"I miss my husband", she sadly lamented to me. I was struck by the anguish in her tone and melancholy expression. As a volunteer at the retirement center’s wine and music social, I had noticed this elderly lady would leave early from the weekly function. It was not clear why. On this occasion as she stood up from her chair, I brought her walker to the table where she was sitting. Grasping the walker’s handles securely, she tilted her head up for eye contact with me before revealing the terse, heart-aching sentiment. It was in that moment she paused, her eyes mirrored the painful loss of connection with her husband. Is there rescue from drowning in the tumultuous sea of sadness?
In contrast to spring’s sprouts of bursting wild flowers, fresh water rivers fed by melting mountain snow, April’s seasonal awakening in nature had not always been comforting to me. While the past can’t be erased, the month of April has ushered blatant suffering to my body, mind, and spirit. Last April marked divorce. This year’s Easter, April 16th is the forty-first anniversary of a near fatal accident that resulted in right arm paralysis. Stage four cancer was thwarted by disfiguring, but life-surviving treatment twenty-one Aprils ago. Of course, everybody has a story of traumatic life-changing events. Most stories don’t include a victory celebration. Many of life’s catastrophic chapters defeat brave warriors. Where do we find grace to combat the intrusions of grief that rob life’s joy?
With the Easter story, Jesus overcame death. He lived thirty-three years in the same flesh and blood earth-suit we struggle with. Jesus had the same challenges, temptations, pain, and sorrow that we all face. Easter’s resurrection is the gift for grace to overcome earth’s tribulations; and transformation to heaven’s eternal reign with Papa God. Acceptance through faith is the way to the Father’s kingdom. “If you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
During the years of “fighting the good fight”, I’ve discovered a guiding principle that eases “troubled waters”. Serve with perpetual gratitude. With a heart of prayer, meditation, and thanksgiving, yield your eyes, ears, and hands to comfort others who are in dire need. Just over a year ago, God gave me a vision to form an internet platform (https://www.LovesIntention.com) to advocate for compassionate and generous service. Through volunteer service with Mercy Hospice, Brookdale Memory Care, Riverview Terrace Retirement Center, Saving Grace Pet Adoption Center, Roseburg Rescue Mission, and Garden Valley Church’s Compassion Team, I’ve been intentional with my time, energy, talents, and resources. Placing an emphasis on serving my community has lessened my personal burdens.
Amidst our own seasons of brokenness, let’s toss the buoy of hope and encouragement to rescue those caught in tides of anguish and misery. Broken to serve. Just like Jesus.