is the grass any bluer...

is the grass any bluer...
on the other side?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Last Sunday of the Summer of '14

Sundays are special.  Whether you are a regular church-goer or not, the day before Monday always fills the spirit with anticipation of good things to come.  Sunday is Saturday's more sensible brother, who lulls you into the awareness that there is indeed, even if just for this day, a state of unconditional redemption and forgiveness.  Sunday arrives, and things are calmer, folks are nicer.  Where I live, ladies dress in their finest hats and wear perfume that smells like my Granny's flower garden. The hallways are filled with the aroma of fried chicken, pot roasts, ribs and fixings that'll make your tongue slap your brains out! On Sundays when my shingles are in control of my life, I enjoy the afternoon worship experience in our community room. It's not the same as being in my choir and sitting in the Central chancel, but it is meaningful, nonetheless.

Somehow I feel as if my shingles problem condition is a blessing.  It keeps me home a lot, which is good for those who enjoy reading what I write. I do a lot of writing when I'm in pain. Most days, the shingles feel like burning matches coming out of my skin, and they keep me from doing what I usually do. So I have stayed home and done some writing, gone to choir and church on days when my rash is simply a minor itch versus the burning back outbreak that it simply too painful to endure whilst listening to a sermon. At home, I can listen and use the special medication, a pain gel that keeps the awfulness at bay.   
break up and remain pals = someone's heart's breakin'

I say all that to say this. I am not perfect. Nobody is. Everyone is suffering from something, or will be at some point in their lives, whether it be poor health or poor wealth, everyone will face trials in their lifetimes.. Please pray for understanding to see their suffering and be as kind as possible.  Pray along when there is a prayer offered -- when someone requests prayer, I actually stop what I am doing and ask Healing God or Mother God or Father Teacher -- whatever the image of God I want to address -- to embrace the person requesting prayer in the eternal love that is beyond understanding and to give them courage to go on.

I hope others find a way to stop what they are doing and learn how to pray more easily when times get tough.  Times do, you know.  Times get tough.  Life's not fair.  However, God is good.  That is my belief, anyway. I learned how to pray when I served as a Stephen Minister, somehow the Lord gives me the words to say, and I consider it a privilege to pray when someone asks (and even when they do not ask).

Kimmy and her incredibly nice nephew Josh
So I shall say goodbye to Summer now. The season that saw me break up with Daniel, yet try to remain his best friend (note to self: not a good idea) -- the 90 days or so when I swore I would swim every day but got the damned shingles and swam once, at the YMCA, for ten bucks. Fare thee well to the July when my big sister called and told me my baby brother Tom was gone. 

See ya next year, August, this year you were replete with good things because Tom's son, Josh, reached out and found me, and now I have a fantastic nephew that is simply a joy to know.  I had the chance to meet him and become his friend.  Therefore, with my brother's sudden and shocking death, came a blessing that is beyond words to explain because of the complicated grief that it involves along with the joyful discovery of new family.  Also I shall love August of 14 for another reason: the return of my only living brother, my lil brother the chef, Addison, who is now working at Columbia's steakhouse downtown and I could not be happier that he has returned to Lexington.  With the death of two of my three brothers within the last two years, it is good to have Ad here, alive and kickin arse as he does. He is about to be reunited with his son, too, so things are looking up for the dwindling Thomas kids.

It is unfortunate that Tom died at such a young age. Cardiac arrest at 46.  Wow.  My brother Tom and I were 'on the outs' for years before his death, and I am sad that I let my heart become so hardened that I refused his efforts to make peace with me, though I prayed every day for God to soften my heart toward him. My inability to forgive tortured me for years.  Finally, Reverend Carol Rawls told me that "having a willing heart was all God wanted," and I needed to forgive myself, too. 

Back to prayer and how we can all learn to pray in a way that brings meaning to our lives. There are prayer building exercises, and I encourage you to find a way to pray and talk to the Lord.  He wants to know you more.  Don't you want to know Him more?

At Tom's funeral, I prayed this prayer, and I offer it now in dedication to my youngest sibling, Thomas Albert Thomas, who truly was the apple of my Ma and Pa's eye.  
 
Glorious God, Source of all joy and righteousness,
enable us as redeemed children evermore
to rejoice in all that is part of your wondrous creation.

Creator God, we rejoice today in celebration
of the life of your servant,
a fully baptized, immersed believer
 --our brother, our silly sibling, our friend and uncle,
 our baby brother, Tom,
 who bounced into our world, the Thomas household,
born with a full head of hair and a full mouthful of teeth!

This baby boy was a welcome blessing
to Mom Pearl, who had a four-year-old Kelli
in her constant care as Kelli
 was born with a congenital heart murmur.

Precious Lord, our Mom thanked you for that
unexpected blessing of a towheaded baby, Tom,
who brought her so much joy and was such a wonderful
 part of Pearl and Marshall Henry's lives.

And God and you were so generous with the
many gifts granted to Tom: many talents,
like golfing, whistling '-)
selling, singing and mimicry, which is a Thomas trait!

Knowing Father, we know you know this
 because you know every word that
 is on our lips before we ever utter them,
 but Tom's first word was "car." He loved to watch the cars
 go by and would always point out
 the window and laugh and say "car car" -
such a sweet baby boy, such a blessing!

Heavenly father, we know he is resting
 in your embrace today.
you hold him in the palm of your hand
as a redeemed and forgiven child,
and we ask that you
grant us grace
and Grant Tom peace, Your peace,
the peace that surpasses all understanding.

Finally healing God you're crying followers
 ask for understanding today,
 we hurt so badly
 we are not able to understand why Tom's life ended so soon,
took so many turns--why he followed so many paths
 that lead him to turmoil
 to joy to love then to pain and to enlightenment
 and finally love again with Stacy and her son Levi.

God we don't understand why
Tom's life ended before we had a chance to say goodbye,
but thank you Lord for the love you gave us
 in the form of this man.

Now, Father, we ask that you grant that what we say
and sing with our lips,
that we may believe in our hearts
and what we believe in our hearts,
we may practice in our lives...so that by being
doers of the word and not hearers only,
we may receive everlasting life
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who taught us to pray, saying,
'Our father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
 Give us this day our daily bread and
forgive us our trespasses as we
 forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation but
deliver us from evil
for thine is the kingdom
and the power
and the glory
forever.
Amen.'

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