Friday, August 23, 2013

Eyes Wide Open...

It’s been almost eight months since Jillian was stolen from her family. While our lives stood still in time, the world continued to pulse and circle around us with its primal force. There is no stopping it. The clerk checking out my purchases at the store asking me how I’m doing today, and if I’ve found everything I need. Feeling the hair on the back of my neck bristle as I mentally clamp my hand over my mouth preventing me from saying, “ No, I’m not doing okay. I just passed the freezer section and almost purchased a box of Snickers bars for Jillian. Only she isn’t here, you see. Please don’t talk to me”.

Jillian’s friends have graduated from college and are preparing to begin their new lives and careers. Jillian doesn't get to do that. Charlotte turned two in July without having her aunt here to give her that big birthday hug and kiss. The summer passes without her. No boat rides, no camping trips, no kayaking. And yet…….

I’ve been thinking back to  the day when I was sitting at U of M while Jillian had her first chemo treatment. That was almost a year ago. Her brain tumors had grown, treatment options were running out. I was instant messaging my friend Staci while I waited for Jillian to return. My hands were shaking, my heart was pounding against my chest, my mouth was dry. I felt as if I would fly out of my skin.

Me: “Where’s my Miracle, Stac?”  Silence.

I knew she was sitting across the state with tears streaming down her face, thinking about how she could comfort me. It took quite a while before she replied, “Jillian IS your Miracle, Sue”.  

Staci’s words mean more to me today than they did that day in the waiting room. Jillian IS my Miracle. Because of Jillian, I’m learning grace. She is teaching me how to be strong, when I have no strength. She has given me laughter through the tears,  and an open eye to the Miracles I experience each day.

Slowly, we are healing. Oh, there are many times when the Mama Bear in me rears its ugly head. Times when I want to scream in agony from the raw pain that Jillian’s death has inflicted upon my soul. But we ARE healing. I’m finding joy again, and I’m learning to find good in an incredibly tragic situation.

We live in a broken world and tragedy strikes without warning. We aren’t promised a long life. We aren’t promised a life without pain or strife. And frankly, we don’t deserve one thing. The thing we are promised is that God is with us in the best of times, and He shines in the worst of times.

The miracles are there, ya know. They’ve shown themselves to me over and over. And this is only the beginning. Our world may be broken, but it is our world, and oh so beautiful. 

 Where is your Miracle? Look for it. I’ll bet it’s right there, just
waiting for you to grab hold.