Saturday, April 13, 2013

Same Coin

Yesterday holds both pleasure and pain for me.

Lydia turned 26 yesterday, and I was still buoyed by my long conversation with her the day before. We spanned the gamut of subjects, and I was really happy that she called. She wanted to say how grateful she is for having our whole family welcome, accept, and embrace her. "Not everyone has that," she told me. She was in tears, and I was so touched that I started crying too because we have the same gratitude for her and her family that she has for us. She also let me know on her birthday that her present  from us had arrived safely and just in time, not the day late that I thought it would. Celebrating Lydia's life is a pleasure.

Ryan and Jylle came home today, and we were just sitting around talking when Ryan announced that Brennan Manning passed away. I was shocked, saddened, and suddenly had a hundred questions. I wanted to know what killed him, where he'd been living, if he'd suffered, if he'd been working on a book. I couldn't believe that the man who moved me with his raw honesty and stalwart stance on God's amazing love and grace was now perfectly Abba's child. No more books. No more speaking engagements. No more voice. I only felt loss. My first reaction was not joy at his being in Heaven and finished with his race but a magnification of the silence we've had from him these last few years. 

I did a little research and found that his health had been failing for a long time, he had neurological issues and was almost totally blind, his New Jersey home became uninhabitable after Hurricane Sandy, he was uninsured, his caregiver was a gift from God, and he wrote his memoirs in a last book called All is Grace, which I downloaded from the library and will start today.

There are now two things that are special about April 12. Pleasure and pain. Life and death. Two sides of the same coin on this journey. I close with one of my all-time favorite quotes of his:

“The splendor of a human heart that trusts it is loved unconditionally gives God more pleasure than Westminster Cathedral, the Sistine Chapel, Beethoven’s 'Ninth Symphony', Van Gogh’s 'Sunflowers', the sight of 10,000 butterflies in flight, or the scent of a million orchids in bloom. Trust is our gift back to God, and he finds it so enchanting that Jesus died for love of it.”