Friday, April 28, 2006

Haunting Thoughts During Taps

A tear falls as the haunting tune is played
Day is done, gone the sun,

Standing at attention with pride
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

Weathered faces and bodies have seen better days
from the lake, from the hills, from the sky;

White gloved hands grip polished brass
Fading light, dims the sight,

The lonesome sound of the bugle plays
and a star gems the sky, gleaming bright.

Eyes reflect the distant past as the lyrics ring
From afar, drawing nigh, falls the night.

Honors and badges of courage
Thanks and praise, for our days,

Some have lived and some have died
'Neath the sun, 'neath the stars, neath the sky;

Blood was shed
as we go, this we know, God is nigh.

Life was given for our freedom
Sun has set, shadows come,

Families weep for their loss
Time has fled, Scouts must go to their beds

Peace is perceived as the door is closed
always true to the promise that they made.

The flag is folded with pride and honor
While the light fades from sight,

A wife a mother an son a daughter receive the laurels
And the stars gleaming rays softly send,

This man this woman has completed their task
to thy hands we our souls, Lord, commend.

And the tune of taps has ended once again.

The bolded lines are the words to TAPs

Friday, April 07, 2006

To Be or Not To Be

Out of the blue, the plans, which have been made over a lifetime, come crashing down around the ears of an unsuspecting mom. Plans for the weekend and for life have come to an abrupt halt. The future is no longer with the love of her life, only her children provide a source of hope. Decisions, decisions which road to take which path to tread.

These questions pop up at every turn. Her children have to be cared for and the pillow on the bed can only hold so many tears. Life has changed from what she knew, days of laughter, hugs and kisses have disappeared. Life continues as the sun rises each morning and sets each night. She decides “Grief” and “Despair” have hung on long enough, as she pries their cold dark fingers from her arms. Happiness is within reach - there is light at the top of the rise. She feels hope as she slowly pulls herself out of the chasm of gloom. Widows face a daily struggle with grief and depression; they must find motivation to overcome the gloom, and despair, and must reach up where happiness resides.

Depression and grief are like vicious animals latching on to the soul pulling it towards the darkness where Satan makes his home. Life changing decisions for a widow start every morning as she awakes, will she place her feet on the floor or close her eyes tightly shutting out the light of the day. Is she ready to see the new day or will “Grief” and “Depression” retain their hold. It would be so wonderful to backup time and live the life they planned. Her friends live the life she once took for granted. The depression she experiences is caused by her inactivity. Her source of encouragement is gone, the life she had has changed.

She must make a conscious effort to overcome the urge to pull the covers over her head so she can forget about the world outside. There is a world out there beyond the dark room she has sequestered herself into during the last few days, weeks or months. She must start with rolling back the covers and throwing up the blinds, it is a start of a new day. The tune ‘One day at a Time’ resonates in her memory as she stands and takes the first steps towards freedom from the darkness of gloom and misery. The sunlight dances across her cheeks as she steps closer to the window. A glance back gives “Grief” and “Despair” hope of her return, “NO!” They will not have her she says. With determination, she looks back at the sun and smiles. “Grief” and “Despair” will have to wait another day for today she is making the decision to change her life for the better.

To find motivation a widow must pull herself out of the pit of despair. She must look beyond the dark recesses of the tomb she has encased herself in and put on an armor of determination so she can traipse through the valley of doom and gloom. The sun brings light back to her life; allowing it to penetrate the darkness, and providing strength for her armor.

Listening to her children’s laughter lightens her soul -- there is more to life -- a reason for living. She dresses in bright colors to help chase away the darkness. She throws the door open wide and takes the first steps towards the joy and laughter -- her heart lifts. Having someone to hold her hand has gone she stands alone. She chokes back her tears when she sees the neighbor kiss her husband good-bye; she wants to shout, “Value your time together, for it can change”. A battle cry rings in her mind “carpe diem!” “Seize the day!” she holds herself high and lets the sun cover her with light, “Grief” and “Despair” are loosing the fight. Her motivation has been found but for many widows the motivation is unreachable and the power of “Grief” and “Despair” pull them back into the darkness of the valley of doom and gloom.

Once a widow finds herself, she faces a new future. Many new opportunities and decisions, which were once made as a team, are now made alone. Countless times a widow encounters survival obstacles because her ability to survive financially is in jeopardy, unlike the married couple who pull their resources, she must retain employment and at the same time provide for the needs of her children. She has responsibilities towards her children to supply the same comfort and care they rely on their parents to provide. Life was so much easier before death; it is always easier when you share life’s burdens. The widow may find her future on her own or she may find another love that will fill the void left behind by the love she held so dear. She must plan to take the initiative to be successful if only to set an example for her children.

