…and Finally Going

God has been working on me, with me, and carrying me. His presence is evident to me in more ways than I can count. Honestly, sometimes the lessons are coming at me so fast and furious that it almost causes me to shut down because it’s more than I can swallow.

Easter came and went and we made it. I have been counting down the days until Mother’s Day, anxious for it to arrive and anxious to get through it. This was always Emmer’s special day where we rearranged our day to be with her however she wanted. With three generations of Moms now at two, it fell on my shoulders and Mom’s shoulders to decide how to celebrate Mother’s Day, which included remembering all that Emmer was and will continue to be through our lives.

The weatherman predicted rain, but as usual, he was wrong. It was a gorgeous day with sunshine and just the right amount of wind to keep it cool. Johnny grilled fabulous pineapple teriyaki burgers and shrimp skewers while we munched on Emmer’s favorite cheese straws. We topped off dinner with Hershey’s golden nuggets. For all who knew Emmer, I suspect you have already pictured in your head the small delicate gold basket that always held just a few chocolates which she always offered anytime you visited. We made it, and I think when I fell into bed Sunday night I finally felt myself exhale.

Yesterday I felt like I was ready to turn the page to a new chapter and take another step forward. Moving past Mother’s Day had given me strength. Running has been my “go-to” for almost 9 years. But I hadn’t run since Christmas. I had been out of town and then Emmer got sick. After she died, for a lot of reasons, I just didn’t want to run. Life and a busy sports schedule are keeping me at the ballpark every Saturday and the road had no appeal. A bit of fear about a seizure while running alone was creeping in as well. In my Mom’s ever so subtle way of encouraging me to run again she gave me a new pair of running shoes for Mother’s Day. Yesterday I decided my shoes needed breaking in. I laced them up and put on my new running shirt Mom bought me from the Boston Marathon Store on Boylston just a week after the bombings. I headed out the back door and hit start on my watch. One step at a time, one foot in front of the other. After about a half mile it began to feel a bit familiar. My goal wasn’t speed and it wasn’t distance. My goal was to just get the feel of the pavement. A little over 3 miles later I was back home. My shoulders felt a bit lighter and I think I may have been standing a little taller as I walked down the driveway cooling off.

I won’t promise myself or anyone else that I will be on the road today, but in time I will have the strength and the desire to return to regular programming. Yesterday’s run was a step in that direction. Grieving, growing, grooming, and now finally going. I’m not going to rush anything, because that accomplishes nothing. I’m taking my time, learning as I move forward and making sure that I take steps forward in my time the way that I need to. Emmer was a tremendous source of strength for me. Her loss is huge but I’m learning each day how to channel her strength and use it to propel me forward.

Grieving, growing, grooming and going. One day at a time, one step at a time. It’s all progress.

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Copyright © Gatewood Campbell, May 2013

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It’s About Perspective

Sitting here on eve of Mother’s Day, I can’t really fathom what tomorrow will feel like without Emmer. I can’t imagine not eating lunch at the Pines. I can’t remember a Mother’s Day that I didn’t spend with my Mom and my Grandmother. We will miss her, no doubt.

I’m finding great joy in knowing that Emmer will celebrate this Mother’s Day with her own Mother! What joy, what joy! I have a feeling of how much she has missed her Mom all these years and I can’t imagine the celebration surrounding their reunion.

As Mom and I continue to figure out life as two generations instead of three, we draw on the strength we were taught from the best. Lunch tomorrow won’t be the same, but in her honor we will enjoy a few of Emmer’s favorite treats and we will celebrate the joy she is experiencing with her own Mom.

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So thankful for a wonderful Mother’s Day Celebration last year!

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Copyright © Gatewood Campbell, May 2013

A Season of Grieving, Growing and Grooming

Spring is coming, slowly, but it is coming. Flowers are blooming, trees are providing shade and the ever present pollen indicates spring will be in full swing any day now. It’s the dawning of a new season.

Seasons change and sometimes the start of a new season is predictable and expected. We anticipate it and we know how to respond. Sometimes the start of a new season takes us by surprise. Those seasons can stop us in our tracks and grip us by circumstances beyond our control and outside of our imagination. For me, a track ended in Target, in Gymboree, at my Grandfather’s grave and at my Grandmother’s bedside the evening she passed.

Each time the track ended, I was paralyzed with fear and confusion. The rules of the world say you walk on, no matter what. The rules of faith say we walk on, even when the path is invisible. That’s what I did, I walked on the invisible path where God led me. Looking back there were obvious seasons I was walking beside God, in agreement with His path. Sometimes He was chasing me, pleading for my attention so I would return to His path. There have been many seasons I tiptoed behind Him, questioning every step and walking delicately as to not leave a footprint thinking I had surely been led astray. Then there were seasons that I followed behind him planting each foot firmly on the ground, knowing this was where He wanted me. I followed behind Him, because it was uncomfortable and I needed Him to motion for me, but His guidance was clear and so I was strong enough to walk strong and tall.

My fall changed my life. I thought it was a season of loss. Over the years, now looking back, I see it was actually a season of growth; growing in my faith and in following the invisible path that God had set before me. Sometimes there were forks in the road and I had to make choices. There were also paths that had no choice. I had to trust God and step out.

This has been a season of grieving, growing and grooming. The loss of my Grandmother took me by surprise. I still reach for the phone every morning at 9:15 and my car naturally heads north on Tuesdays and Fridays. I will always miss her and that won’t change. What will eventually change is how I miss her and how firmly I’m able to step forward each day knowing that God walks ahead of me, motioning for me to move forward with Him.

I’m growing in my faith as I immerse myself in God’s word and sit in silence while He speaks to me. His messages, though from a variety of sources, all have common themes. This is a season for me to remain still and quiet while he strengthens me with His love and understanding. He is mending my broken heart and refueling me with His perfect love.

I’m confident God is grooming me for something. I’m approaching another fork in the road, yet this time there is no choice for me to make or to control. God is sovereign. Romans 8:28 tells us “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”. He has carried me through a gazillion seasons that have brought me here and He won’t abandon me now.

I expected the arrival of spring. I didn’t expect to lose my Grandmother. The loss is greater because our love was deeper and so the sting is deeper. When this season in my life ends, God will bring me forth into a new season and I will be stronger having been gripped by the healing power of His perfect unconditional love and His greatness. God expected the arrival of spring and He chose the day when He called my Grandmother home.

In this season of grieving, growing and grooming, God is still working all things together for good to those who love God.

Copyright © Gatewood Campbell, May 2013