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Saturday, April 4, 2015

Best Laid Plans

Robert Burns and John Steinbeck were right when they each used a version of best laid plans oft go awry. Today, on the one year anniversary of my dad's passing, right now, almost to the minute, we had intended to inter his ashes in the same place where my mom's are. I had a fanciful notion that being up on the desert ridge at sunrise while scattering his ashes during the same time period that his death was unfolding a year ago would be meaningful. So we rose at 5.45 a.m. and along with my cousin and his wife, headed out to the place in the desert we wanted to be.
Alas upon arrival we discovered that this area was closed. So we pondered what to do and realized that sunset, as we did with mom, would be the likely time. So we greeted the early morning and agreed to meet up again later today. It was disappointing to me, but what can you do? Best laid plans of mice and men and daughters oft go awry.

On the upside, it's a gorgeous, fresh morning. The sun is now sneaking up above the ridge and can be seen from the backyard. Mt. San Jacinto is welcoming this new day in all of its wondrous glory. We even caught a glimpse of the lunar eclipse, a reward for getting up so early today.

The roses in our garden are blooming like crazy. Dad loved his roses so it's a good connection. A new rose, a peace rose, emerged earlier this week. Delicate, fragrant, beautiful. Tanner is a good companion this morning.

As we arrived back home from our futile outing, my watch said 6.35. The time of death a year ago. It still kind of tears me apart remembering how I sat with him over night and prayed for a peaceful passing. He did not go easily but now he's at rest. He's better off, but I just miss him so much. I'm drinking my coffee out of this cup in memory of him...he was #1 in so many different ways.

I'm grateful that the anniversary of his passing falls on the Saturday before Easter. My grief connects me to how devastated the Saturday after Christ's crucifixion must've felt to Christ's followers. The sting of death. The ending of an earthly relationship that was so powerful and meaningful in your life. Hopes and dreams for the future shattered. In some ways, the grief and heartache of Easter Saturday are such appropriate emotions for me on this day.
But I have an advantage over those who walked the earth with Christ. I already know what awaits us tomorrow at sunrise. The grave will be empty. Resurrection will unfold. Christ the Lord will be Risen and his followers along with him.  The words of I Thessalonians 4 resonate with me this morning:

"Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words."

We do not grieve without hope. For this, I am grateful. Perhaps my grief will ebb a bit now that we've passed the year marker. I'm thankful that although this makes the loss all the more profound, I feel grateful that we were so close and enjoyed one another so much. 

As I sit on the patio, listening to my friends and former Immanuel colleagues' music, I am at peace, profound peace. My heart is a bit heavy and tears flow. But I do not grieve without hope. 
And I am confident that sunset will be an equally meaningful time to inter dad's ashes.
Thanks be to God.