Category Archives: Comfort

Gone from Sight

I can’t stop thinking about Jamie this week. I think about her so often. Every time I wear my Team Jamie tshirt, or my pink breast cancer hat, or when I see pictures of her beautiful daughter, Kayden.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since she’s been gone. I have written about lessons I learned from Jamie, and I have continued to be inspired by her friends and family.

Jamie’s Wish is coming true this week, thanks to the amazing efforts of those who loved her, and people who never knew her. How awesome is that? Not only was she extremely inspirational during her time on earth, but she also wanted those who were coming after her to have it better than she did. She was truly selfless.

Jamie was a big part of the reason that I made the decision to get healthier and stop making excuses. She would have done anything to be healthy. And here I was, slowly killing myself, by choosing to be completely unhealthy. Something changed in me when I made that connection. I could choose to continue living in denial, or I could choose to change. I chose to change, and I have not felt this healthy or strong in a very long time.

Unfortunately, I also learned today that one of my Senior Vice Presidents from work also passed away from cancer. He had kept his illness very private, so it was a shock to many of us. Our President of Sales sent out this poem that someone had given him when his father passed away. I couldn’t help but think that it described Jamie perfectly.

Gone From My Sight
by Henry Van Dyke

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, “There, she is gone”

Gone where?

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,
hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me — not in her.
And, just at the moment when someone says, “There, she is gone,”
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”

And that is dying…

Death comes in its own time, in its own way.
Death is as unique as the individual experiencing it.

I continue to be inspired by Jamie and the legacy she left. Every day is a chance to make your mark on the world. To leave your own legacy. So, let’s get moving!

As Jamie would say,

Much Love,

Tammy

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Filed under Comfort, Death, Friendship, Getting Healthy, Life lessons

Fear

Fear tries to isolate you ~ Jon Acuff

What is one of the first things we think of when we are afraid? I’m the only one who feels like this. Everybody else has it figured out. Nobody understands.

I felt this way when we were experiencing problems in our marriage. Nobody I knew would understand. They have it all together.

But do you know what I found as I opened up to close friends? Many of them were struggling. They just didn’t want to be the first one to admit it. But when I opened the door to the conversation, they walked right in.

What about that dream you have? The one you are afraid to say out loud. The one you think nobody will understand. Have you talked to anyone about it?

I think we have been conditioned to keep things in. To try to act like everything is fine (the “f” word, as Jon Acuff calls it).

I was talking with an old friend the other day who was amazed at how open I was about sharing things. She always feels like she has to keep it in. And that’s when I realized that I used to be like that, until I found a community of people who are living authentically. It has changed everything for me. I have learned that I can be myself and embrace living right where I am. I have also learned that I do have something to offer the world, and my dreams and passions matter.

So, do you feel isolated by fear? Most likely, there is someone near you who is feeling many of the same things.

Are you willing to open up about it? I think you may be surprised by what happens when you do.

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Filed under Authenticity, Comfort

It is never easy

It seems like this year has been a year of deaths for people around me. I’ve experienced several myself, and many others that I know have as well. There seem to be many more than usual. I know that’s not really the case. It’s just a fact of life and this is what we all experience at different times and different circumstances.

Most of my friends (including me) have lost one parent. Some have lost both. Many friends have lost siblings, some have lost children, and others, dear friends. Many people I know have had tragic circumstances that I can’t imagine.

Our pastor said something this weekend that continues to resonate with me. He spoke at two funerals this past week. One for a 65+ year old and one for a 16 year old that had taken his own life.  His words are so simple, yet profound.

Death never feels right.

I think we often figure that the death of an older person will feel differently than the death of a younger person. But, I agree with what he said. Regardless of the age or the circumstances, it just never feels right. Especially to those who loved that person.

When my Stepfather passed away earlier this year, I was expecting the process to be easier than what I’d experienced in the past. He was 93! He had lived an amazing life. It should have been easier, right? Well, it wasn’t. It just doesn’t feel good to lose someone you love. And in that case, helping my Mom sort through everything and start over was in many ways much harder than the first time she became a widow.

The other thing my Pastor said this weekend is so beautiful. He had said something similar to me during the time when my Stepfather passed and a dear friend lost her battle with cancer.

When people around us are hurting and going through loss, we feel like they expect us to say something profound. Like we should be able to give them a few words that are going to make all of the hurt go away.

Isn’t that crazy?

We know it’s not possible, but we feel the pressure to do it. In most situations, people just want to know that we care and that we are praying for them, and that we are there to help when needed. They just want us to sit and mourn with them.

In response to this, he offered this beautiful picture of comfort. I’m paraphrasing, but it went something like this.

Instead of telling you about a God who wraps tragedy in a tidy little box with no room for questions, I want to invite you to sit with a God who mourns with you.

This is based off of the story of Lazarus in John 11, specifically verse 35, “Jesus wept.”  It is absolutely beautiful.

I have experienced death, starting from a young age. I can tell you that had I understood this better then, I know it would have given me great comfort. It certainly did this past year during the losses I experienced.

It goes along with so many things I’ve realized about my faith and my relationship with God.

We don’t have to have it all figured out.

In fact, I don’t think we were ever meant to figure everything out. Sometimes, there are no words to explain why something so tragic happened. We will probably never understand it. And, trying to wrap everything into tidy boxes only leads people to frustration and anger. But, allowing ourselves to be true to the pain and sorrow that we feel, and wrapping ourselves in the arms of Jesus who mourns with us, is something that brings great comfort.

 

To listen to Scott’s message from this weekend (The Art of Advent), you can go here. It should be posted shortly.

 

 

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Filed under Comfort, Death, Encouragement