Sunday, July 8, 2007

some things He's shown me...

Sweet friends...

Tonight, I had the precious joy of watching my younger sister marry. I've spent months preparing for it, and yet, in the last ten days, have had to re-evaluate what it means to stand up for one's sibling in such a ceremony, what it means to celebrate commitment to another, and how I would ever do either. I have to tell you that the Lord is revealing new things to me all the time, one of which is that cliches are cliches because they often hold great truth. People talk about the 'power of prayer' and of course it's even scriptural that we can have a "peace that passes understanding," but until you have tapped into that, it's hard to buy it. I confess it now freely because I believe Conor and I have been witnesses and partakers in such a power and peace. As I said, God keeps finding it somehow important for me to stumble across new truths - some of which, I'm sure for you, aren't new at all. And so, at one a.m., the urge to write them down compels me to share with now.

1. Encouragement does not mean a shift in circumstances. Because Conor and I have received such dire news, there's a "sinking down" that you experience which, although I'm sure logistically could be lower, feels somehow totally hopeless on some levels - and therefore forces us to Jesus. I walk through each day clinging to Him... and I don't even really know what that means other than the fact that I drive my car around and have to say aloud occasionally, "God, I need you... Please get me through today." And He does. He doesn't change things... He doesn't necessarily make them better. But somehow, it's easier. That would be the "passing understanding" part of the peace. I can't explain it. But I do know that I have learned in just a few short days not to expect for that peace, whether directly from the Lord or via a friends' well-wishes, to come only at the price of a change in my landscape. Things look bleak. Things may continue to. But faith, hope and love do indeed endure.

2. I have believed, in my twenty-seven (almost twenty-eight now!) years of living, that I have understood despair. Perhaps not known it, but grasped it conceptually. How little I realized that despair is not a concept, not even an idea, most of us can fully interpret until we've felt it in our stomachs, breathed it in, tasted it on the air. I realized the other afternoon that it's much like sitting on the bottom of a lake, looking up at the waving surface: the people above can place their hands onto the water, feel it skim their fingertips, but until they are lodged at the bottom of that lake, it's difficult to fully know what it looks and feels like down below. I was one such person. And perhaps you are now. I don't enjoy being on the bottom of the lake. And I confess I pray never to be again (although I do know that's highly unlikely). But I can say this: things become remarkably clear down there. There isn't as much distraction. And perhaps the greatest blessing is that suddenly, you are knit together with a great portion of the world who often feels that they, too, are stuck at the bottom of that lake. Despair isn't circumstantial - how pesky our circumstances seem to be! - but rather universal. If we have not tasted it, I suspect we are not really living. I pray something in my eyes will forever give away that I, too, have had my share of "lower-lake-living", and that I can love people better for it.

3. My dad loves the song "September" by Earth Wind and Fire. Tonight, we danced to it with my sister, her new husband, and the rest of my gloriously large extended family. It was heaven. I tried to capture every image around me to stow away in my brain for a harder day - people bouncing, laughing, sweating, the music blaring, the sounds of joyful shouts ringing around me. Perhaps what was most precious was watching my incredibly energetic three year-old, at well toward 10 o'clock, boogying the night away. She imparts so much joy with so little effort. And that's what hit me: I had prayed for joy. You had prayed for joy. In the midst of a sorrowful time, a time when things feel so despondent, there can be joy. I choose it. Not for tomorrow, but for now. I cannot say what I will feel tomorrow and my soul tells me that I will probably find these words hard to bear down the road. But for the moment, I will gird myself up by saying that joy is a thing we must put on. God offers us the cloak... we must slip it over our shoulders. We may not have the opportunity to choose much in Copeland's life: her Christmas gifts, her school, her hair bows and dresses, the dailies of her schedule and the small trivialities that I must confess now I so long to hold onto. But we can choose the legacy of joy we leave her. I rejoice that even now, she will inherit more than heirlooms. My hope is that somehow, as Conor and I walk this journey, seeking to put on joy - and hope, and expectation, and acceptance - both of our girls will be blessed.


Mike said...

boothe and connor,
it was so great to see you and your family celebrate together last nite. that is what family is all about. celebrating the good and holding u up in the bad. i have experienced the "bottom of the lake " and it is truly like breathing under water. seeing the clouds pass over your head and not being able to reach them. but i also have experienced the slow journey out of that place and the mark it left on me is great. it comes over me when i need to be compassionate with someone else going thru great pain. you will experience great joy and sorrow with your children, but it is so worth it. you will learn to breathe under water for a while and i am confident you will surface a much stronger swimmer in the end. i love you and am here if you need a break from thinking . just come to the farm and experience some ellie mae clampet spa treatment.
love ya
leigh ann

Kristy C said...

