Dried Arrangement

It was the first birth date of our deceased son. On this unusual occasion, I questioned whether to celebrate or to do the easy thing…lose myself in mourning? The idea came that I must honor his memory in a healthy way. I would cook a couple of his favorite foods as if he was with us; I would spend the day browsing picture albums and reminiscing. I permitted myself to think: It’s okay to not be okay. Admittedly, my ability to give thanks was at a low ebb.

Vegetable beef soup simmered on the stove as I sliced fresh bananas and crumbled vanilla wafers into sweet pudding. Tears came as I remembered doing the same so many times before. I reminisced during the early morning hours…then noticed how the day began to unfold differently than what I’d planned. Responsibilities mounted. I soon realized that photo albums were going to have to wait.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” [I Thes. 5:18]   This word rang true. I wish I could say my attitude made an about-face. But it didn’t. My soul was drying out.

Glancing over my shoulder, I read a text message on the phone screen: “Are you home? We have something for you.” Before long, the young couple walked in with a fresh bouquet of flowers ~ but not ‘the usual.’ Standing tall among the flowers, in honor of our son’s memory, were seven plastic floral picks holding pictures of him. Some of him alone; and some, with his family members. My tears flowed.

For days I glanced at the center of the kitchen table at the various poses of our son, each time my heart being deeply stirred. Eight days passed before I realized I was going to have to part with the drying flowers. My soul, having been its own “dried arrangement;” recalled how the Lord brought cheer in the midst of my pain.

My birthday came the following day, and fresh flowers were one of my treasured gifts. I quickly exchanged the dried ones for the fresh, and rearranged the pictures that honored our son’s memory.

Note to self: “In all circumstances,” a thankful heart repeatedly exchanges the dried for the fresh.

One thought on “Dried Arrangement

  1. Beautiful, Pastor Carolyn. Thank you for sharing a bit of your journey with us. I know that choosing to look for the good and being thankful in the midst of grief and pain is difficult, but certainly pleasing to the Lord.

    Liked by 1 person

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