Mending Fences

Loss – in all the forms in which it raises its ugly head in our lives – often blows through like a late summer twister. If you’ve ever seen the aftermath of tornadoes on the evening news (or in your social media fee), you’ve seen how they hop and skip across the landscape indiscriminately dispensing mercy and destruction. 

On one block – a pile of splinters and twisted wire. On the next – nary a blade of grass out of place. 

Loss does the same thing. It skips across the landscape of our lives indiscriminately dispensing mercy and destruction. One week, we may be the ones giving thanks that our manicured lawns and carefully curated flower beds are intact. Even so – there will come a time when we each will face a pile of splinters and twisted wire.

Loss reduces our boundaries (our personal fences) to a pile of rubble. And that’s assuming we had good fences before loss came blowing through town.

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Living is Risky Business

I’m not really a bucket list kind of girl. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE lists – to-do lists, grocery lists, check lists, and so on.

Safe lists.

Decidedly unrisky lists. 

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Learning To Fly . . .

It was spring of 2012. The thick aroma of crawfish bread, gumbo, and po-boys cut through an even thicker shroud of South Louisiana humidity. Anticipation dangled in the air as the girls and I waited for Tom Petty to arrive on the Jazz Fest stage.

By this time, the girls had reached ages (14 and 12). Arguably a suitable age to run to the concessions on their own (using the “buddy system”). So, I watched them traipse off into a sea of strangers while I waited. 

And I waited. 

And I waited.

Ticking off minutes is not exactly in my wheelhouse. In this particular case, I had to fight off a torrent of worry over improbable outcomes to the situation. This did not make ticking any easier.

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Mark it with a “B”

My guess is that most of you do not know what you were doing twenty years ago today at precisely 4:58 a.m. Just as quickly, as I typed that last sentence, it dawned on me that a lot of you were probably sleeping. The anti-climactic intro aside – I can tell you exactly where I was and what I was doing.

I was in a labor and delivery room at Baptist Hospital on Napoleon Avenue (New Orleans). After less than three hours at the hospital, the medical staff was placing a wiggly 7lb 3oz baby girl in my arms – Shannon Marie Posey.

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Through All of It

Life is full of it. Everyone we meet has it. More realistically, they have piles of it.

What is it?

Everyone’s it is different. Some its are temporary – A season of unemployment that stretches beyond the reach of the emergency reserves. A rough patch in your marriage where you and your spouse aren’t in the same book much less on the same page. A family member graces the local brewpub more frequently than they grace the family dinner table. The diagnosis is serious but cure is worse than the ill. There’s no telling how long these its will last.

Still other times, it singes like flames devour a wooden frame and a lifetime of photographs. It chimes like a doorbell at 2 a.m. rung by the hand of a highway patrolman doing his duty. It pierces the heart swiftly and cleanly as a disgruntled employee sweeps through the work place. It is a bucketful of pills to manage the symptoms of an illness that isn’t going away. It is the undeniable form of a loved one twisted neatly under a blue drape at an accident scene.

In other words, some its are permanent. There’s no undoing it. There’s no rewinding it. There’s no replacing it.

We all have it. There’s no getting around it. We all have to figure out what are we gonna do with it?

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Grief School: Lesson #2 – It’s a Thing

It was just a fourteen-year-old Jeep. Yet, when it sold last week, you would have thought I was selling a kidney for the emotion that was stirred up.

Miles of wandering like a nomad when Hurricane Katrina left us homeless.

Miles of traveling back home to take care of a beloved Aunt who became ill unexpectedly.

Miles of horseback riding lessons.

Miles of soccer games.

Miles of tennis lessons.

Miles of hauling tack trunks and saddles.

Miles of road trips.

Miles of who knows what when that old Jeep was turned over to my older daughter at age 16.

Over 153,000 miles of my life was wrapped up in that Old Jeep. What’s the big deal? I’ve sold and traded vehicles without so much as the bat of a lash. Why was this time so different?

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Connecting the Dots . . .

As a kid (and even beyond), I was am a sucker for puzzles. Crosswords. Word jumbles. Word searches. Sudoku. I couldn’t even resist the humble “Connect the Dots.” Seriously, what is more satisfying that to watch a scene unfold from a smattering of random dots strewn across a piece of paper?

Growing up, the Bible was a lot like a smattering of dots for me. I learned it a dot at a time. The story of Adam and Eve. A story about Jonah and a big fish. A story about feeding a crowd with no time to hit the grocery. A tale of Joseph and his fancy coat. An account of how a boy named David took down giant named Goliath and another about Daniel escaping the lion’s den. A yarn about Noah, a flood, a dove, and a rainbow. Stories strewn across the pages of my youth like random dots – unnumbered and out of order. 

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