Thursday, February 14, 2013

An everlasting LOVE...

Yesterday we (like it or not) ushered in Ash Wednesday, the official beginning of Lent. 

 ...For I have loved you with an everlasting love...
~ Jeremiah 31:3

Along with its entry, one couldn't help notably sighting both adults and children, darkly crossed on their foreheads, with visible reminders of "ashes to ashes, and dust to dust". 

With Ash Wednesday falling where it has this year on our calendars, being able to have "St. Valentine's Day" love feasting in our midst the very day next day, make no mistake that (sacrificial) love reminders are warmly embracing us, both spiritually and emotionally, and have never occurred back to back this way, simply by coincidence.

"Teach us...
that we may feel the importance of every day,
of every hour, as it passes."  
~ Jane Austen

   Week 3 is steadily moving forward for my husband's respiratory rehabilitation. Once again, we have been offered an uncanny and timely reminder, on how this often crushing cross lung disease affects our family. With the timing too comes the occasional reminder to take a momentary step back, to grasp how fleeting our daily moments really are, and to begin taking the next necessary steps ahead - concentrating on keeping one foot pacing along in front of the other...go,go,go.

Perhaps, rather than thinking this cross as an unfathomable burden, I've been really pondering, why not make the attempt to slightly turn it around, and be grateful for this gift of timing instead.

It is a love offering option to try, no one said it would be easy, and of course it's lent for a double reminder of sacrifices being made, but think of it... if only we would choose instead to pray for eyes wide open, and for the courage to surrender to all of the wonderful possibilities life can offer us throughout the lenten season ahead.

Certainly every individual has their own personal crosses to carry, so may this early entry into Lent once again remind us to mindfully reflect on how we are honestly doing with that important task.  

The decision to re-enter into resp. rehab, wasn't something my hubby wanted to submit to when doctors insisted it to be so, especially the part about having to be away from his family as an inpatient in the confines of a hospital ward, along with some 28 others in his respiratory hospital wing, all of them also making the grueling attempt at working hard to continue battling various types of lung diseases like him. 
But, for the love (and begging pleas) of his wife and family, his affirming decision has consequently offered us all, an example of a very real and sacrificial kind of love.  

As St. Paul declared in Corinthians 28:19; 

"...real love always protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres. Love never fails." 

There are times when the weight of one's cross quickly becomes much lighter with the love and cheering of family and friends. 
Our children have all offered their father (sometimes daily) love within their cheery texting/emailing sentiments;

"Go, Dad, Go!"
"You're my hero"
"Keep up the great work!"
"You can do it!"
 "We love you!"
"You've got this!"

He has never been far from my own heart, and my spontaneous prayer offerings throughout the day, thoughts frequently visiting me over what he might be doing at that present timing, hoping he's breathing okay, praying yet another new round of medical tests don't produce further complications (like two did last week), and attempting all the while to keep up everyone's spirits around here.
 "You can't make up time; 
you can only use what's left, better." 
~ Oscar G. Darlington  
Today, and every day, I continue to cherish and celebrate the love I have for this man, still strong so many years later since that very first "Knights of Columbus" dance where we vividly noticed how cupid's arrows began darting at our hearts. 
I eagerly await and trust in the journey ahead, submitting totally to God's will for our lives...because "he loves us with an everlasting love".
Happy St. Valentine's Day!

"Keep a good heart. 
That's the most important thing in life.
It's not how much money you make or what you can acquire.
The art of it is to keep a good heart."
~ Joni Mitchell