Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Birds, Stars, Flowers and Godwinks

I just finished this book called "Godwink Stories: A Devotional" which I discovered on The Today Show. Okay, it was the Kathie Lee and Hoda hour. Sometimes I like to dip in, just to see what they're blathering about. Don't judge me.

The book is one of several by SQuire Rushnell. That's not a typo. The "S" and "Q" are both capitalized. Anyway, here's his definition: "A Godwink is what some people would call a coincidence, an answered prayer, or simply an experience so astonishing that it could only have come from God." Some examples: finding an inspirational letter (when you're feeling blue) in a parking lot that was meant for someone else but has your name on it, or two brothers who used to be dressed alike as kids and haven't spoken in years show up wearing the same thing at a family reunion. SQuire also calls it "divine alignment".

I'm not very religious. I don't think I'm gullible. And I'm not sure what I believe in. But I like to read about faith, God and spirituality every once in awhile. I also enjoy conversations, but I'll only talk with certain people. I don't want to be preached to, pushed upon or barked at. And I can tell who's authentic and who's putting on airs.

As I was coming to the end of this book yesterday and about to go to sleep, I think God may have had something in his eye.

First, I heard one bird, chirping, outside my window. A sound I am accustomed to in the summer but haven't heard in months. Because it's January. And flipping cold. I listened for a bit then got up, looked outside and by then a whole flock had gathered in a tree. Then a group of geese flew overhead, squawking.

Next, while I watched the birds, out of the blue, my iPhone started playing music from its dock on the nightstand. "Stars" by Grace Potter. I hadn't set my alarm for 2:00 p.m. or whatever time it was. So I started to freak out.

Then, the doorbell rang. A box of flowers was delivered from one of my friends.

This all happened within a matter of minutes. One after the other. I was just blown away. I'm usually asleep at that time anyway. Or at least I should be. But I was so close to finishing that book...

I realized later that I must have hit the "nap" function on the dock when I was trying to clumsily put the phone on it from my bed, and that would explain the music going off. The flowers are easy to explain. I was expecting something (didn't know what or when) from my friend because she had asked me for my address. And the birds, well, I guess they're not totally unheard of in January.

But all of those things converging at once? In rapid succession?

I was so taken aback I decided to look up some Bible verses on birds, stars and flowers. Just for fun.
Here's what I found.

Psalm 11:1 - "In the Lord I put my trust; How can you say to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?"

Genesis 1:16 - "Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day; and the lesser to rule the night. He made the stars also."

Song of Solomon 2:12 - "The flowers appear on the earth; The time of singing has come, And the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land."

Take what you will from it. I won't try to interpret the verses, though the flowers did "appear" on my porch and the birds were sort of singing. I just thought it was interesting enough to share. Now I'm going to start a new book. And get some shuteye.

Get it?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

This Time

A week ago, I spent the better part of Sunday in the ICU waiting room because my grandma had been admitted the night before. I had visited her in the hospital several times over the years. But this time was different. She hadn't been doing well for awhile. She'd been fighting bedsores and all but given up any activity besides moving from the chair to the bed and vice versa.

My family had been called in very early that morning, so they were there for some time before I learned about the situation and arrived. The prognosis was grim and we were given "the options". We parted ways that afternoon, but they were called in again very early the next morning. And I left work early to join them this time.

The decision was made on Monday to let her go. We waited until my aunt and cousin made it over then went back to her room. They closed the curtain, took her off the ventilator, then let us back in to watch the other machines eventually tell us she was gone. I held my mom's hand and cried. Grandma's breathing continued for awhile, then slowed, then came to a stop. The lines on the screen went flat. The numbers dropped to 0.

I wasn't there when Grandpa died. I was 20, in Terre Haute, with my best friend, partying like it was 1999. 'Cause it was. This time, I was 34, with a front row seat. It was weird, it was emotional, I didn't want to do it, but I knew I had to do it. There are two things I'll remember vividly. Walking in that room at 5:30 in the morning, looking at Mom with tears in her eyes saying, "I think this is it." And walking out of that room after Grandma had passed and looking back to see Mom patting her leg and saying "Love ya, Mom."

The visitation was almost overwhelming. When you move away from home, you don't fully understand the scope of what it means to have spent 87 years in the same place, with the same people, and all of those faces coming out of the woodwork to pay their respects when the time comes. And I thought I had done all of my crying until I heard them play Alan Jackson gospel music at the funeral. He was her favorite singer.

Things like this make you face your own mortality. But it's making me face other mortalities. My parents. My husband. I don't want to bury them. I will most likely have to unless I go first. It also makes me question my life choices. Where I live, my lack of reproduction, what I've done (or not done) with my life. I can't get too wrapped up in that, though. Everyone does the best they can, right? You gotta do what you gotta do.  Focus on the good. Deal with the bad. Cherish the memories. Life goes on.

Rest in peace, Grandma.