently, the birds merely stop off here on the way from parts further south before migrating to northern nesting grounds in May.

A day or so later, I’m in the car with my college age son.

“Mom, I want you to hear something.” He often shares from his current musical interests—most recently leaning toward purely electronic music.

“So, what are we hearing today?”

“Johnny Cash.”

Didn’t see that one coming.

Evidently, he’d inherited a bit of his mom’s eclectic musical tastes.

He pressed a button on his iphone, and a playlist began.

We toured Folsom Prison, walked the line, heard from a boy named Sue, and went to Jackson with Cash’s beloved wife, June Carter Cash.

The song that grabbed me, though, was “I Am a Poor Wayfaring Stranger.”

When news shakes us, like that of this past weekend, it helps to remember that much like my cedar waxwings, and the wayfaring stranger, we are indeed just passing through.

The piercing ache of loss, the tyranny of “if onlys,” and the seemingly unanswerable questions will give way to a jubilation not subject to the brokenness of this life.
The apostle Paul said it well, “…we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we’ll never have to relocate our “tents” again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what’s coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we’re tired of it! We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies!” (2Corinthians 5:1-5 The Message) .

The suicide death of a friend years ago almost put me under, too. How the pain must sear to lose a child that way. For two years I obsessed on the "Why?" and stumbled through barely able to keep going.  Over time, God showed me I didn't have all the pieces to find or even understand the answer to that question this side of heaven. He enabled me finally to unclench my fists and let it go.
I didn't think anything good would ever come of those lonely, hard days, but as I look back, I see it was during that time God confirmed His call on my life to write. In fact, I believe God used the writing to help me find the healing I needed.
It's way above my paygrade to even make a guess what God would do through horrific tragedy, but I know it will be something mighty.  A part of this could be to bring forth the truth that anyone, any family can deal with mental illness--hopefully minimizing the stigma so that precious souls don't have to suffer their whole lives in silence.
So thankful for this dear woman and this grace filled writer who are honest about their own struggles with depression and offer many hope.
I'm going there to meet my Savior
To sing his praise forever more
I'm just a-going over Jordan
I'm just a-going over home

We are in many ways Cash's wayfaring strangers. But while we’re here, we keep alert for those laboring under heavy loads, and know that even this side of Jordan, God is at work to minister in ways beyond our understanding to bring joy in the midst of suffering.

Prayers going up for the Warrens and others families grieving a similar loss.

More on this woman's ontinuing struggle


Nancy Hamilton Sturm said...

Thank you, Beverly, for sharing your heart and your writings. Isn't it wonderful the way God draws us closer during the tough times?

Beverly Varnado said...

You're so right, Nancy! Thank you again for taking the time to comment.

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