I am a mom who has endured the loss of her husband; I have been facing the daily decision making which can be, life changing. I am a mom who has climbed out of the darkness and is making decisions for the future on her own. The climb was a struggle, as every rung on the ladder would have another obstacle to overcome. Grief and despair is a part of human nature when the death of a loved one is experienced. Keeping ones self from falling into the pit of despair is a difficult task, one that cannot be taken alone. When anyone falls into a deep ravine, he or she needs someone to throw him or her a lifeline ~ a virtual rope of hope.

The hope for me was relying on God and knowing his love for me could surpass the deepest sorrows in my heart. I have the promise from God he will supply for my every need. For the last six years, God has blessed me beyond anything I could have imagined. My wildest dreams never took me to the reality of what I am living today. I found my motivation in the blessings of my children and we are planning our future. Depression and Grief no longer have a hold on my life; I overcame the obstacles set before me when I had to decide to be or not to be.

Weary Soul

Sleepless nights follow the death of a spouse. Anything but going back to bed and laying alone at night. Activities, which occupy evenings darkness, are embraced. Nights are most difficult as the surviving spouse surveys his or her bed where hearts met and exchanges of secrets passed from one lover to the other. Dreams are kept silent.

The children finally have started sleeping in their own beds and thoughts of being alone on the large mattress keep the lonely heart weary. Waking and turning reaching with outstretched arm only meets emptiness. The body whose indentions still crease the mattress are but a faint reminder of passion once experienced. There is no one with whom to convey thoughts with during the night. Life becomes lonely, as the clock tics night after night. To be embraced with love seems so far away. Darkness encapsulates the sorrow. Will it ever go away?

`O Sorrow, why do you continue to hang on to this weary soul? Is it not possible to for you to let go? You have captured the soul in the darkness and celebrate its loneliness. Sleep brings back memories as if the present does not exist and dreams bring joy if only for a moment until Sorrow jars its slumbering prisoner, and loss is fresh again.

Peace is sought in every corner yet it remains unattainable for days, into years. Moonlight squeezes into pathways lightening the trails towards the dawning day. The sunshine peaks over the horizon slicing through the darkness where sorrow dwells. Morning nears and the light of day is welcomed with relief. Another long night has passed.

Sorrow that weights the soul can only hold on as long as the surviving spouse refuses to let light into their life. The light is more than just mere sunlight, for it is the light of the son who can chase away the darkness. The son of God is more than able to handle the deep sorrow experienced by the surviving spouse.

The Psalmist David writes, “He healeth the broken in heart and bindeth up their wounds” (Ps 147:3). In addition, David tells the reader “…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5). For some spouses there is a fear of going the road alone. David tackles those thoughts in Psalms 91:5 saying, “Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day”.

The walk through the valley of the shadow of death has been made and the fear of evil vanishes when the walk is taken with God’s son. The light of life will bring joy, love and laughter back to the heart of the surviving spouse.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Where is Our Society Headed?

Thursday night I went out to Redneck Country to see my friend in concert. I knew that since it had been near twenty years since I have been “honky-tonkin’” that things have changed. The changes that I was in for could not have entered my imagination. Two of my friends whom I invited to attend the concert tried to warn me of the progressive antics that were about to take place.

“Oh MY!” Were the words out of my mouth over and over again. As soon as the first set of the concert was over the dance floor flooded with ladies strutting their stuff. But it did not end there, oh no. All they needed were a few poles on the dance floor. Their gyrations and vulgar movements were not enough they had to start having virtual sex each other. (I am trying to paint a picture here for you but it was much more than I think you can imagine.)

All I can say is that it reminded me of the stories in the Bible about Sodom and Gomorra. The rest of the evening when ever the band was not playing I kept my eyes averted from the dance floor. All I could think of was “Garbage in Garbage out”.

This episode got me to thinking about the demoralization of our society. Things have changed so very much. Our society is headed down a slippery slope of destruction if the antics of which I witnessed have become the norm. There is a reason when I hear preachers and others say “it can’t be long before the Lord comes” that in my heart of hearts I believe the same. Our society is rapidly cruising down the road to destruction right into the hands of the Devil himself.

As a parent of two small children I try to protect them from the worldly things hoping to arm them with a good foundation so they can navigate the world when they reach the point I cannot protect them anymore. When I look at the young people of this world like the ones who were dancing Thursday night I have to wonder, do their parents know what is going on? Would they approve?

I know I certainly do not approve of what I witnessed and I know without any doubt that my Father in Heaven would not have approved either. His face would have been turned away in shame, and that is what scares me most. At what point is the United States going to stop being a blessed nation and start being a disgraced nation with the Father turning his face from us? It can't be long if our nation continues down this path which we are currently destined to travel if things do not change and we do not turn from our wicked ways.