Thursday, January 16, 2014

When Words Fail

It's icy outside. This morning when I opened the door to let Piper out, the front door was covered in ice. Even the roads look icy which is a rare occurrence here in North Carolina. Jace has a two-hour delay, so he gets to enjoy sleeping in a bit before the day hits him and he's off and running.

It's one of those days where I wish I could just stay in jammies all day long and sit at home by the fire. But alas...

I remember when I was a little girl and it actually snowed so much in Oklahoma one year that they closed school. My neighbor, Bob, took us neighborhood kids sledding by tieing a round sled to a rope behind his car. Then we took turns riding on it as he drove the car down snow-covered deserted roads close to our house. It was so much fun, squealing as the sled swayed from side to side.

Who does that??

Maybe that was a common practice back in those days. He'd probably be arrested today.

My sister Tami told me a tragic story yesterday and it stayed on my mind all day. When we were growing up, she had a childhood friend named Tami Smith. I actually remember her as she was beautiful--long black hair and exotic eyes. Her dad and my dad were friends and if I remember correctly, they lived in Seiling and then moved to Cushing--just like us. It was one of those rare coincidences. Anyway, Tami grew up, married and had three boys. But this summer one of her boys committed suicide. There is an article online that has his picture and talks about what an amazing man he was--filled with kindness and love and humor and so many good things. He too had long black hair and exotic eyes. He looked so much like the Tami I remember.

But evidently his death and the break-up of her marriage was more than Tami could handle because she killed herself this week too.

And even though I never met her son and I barely remember Tami--other than the fact she was beautiful--I am so saddened by this story. I am sad to know that two people who were loved and remembered kindly by friends have taken their lives because their own pain was too much to bear. And I am absolutely not criticizing them--not at all. I only feel sad for the destruction and the horror and the pain they must have felt in their hearts.

Recently one of Savana's best friend's sisters committed suicide as well. I was talking to Kirsti--the best friend--about it--and she said, There was a war zone going on in her head. I can't imagine what it must have been like to be her. But she was so sweet...

There is so much pain in life. Some of us have such heavy crosses to bear. And the truth is, we have no idea what goes on behind smiling faces and closed doors. We have no idea whether, when we are talking to a friend, there is a war zone behind veiled eyes.

Sometimes I am baffled at how life shakes down. So much is out of our hands, out of our control.

And yet...

There is so much beauty in life, despite its tragedy, despite its pain.We can still have hope and dreams. We can still look forward to a new day. And I am thankful for that.

But at the same time, I want to be aware; I want to be compassionate, especially toward those who may not have as easy a road to travel as others. Sometimes--lots of times actually, words fail. I don't want to burst in headlong as though I have all of the answers. I don't have any answers actually.

Only questions--lots and lots of questions.

But I do have the ability to refrain from judging. I can keep my mouth shut and offer a sympathetic ear, an act of service, or a warm touch.

I can be a kind presence in the midst of pain that, sometimes, is too much to bear alone.


  1. This is so sad :( I didn't know that story about Tami and her son. And it is so true that we are clueless as to what is going on in other people's lives. It makes it a lot easier to not be judgmental.

  2. So devastating how life can take such a toll on other people. I don't understand how some people can be so insensitive to others' situations. Just like Lori said, we all have rocks that we are carrying. So crazy.


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