Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Extra

Did you know that Amish women wear black for a whole year when a loved one dies?  There was a time in my life that I would have thought that was just terrible.  Now I think it is an amazing way for broken people to express on the outside what is happening on the inside.  Everywhere they go others are visibly reminded that they need extra…   extra love, patience, tears, prayers, hugs, “how are you’s?...”  Extra.  

Our culture does not have many, healthy ways to express deep grief and pain (in my humble opinion).  We generally expect people to say they are fine when we ask and regret asking if they do say something else.  One of the difficulties in grieving is working out how to function in the world while your insides are screaming that the whole world should stop.  When she first died, I could scarcely look at Face Book because it seemed so obscene that other people were still going out on dates and posting funny antics.   The truth is, in many ways, we bear our grief alone.  Only God sees into the depths of our broken souls no matter how we may scream it out.  But still we need extra…

And for me that extra has come on this terrible anniversary in the form of toes.  Literally, thousands of toes.  Painted in the colors of a rainbow.  A rainbow that reminds us of God’s promises.  A rainbow that promises hope of life and happiness… that reminds us of the way a child can skip so gleefully down a hall- full of joy and completely unaware of pain or self or the opinions of others. That place, that life, does exist.  In a place we can choose to go some day, heaven, and just maybe in another place we can choose to go… in our hearts.  Oh my!  Those words just flew out of my fingers before I could stop them!  I am not sure I even believe that yet.  But I think a thousand rainbow toes have put in me the tiniest inkling that maybe a place of happiness can be found in the deep again even after sipping from the cup of despair.  

And He put one in the sky, too.  On Friday night October the 7th at 6:00 there was a beautiful rainbow in the sky over my town (she died on the 8th of last year but it was on a Friday and at 6:00 exactly).  Then on the 11th I was feeling submerged in the painful memory of her funeral and dreading 4:00- the time of the ceremony- but when the hands on the clock rolled around to that dark hour, I looked outside and another stunning rainbow streaked across the grey sky!  Now I have seen rainbows occasionally, but this timing just seems a bit much for coincidence!  Is it possible that the idea of a sweet friend, and the strokes of painted love on ten thousand toes inspired God to add his exclamation point to the expression of remembrance???

Your toes have said you will not forget her.  And my heart will not forget your saying it.  My little princess would be so tickled and giggly and covered over with delight.  I smile and I cry and I breathe in the extra…  Thank you for the rainbow toes and the butterflies on the cross at the preschool  and the dancers who danced for her and the beautiful flowers in my church and the butterfly necklace and the prayers that you said for us.  I hope some of the childlike lightness of rainbows and giggles will fill your heart as you think of the gift you have given us… the extra.

A Few of the Rainbow Toes

Beginnings of Butterfly Garden at Makiah's Preschool

Rainbow at 6pm Friday
Rainbow at 1 year Date and Time of her Funeral

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