Finding a Voice

Monday, October 13, 2008

sacrifice ... with thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving weekend in Canada and I do feel thankful. Kathryn Scott is singing on iTunes right now, “Thank you for the cross.” I am thankful for that sacrifice.

I am also feeling deep sadness – losses and sacrifices of my own.

Yesterday I went to Moose Jaw to be with my cousin Marilou at her father-in-law’s funeral. He had been ill, yet died more suddenly than anyone expected. Marilou is close to her in-laws, yet with most of her own immediate family in other provinces, particularly her parents, she was feeling very far away from family. She is like a sister to me. I called on Friday to say I was thinking of her but didn’t know if I could be at the funeral. The next morning I thought, “How can I not go?” Called my mom who said, “Of course you need to be there.”

Of course. Moose Jaw is less than two hours away. How could I not go? “It’s not about me,” Marilou had said. Partly true, yet she is part of the family and needs support as much as any of them. She watched her husband watch his father die. She took care of so many people and details. She needed someone to be there for her.

Dying and death have drawn their family together in powerful ways. In Jay’s funeral message, he praised the women in their lives – his mother, wife, and sister-in-law. Beautiful.

I came home wanting to be someone’s wife. (Not uncommon.)

I’ve been called picky (and too smart and other things). That may be somewhat true. About 15 years ago, experiencing these same feelings, I lamented to my sister, “Why am I not married?” Profoundly she replied, “You’ve had choices, Colleen. You just haven’t taken them.”

I recall that once in awhile. I’ve had choices. I just haven’t taken them. And therein lies my sacrifice thus far.

I haven’t avoided marriage (though must admit sometimes fearing getting “stuck”). I’ve had things to do and people to see and places to go.

But I get tired of camping out. I don’t feel like being Corrie ten Boom or Amy Carmichael or Mary Slessor or anybody’s maiden aunt.

Then again, I have this strong sense of calling on my life, and not just anyone can partner in that.

Yesterday at the funeral, Joel (Jay’s brother) spoke of his intense longing a few weeks ago for his dad to rally just enough for one more trip to the farm. It didn’t happen. “I believe with all my heart,” said Joel, “that God does not give us these longings to tease us,” and went on to describe the hope he has to see his dad again one day and walk those hills together and hear the meadowlark sing.

This morning my church’s responsive reading acknowledged that God gives food to the hungry and satisfies our desires with good things, followed by a line that stunned me: “But I will make my sacrifice to you with thanksgiving.”

There’s a song in that. So I drew a music staff and sketched three bars of melody with these words:

I may not receive certain things in this life / But I have put my  hope in you / And I will make my sacrifice / With gratitude.

I will make my sacrifice with gratitude … and a few tears.

posted by Colleen McCubbin at 1:15 AM

2 Comments:

I like that last line. I like that you acknowledge that the longing doesn't end just because one has decided to be grateful. Christians tend to underplay (or deny) struggle, but that's life.
Yes, be grateful...without denying emotions.

October 17, 2008 11:03 PM  

Hi Colleen! Haven't checked your blog for a while--but meanwhile I reconnected with some old college friends who said they knew you at Regent (Rob and Sara Harrison).

Anyway, I love your blog and how honest you are about your joys and struggles. I thought it might be encouraging to mention that when I was in seminary, there were 4 single female professors. They ranged in age from their 40s-60s. They were all never-married. By the time I graduated, 3 out of 4 had married. I bet someday you'll be a wife someday--that will be a blessed man! :)

October 21, 2008 10:17 AM  

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