Written on March 16, 2016. By Shari Norvell
For many, this week is known as the phenomenon, “Spring Break”. We have enjoyed that aspect many a time, yet it isn’t why we look forward to the week. For us, it is all about birthdays with two of our ménage being born two days and thirty years apart.
As keepers of celebration, marking events such as these is something we do well. And as we ride the wave of wonderful, I can never enter and leave this week without opening the little envelope of remembrance the sits atop the crest.
Fifteen years ago, I was preparing for a little girl’s second birthday party and a surprise getaway with my person for his day. My mom had come to visit and the plan was to simply sweep her away with us in the festivities and fun.
Then something knocked at our door that we did not invite. Death. Just one night after receiving my mom, my dad had a massive heart attack and he received an invitation that he would never turn down, Heaven. His death came in sudden and stun. Breath was hard and words hidden.
Our getaway now held a twist and turn as we drove from Colorado to Texas with a loaded car and laden hearts.
We marked his life and how well he lived it over the next days. Engraved forever in my heart is the moment when the biggest, burliest men I had ever seen stood before his casket weeping, holding each other up as they walked by. Men that worked with my dad day by day, year after year.
My dad was the quietest of men, yet you always knew he was there. He didn’t get “involved”. He impacted. His life was the same in his everyday and everywhere. For some that might seem boring. On him, it was beautiful. For he left no discrepancy in the mundane or the marvelous, Who he belonged to and Who he walked with.
And then came a lull in our lament. Before us was a girl turned two with a head full of curls and “big brown eyes that make your heart stand still” (shout out to Bruce Springsteen for that description as you helped those of us with such eyes to feel, well, sassy!)
That morning, her morning, I read this quote:
Goodness is either the greatest safety or the greatest danger – according to the way you react to it. CS Lewis
That morning, I wanted to disappear in the devastate. But He, my Holy Him, my unrelenting Hymn wanted me to dance in the danger of His goodness. Even when I didn’t feel like dancing. Maybe especially because I didn’t.
I chose the danger. And as I placed ribbons and bows upon trinkets and toys, I recognized that I was the wrapped and the greatest gift I could give was to be present. All the way there, even as my heart lingered in a goodbye, not yet ready or eager to leave my lips. My grieving wouldn’t end that day, but my absence would.
The Hebrew word for “wrapped” is ‘lut’ and it means “to wrap closely or tightly, envelop, cleave or stick to, adhere, garment, the surface of covering.”
I learned that, that morning. Her morning. HIS morning. That when I feel drenched and drowned, He still asks me to take a drink. When I feel burned and baked, He still asks me to take off my shoes and become the burning bush. He wraps me when I want to wander. He implores me to stay when I look through the map of escapes that don’t lead to Him. He wraps me and I choose to be the present or not. To be present or not.
That has been a journey. Living dangerous instead of safe. Kinda crazy. His danger is the only safe place there is.
Wrapped in this week, I remember. And I miss. I miss that man. Simple and stellar. Perfectly content to be a dad and grandpa. And Gods.
My heart is a little torn as I think of all the times I was wrapped, but wasn’t present enough to know the dad I know now, then. But even in the tear (and a few tears) the balm comes. For I am a carrier in the now of who he always was. He gave me the covenant of wrapped. And today – it’s sticking!
Journal a time that you were wrapped but not present. A time you may have disappeared into the devastate, instead of journeying through it. You may even see how it impacts you still. Let him show you what you “missed” and bring it into your now. You aren’t without it! You just haven’t unwrapped it yet!