At one point in my pregnancy I remember telling my friend Greta that I felt like “a walking reminder of death.” Strong words, I know. But that is just how I felt. I was reminded and confronted on a daily basis that this life is not permanent and I struggled with accepting that.
One day I had a deep heart to heart with God. I need reprieve. I needed something to spare my heart for just a moment, even for a moment. During my hashing out with Him He revealed to me a truth that I continue to cherish in my heart. Gideon, he is not a symbol of death. No, to God (and to me and all who knew him) Gideon was a symbol of true life. In light of eternity, whether it be an hour or a century, it is all just a speck in the grand scheme of things. Gideon I get to take with me when I go. When I leave this earth for life ever after I get to have him forever. I get to have you too.
My heart has softened and endeared towards those whom God has put in my life. Admittedly at one point it seemed like a burden to great for me to bear. Keeping up with, talking, spending time with, loving, caring for, showing them all of the above, it…well it seemed like a lot to do. But now I realize, its the only thing to do. Its the only thing I can do with my time that I get to take with me to heaven when I go.
I picture the party. The celebration that I will feel someday as we reminisce in the midst of perfection, a holy place where there is no more sorrow, no more crying, no more pain. The laughter we will share and the smiles we will have pasted on our faces make all of this worth it. And as difficult as this journey has been, I have moments of adoring it because it has brought me closer to people that truly matter.
This is going to sound kind of weird, funny even, but this saptastic heart of mine just couldn’t resist telling you about it. I went away this weekend on my annual girls night away with my good friend Carrie. We stayed at a cute little inn in the mountains and when I drove into the parking lot I was greeted by a little duck. A duck I tell you. Yes, I am about to tell you a story about said duck but stick with me. Hopefully it will be worth it.
The duck’s name was Barney, he was a one-eyed duck and something about him was endearing to me. When I first saw him he was standing eerily close to a parked car. When we returned back from our day’s journey Barney was still next to the same car. As I watched him meander around the pond he moved slowly, almost as if he was lost. Some children threw him bread, but the fish that were in the pond beat him to it. Sad right? The little guy just didn’t have any luster.
When I asked the owner about him I mentioned how I thought it was odd to see a duck all alone. In all my memories of ducks I seem to always remember more than one. My duck instincts proved right as the owner shared the story that Barney lost his brother to a fox just two weeks ago. She said he has been in mourning ever since, and for the first week he didn’t leave the middle of the pond. Now? He sits next to the parked cars where he can see his reflection and he talks to it all day. Of course I would visit an inn with a duck in mourning, just fits right? Is it so weird that I understood the duck’s pain? Weird maybe. But oh how even the animals are created to love. Created to be with one another in relationship. Created to be dependent upon each other.
You want to know one of the greatest freedoms of realizing this God given truth? It is no longer about pleasing people. It is no longer about impressing them. It is no longer about faking perfect, or worrying about offending, or comparing, or competing…its about investing. Its about being who I am and knowing that that is the only thing I truly have to offer. Just me. Me in all my imperfections, sorrows, and deep overly sympathetic duck analytics. Its so much better this way.
I have been blessed over the past few months meeting new people and getting re-intouch with people I have not talked to in years. Some from elementary school, some from college, some from just down the street, but all deeply appreciated and loved. The old Maria would have been flooded with worries. “How often should I email them? What should I say? They probably don’t want to hear from me again. I wonder if they are mad I didn’t keep better in touch. Am I bothering them?” And so on and so on and so on…
Now I take a deep breath and speak from my heart. Nothing more, nothing less. And I remember, that if Gideon touched my life in the span of minutes, then maybe that is all it really takes.