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.