You don't really know me, I'm Gary's niece. Phyllis has kept me updated, but I am glad to find your blog. My mom follows your column, and has been raving about you as a writer. I must say you are gifted! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

I'm pregnant too and am expecting a little girl at the end of the month. I feel connected to you for a number of reasons, mostly because we are both experiencing pregnancy simultaneously. I'm not trying to say in anyway that I understand what you are feeling, only that I can imagine in a more tangible way. Please know that we are praying for you, Conor, Sellers, and especially Copeland!

I hope someday we get to meet again (I'm sure we did years ago out at the farm)

Love in Christ,

Me said...

What a fantastic family picture!

Kaylane Crandall

simonsays said...

A beautifully written blog - I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes. You are learning some huge life-lessons, Boothe. I wish you didn't have to go through this, but I am blown away that you are choosing to share with us what God is showing you in the midst of it.

It was good to see you and hug your neck the other night. It was a beautiful wedding and really special night. That Sellers is a doll baby!


Karah Jennings said...

Booth, we have never met, but I feel as though I know you somewhat because of all the wonderful things I've heard about you over the months from my sweet sister-in-law, Lindsay. She raves about you! You know Linds has many sisters-in-law so I am the one married to Matt and we have a 7 month old, Isabella. Anyway, from the beginning of the venture you and Lindsay began I don't know how long ago starting the magazine, I have come to admire you. After reading your truly poetic words, now I am in just complete awe of you! I was reading and trying to hold back tears, but then you wrote, "You prayed for joy" and that was it- down came niagra falls! (thanks a lot! :>) I have prayed for you as have countless others I am sure. In that sentence you told me that at least some of our prayers have been answered and when I see God work, it touches me so deeply. Please know that I will continue to pray for you, your family, and of course that precious baby girl you are carrying! I look forward to hearing about more answered prayer and about the work God is doing in your lives. You are witnessing to me and everyone around you! Thank you! Many blessings, Karah <><

Kerry said...

I found your blog from Madeline's blog. Just wanted to let you know we are praying for you guys from Chicago.

Cindy said...

I also found your blogspot from Madelines' moms blog. I was encouraged to hear how God is teaching you so much and using your life to bring Him glory. I'm a mom of three girls who had my oldest beat me to heaven 4 months ago. She was 6 yrs. 9 mo. and we miss her greatly, yet rejoice that she is in the presence of our Savior. You can read her journey at I will be praying for you, and your precious Copeland. Life is hard this side of heaven, but thank the Lord this life is not it. God has truly been faithful to carry us, and reveal Himself more and more through these last 4 really difficult months. Though I never would have chose the journey He has taken us on, to experience His grace has truly been amazing. Keep your eyes on Him, and know I will be praying for your family and all you come into contact with. That through your journey you can shine brightly for a God who loves us more than we can imagine.
Only by His Grace,
Cindy Waldeck

Laurie said...

Hi Boothe and Connor,
I found your blog on Madeline's mom's blog and want you to know I will be praying for you out here in California. I want you to know that your description of despair was what I needed to hear. I've been through many seasons of despair in my 59 years and I have never been able to explain the depth of it until reading it here. The Lord is so faithful to see us through these seasons and joy is such a wonderful distraction and blessing to lift us out, even if only moments at a time to give us hope. I will pray that your marriage grow stronger through this season of your lives. I also believe in miracles, big and small and I have seen many little ones in my life that were so huge. I pray for these to gently rain upon you as you walk this journey together, trusting the Master to do His complete work in Copeland. ~~Lots of Love and Hugs from a grandmother in California.~~

Darby Stickler said...

I'm praying in Dothan!! Glad to have found your blog!

Melissa said...

so thankful to have found your blog! i continue to pray for your family! blessings, melissa (rosenbaum) platt

erika said...

Boothe, I agree with everyone else, what a blessing your blog is! You are brave to share your journey and it encourages me greatly to see the hope that you have embraced. We are praying for you from Florida!

The Adcocks said...

Ashley Sasser is one of my best friends and she has asked me to pray for you and your family through the tough trials ahead. She sent me the link to your blog and I can't say how in awe I am of your faith and your beautiful writing and undertanding of what is going on. Please know that you are in my prayers daily, that you and your beautiful family will continue to daily strive for the peace that passes understanding. Your blog has made a huge impact on me and the way I think about life and how fragile it is. I pray that God will place his hand on you and baby Copeland through this time of sorrow.

JUST A MOM said...

May Jesus hold your hand at every monent of the day. Thank you for sharing I will be yet another stranger praying for your family.