Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Winter or Spring

Mom K looked at the picture I had taken of her and cried, "Oh no. I look so old!" I spent the morning yesterday visiting with her, and was showing her pictures on my phone. She shook her head at the pictures of her, "So old!"
Why is it that those in the winter of life look in the mirror expecting to see spring? And sometimes, those of us expecting spring look at life and see winter.

Crowds were gathered at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, celebrating the race that has such a history there and always heralds the spring in the chilly Northeast. Meanwhile, Asherel and I were at a nursing home teaching the residents to draw a panda. We go once a month. Asherel leads the class, and I circulate among the residents helping them. Our little art class has increased in size. We had so many residents that we had to sit one off to the side at his own table. While drawing, the muted TV was on in the corner of the room. My phone rang. I answered it, noticing it was my husband, and saw a sign flash across the TV screen that there had been explosions in Boston. In Boston! My son Anders lives in Boston!

But the phone call was not about Boston. Arvo's brother, Raivo, had been found dead in his upstate NY apartment. He was only 61 years old.

"Explosion in Boston!" said one of the residents, looking at the TV, "What happened?!" The activity director went off to check her computer to give us details while we finished the art class. My son is in Boston, I thought.

We went home to hug Arvo and make plans for him to head to Syracuse. I had texted my son Anders that morning, before any of this transpired, asking how he was doing. He had not written back. That morning I had also led a Bible study with Asherel about how we so often grow angry with God when we don't receive blessings, when all we see are trials. I told her that as a parent, I understood that a little better. Sometimes, our children don't like the restrictions, the struggles we place them in which we as parents know they must endure. And sometimes children grow very angry and hateful over what they see as insufferable, unfair rules. The lesson is, I warned her, trials will come. Don't hate God or lose faith when they do. He is not there to prevent the trials, but to be there with you through them.

As we moved somewhat numbly through the day, calling friends and relatives, I got a text from Anders. "Can't chat now, but I am fine," he said.
Raivo was a believer. He had many struggles in life, but in the past few years had embraced Jesus as Lord. Arvo called him nearly every day, often to talk sports, but also to talk about God. We both knew that Raivo was now out of the race, out of the struggle, and could finally rest with his Heavenly Father. I imagine our Heavenly Father is as weary and dismayed as all of us of the scene that remains in Boston. This is not at all how races to glory should end.

Ecclesiastes 9:11-12,18 (NIV)
I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. [12] Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them. [18] Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, [2] fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. [3] Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

-save a dog- hollowcreekfarm.org


  1. Sending hugs and prayers your way. You are amazing and your book about Honeybun is so inspiring, not only because of your fine dog and wonderful daughter, but because of the reminders that God loves us even though we are not and never will be perfect.

    God Bless you and your fine family! Please deliver some 'scritches' to Honeybun and Lucky.

  2. Sandra, Thank you so much for those kind words. I have delivered the much appreciated "scritches" to both dogs.