Most days are filled with gratitude, joy, friendship, anticipation, and even celebration, but then there are moments when I don't want to be courageous and keep going. Sometimes I just want to stamp my feet, throw a tantrum and hole up like a hermit.
A few weeks ago, Kim and I spoke in the chapel of the private school where Jordan attended those few days when he hope to return to a kind of normal in Sept 2012. It was almost surreal speaking to those who had been in Jordan’s class. That night we attended a fundraising event at the church where we had held Jordan's celebration last December. The effect of it didn’t hit me until we were driving through the parking lot. In a local coffee shop the following morning, a sweet man, father of one of Jordan's classmates, approached me to ask how Jordan was doing. I think it was the first time I had met someone who did know Jordan and didn’t know he wasn’t here anymore. After replying that he was great...in heaven...I was spent and took the rest of the weekend to recover from those 24 hours.
Friday, I awoke at 3 am and found myself suddenly and deeply sad. I whispered in the darkness to ask Kim to hug me; he leaned over and held me and then asked if I'd talked to Jesus yet about what was happening. I hadn't even thought of asking Jesus...I had just felt so alone. So as the moonlight streamed into our bedroom window, I looked up and asked Jesus what was going on. A searing ball of pain and fear in the form of twisted metal wire and spots of blood appeared, followed by my sobbing. It was as if the picture in my mind gave expression to my heart. Ever so gently, Kim asked if I would want to ask God for a trade. (Years ago, Kim discovered the very real practicality of the verse speaking of how God gives beauty in exchange for ashes and the oil of joy for mourning.)
As I cast my pain and fear on Jesus and asked Him what He wanted to give me in exchange, He responded with the words “purpose and zeal”. That made me giggle. It made me giggle because years ago, Jordan asked Joel what zeal was....he had heard the word and wanted a definition. Joel, being cheeky, told his little brother that zeal was a kind of soup. It has been a family joke ever since. And in the wee hours of the morning...Jesus made me laugh. As I related to Kim what I sensed from the Lord, my words came out something like this, “Jesus is putting zeal in me and this soup is food and my food is to do the will of the Father who sent me. Don't you see, doing Father's will brings nourishment and purpose.” We lay there both in awe and chuckling at the kindness and individual attention our Heavenly Father gives us in our hour of need.
Father knew I needed a job that would set me out in among students and schools. Deadlines, meetings and specialty classes with unique needs require presentations that are crafted and adapted...this provides a focus outside myself. For the first time in 25 years, I am working in the area of my university training - education.
And yet it is not primarily my job that is the most nourishing, while I am grateful for it. When Kim and I summered on Vancouver Island, I was looking for clarity on what role was next for me. The role of mother had so dominated my life for the last 24 years, I was feeling suddenly lost with my premature empty nest. During those weeks, Holy Spirit brought both Kim and me back to the simplicity of the Gospel - the good news - that we are to make available to all.
Off and on, for years, when Jordan was little, he would ask why we were still here on earth. "Why can't we just go to be with Jesus in heaven? Now?" And the only reply that kept popping out of my mouth was, "We could go to heaven with Jesus, but what about all the people on earth who don't know how much Jesus loves them? Who will tell them that He wants them in heaven with Him forever? As long as we're here, we have a job to do."
And so, all those conversations with Jordan were brought back to me. That's why I'm still here; though I wouldn't mind heading to heaven sooner rather than later. We're here to fulfill Jesus’ last instructions: make disciples of all nations, baptizing them, teaching them to observe all things He has commanded us to.
Therein lies my purpose - where the zeal He has given me lives.