Last year about this time, we went through a scary time when my father suddenly went downhill in his battle with cancer and we thought we were going to lose him. It was a few weeks after Thanksgiving and we were getting ready to perform the play at school. I received a text from my sister-in-law just as I was ready to leave my classroom and found a disturbing message: "I hope you are coming up this weekend. Everyone is pretty upset and having a hard time keeping their composure. You should come as soon as you can."
I stood there in shock. I had prayed it would not reach this point, and up to this point my family had been telling me I did not need to come. How was I going to go out in public and do all that I needed to do? How was I going to handle this? By the grace of God I managed to get through the evening, but fled to my classroom as soon as I could. Mrs. Bish was so kind to come find me, and give me a comforting hug. She was full of encouragement and love, which I needed right at that moment.
Seeing that Joe needed the car to transport children to church and school, I needed to find another way to get up to Vermont. We found that the bus would be the best option so I bought a ticket and early the next morning Joe took me to the station and saw me off. Needless to say I had mixed emotions during that long ride. I prayed, I cried, and I tried writing, but my restless mind could not help but imagine the worst. It was not until I finally received another text from my sister-in-law saying that he suddenly took a turn for the better. He was actually sitting up and attempting to eat something. It was the news I had been craving to hear! A heavy burden fell off my shoulders and I felt like I could begin to relax. I knew I would see my dad again. I still had more time with him, though I did not know what to expect when I saw him. I just knew that God was answering our prayers and He is always good.
As we performed the play this year, I remembered the events of last year and I grew a bit overwhelmed at the fact that God blessed us with another year my father. His love and mercy are so wonderful. There are so many things in life that we do not understand. The verse from Luke 2:19 has been going around in my head lately, "But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”
So many times I find there are no words to actually speak to express what I am feeling inside. Then there are other times when I find the words that are going through my mind should not be spoken at all and that I should hold my tongue. Some things are better left unsaid. Some things are better kept inside the heart until just the right time. Yet, some things are never spoken, simply because we do not understand the why or reason of an event or circumstance. Like Mary, she was told many things about her infant that she could not grasp just yet. How could this little baby save the entire human population? He was so sweet and innocent, like a little lamb. She could not possibly fathom how those soft, tiny hands would have nails piercing through them, or that someone would want to spit on his precious face. So, she had to keep those things that had been spoken to her by the angel deep inside her heart, where only God could see and hear her anguished inner cries.
I do not know what lies around the corner of my life, or around anyone else's who is close to me. I watch and observe everything around me, taking it all in, storing things away in my memory and in my heart. I love how God allowed Mary to be the mother of His Son. She seemed so down to earth, and had such a child-like faith. She simply accepted, and the things that she did not understand, she kept in her heart for the Lord to answer over time. I want to be like Mary and take Jesus for Who He is. Taking one day at a time; storing the things I know and those that I do not understand inside my heart. Pondering means prayer, and prayer means drawing closer to the Lord. May we be like Mary and draw closer to our Lord in every way that we can.