Yesterday I poured 100 candles. Each one represents someone who died, many of them children. Each candle will go to a friend or family member and lit in memory of their loved one. I've written before about these special remembrance candles, which I make exclusively for The Comfort Company, and how making them impacts me emotionally.
Yesterday I started crying while pouring these candles. I miss RaeAnne. She died 3 years ago and my heart still hurts. This time of year is hard. Three years ago I was commuting 600 miles roundtrip between Seattle and Spokane each week, spending 3-4 days at Sacred Heart Children's Hospital with RaeAnne and 3-4 days here at home. RaeAnne wasn't supposed to live much past Christmas 2003, but she rallied and lived until March 2004.
RaeAnne badly wanted to work at zena moon after she got out of the hospital, and I know as surely as I've ever known anything that she's working on my behalf wherever she is now! She's working through her friends, too. Yesterday I talked to the mom of RaeAnne's friend Brett. Every year Brett and Lizzie raise money in RaeAnne's name for the American Cancer Society, and this year Brett had the idea to sell zm candles as a fundraiser! These girls were amazing 3 years ago and they're even more amazing now.
Tomorrow is RaeAnne's birthday. Tomorrow she would be 18, a senior in high school. She would be living her life the absolute fullest like she did right up until she died, no doubt be running zm's eastern Washington division of zena moon far better than I run things here. :)
A few weeks before she died, my Mom walked into RaeAnne's hospital room. RaeAnne was alone, sitting up in bed, doing her math homework. That is faith, my friends.
I pray every day and I believe in the power of prayer, but I'm still confused about it. I am not God, and whether I live on my knees or not, kids still get sick and die. People and animals suffer horrible tragedies and illnesses. Bad stuff happens to good people all the time. Some recover, some don't. Are the ones who do recover more deserving, or the recipients of more -- or, God help us, "better" -- prayer? My heart says no.
Last week Justin my kickass personal trainer and I were talking about aging and the various reasons we've heard people give why they lived to be 95 or 100. Justin, at the ripe old age of 24, nailed it as far as I'm concerned. He said it's luck. Because we're all vulnerable, dodging seen and unseen bullets left and right, both genetic and external, day after day, year after year. Some of us succumb earlier and harder than others. Like RaeAnne.
When someone survives an accident or an illness, we often hear people say "God has plans for so-and-so." God has plans for everyone! God had plans for RaeAnne, too. They were just different than what everybody else wanted them to be.
Is there a reason, a lesson, a purpose? Beats me. If so, it will be revealed in its own good time without my meddling. Until then, if and when there *is* a then, I'm beginning to suspect it's none of my business. I'm beginning to get what Annie Dillard meant when she wrote, "Who are we to demand explanations of God?"
Accepting life on life's terms isn't easy! It's an ongoing practice. I use the serenity prayer a lot:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
It's also hard -- actually maybe unnatural is a better word -- to accept myself as-is vs. how I think I should be. There are a million things I want to do today, but the truth is I'm grieving and sad and I'm really, really tired. So this morning I cancelled my personal training session because when I asked myself Will I feel better after I do this today? the answer was a clear NO. Today I've given myself permission just to do the bare necessities.
AA meeting(done) File Q4 taxes(done) Eat lunch(done) Write(done)
- Breathe (thanks Liz)
Take Silas to dog park(done) Call my spiritual director(done)
Today that's enough. I don't need to push myself harder when I'm vulnerable, grieving and tired. I need to wrap myself in a thick soft blanket and settle back into the lap of my God ... and rest awhile.