The best is yet to come
With a Praline something in my hand and a warm chocolate croissant beside I greet you this crisp November day.
No one knows what will happen with votes in Pennsylvania, but dinner will still reach the table by 5:30 here in Ohio and quite possibly sans vegetables like last night because I just had too many plates spinning.
Dare we recap October for the blogosphere?
The coffee still has raw sugar on top so let's.
My dear husband flew me to a ladies meeting to encourage me a bit because for real who couldn't use a pocket-full of encouragement and as Pastor's wife to boot?
My ONE fear was bringing covid back as a souvenir.
And I bet you a million votes you can't figure out the rest of the story...
Two weeks out from flying to see my college kids and from the biggest conference at church for the YEAR.
Because we like to keep the love going, each of the six of us ended up with it and this asthmatic still has the occasional bad day but hey, I'm the first to get to taste and smell again so there's that.
Twenty days of October taught me heaps of things, one of them being that empty chairs at church told me I'm not the only one still battling fear of some kind.
I wish you could physically SEE the Holy Spirit holding my fingers back because this is where I could go on what is formally known as a "tangent" and give you 29 things NOT to do or say to a family full of Covid but I will not and know that in this amazing run-on sentence you get the gist that kindness always matters and that.is.all. I am permitted to say.
(insert BIG bite of croissant here.)
Those twenty days were nothing easy and one long walk when I could finally walk farther than a turn around the backyard, the Lord just ministered to me like no one could.
He reminded me that I needed a refresher in the busy of just who He is to me.
That the sounds of the fear from the grocery store to the church to the news have muffled how He seeks to be the biggest and brightest voice to my uncertain heart always seeking to be comforted.
That everything and nothing have changed.
That every time I seek Him he will be found.
Once on the way to the hospital not knowing if I would be isolated and kept He came and met me in the sad hallway for "Infectious people."
In the midst of crippling, panic-crawling fear His Word came as only a close friend can looking you nose to nose, forcing you to look them in the eye to let you know that they aren't going anywhere.
He was there. I could almost touch his hand in my own.
As soon as I was strong enough I met my friend in her hospice room.
She only spoke a few sentences to me while I rubbed her arm and just watched her as close as I possibly could so she would really know I was there beside her.
She whispered to me, "Isn't this room beautiful?"
I actually turned around to notice the rumpled pile of her clothes still on the sofa in the corner from her admittance, totally against her tidy nature, the cards taped to the wall she couldn't see without glasses and the water she could barely drink now.
I wanted to literally SCREAM, "NO!!! THIS IS THE ROOM YOU WILL DIE IN!"
And through more tears than I thought I even had left in October the Holy Spirit said, "And then she will be with me. Isn't that beautiful? Doesn't that make this room such a beautiful one?"
I will interject that the only other person more thankful for the Holy Spirit in my life is my dear sweetheart who always loves hearing how the Spirit speaks so plainly to me. He tells me often that the Holy Spirit can say what he cannot say to me and he is probably correct.
Okay he is so correct.
And isn't that the way it should be?
Joel tells her, because I am choking on tears, that soon she will be with the Lord and she, with a confident voice replies,
"The sooner the better."
A few days later my youngest prays during devotions and asks the Lord if He would give us her teapot.
The teapot that meant comfort, help with heaps of sewing, too many hugs to count and the proverbial shot in the arm to keep leading this flock of mine in the right way.
That youngest also protested the amount of makeup she had on in her casket.
I wanted to simply protest to all of October, frankly.
With the sun shining and warm breeze on my face I stooped to draw a heart on the tamped dirt of her grave and thanked the Lord for all the best that is yet to be.
One irritating thing for me in the midst of covid was the inevitable question if I was feeling "Better."
This was mainly my sweet Mom not wanting to see me so sick.
"Better" was hard. Better might have been yesterday or a week ago and felt like the invisible unattainable thread I couldn't keep hold of.
We might not be "better." We might just be hanging-out at "okay," with life right now and that's completely "okay."
Fear might make itself a house guest for a day or long weekend until we sit still enough to hear the Lord's voice again.
Disappointment might stick so close you fight to shake it completely off for a while.
Deferred hope might sweep you off your emotional feel like a torrent for a season.
Been there done that.
We don't have to be "better."
We can just be okay in this moment where the Lord has us.
Just rest in the fact that this is just the bus stop on the way to the best.
The bench might be cozy, the company wonderful and the sights and sounds captivating, but this is not the destination.
This is just the pause before the beginning of the best we can imagine.
Like better than pre pregnancy weight, pre plucked eyebrows and even before we found waterproof mascara.
The best is yet to come.
Don't let Hallmark or Starbucks holiday cups distract you from occasionally looking around and remembering you are waiting for your ride outta here.