Well-Timed Butterflies

The frown was a reflection of this disappointing thought:

Why did I think of my father instead of Jeff?

Why do I always feel spirit-driven advice is messaged from my father?

Why do I never hear from Jeff?

Why do I never dream of Jeff? Well, not never. Maybe twice in 14 years.

And here’s what wisped from through my canyoned heart straight into my creviced mind: Because you wouldn’t listen, anyway. (ouch.)

Because I won’t listen?

Because I don’t listen, on purpose?

I know I haven’t listened to those pre-death platitudes he liked to offer. The ones I dismissed as stupid answers to my standard bitching response to his multitudes of stupid anti-helping-his-situation behaviors.

Like not getting up every hour to help his circulation. Like chewing tobacco. Like drinking liters of Mt Dew. Like not watching his diet, his salt intake.

Like dismissing the real message in my accusation, “You must not love me very much if you don’t want to stick around.”

At first it would always be, “I’m not going anywhere.”

Then, it became annexed with, “but, everybody’s gotta to die sometime.”

Oh, the ire that inspired. “You don’t have to help it along!” I’d argue. “Why don’t you care that you’re going to leave me alone and miserable.?”

“Aw,” he’d push away my fears with air-palms. “We’re not Canadian geese, ya know. You’re not gonna be lonely.”

To which, I’d either tearfully reply, “I am.”

Or angrily assert, “I’m a #&0#@$# swan!”

“You’ll meet someone,” he’d confidently continue. Later, turning to, “You’ll meet someone better than me.” Which is actually quite hurtful, now. Either my tough-love attempts were interpreted as complaints of worthlessness or he was being his own worse enemy by putting himself down.

I haven’t once listened to the still living well-speakers offering echoes of the positives above for years. You know: Jeff would want, Jeff would be, Jeff wouldn’t be, and even once a more direct approach of, Jeff thinks it’s time to ….

I’m not entirely un-voluntarily stuck. I still don’t want to hear Jeff’s hopes that I’ll move on and be happy. What I want to hear is, “You’re just having a bad dream. None of this is true or real.”

Maybe he’d tried at first. I wouldn’t know. Lack of listening, again. Maybe he skipped right over that. Maybe he was wise enough to send my dad to get my attention.

That’s what I’d like to think. Otherwise, it would merely be uncoupled concurrence. Reading “A Box of Butterflies,” contemplating signs of spiritual arrival and a well-timed burnt-orange butterfly.

Except, I don’t subscribe coincidences. I believe in fate and His Holy Plan conveyed concisely within Jeremiah. 29:11.

The chaining, a reactionary result of missing documents.

So, no. I absolutely did not find what I was looking for.

But, I reluctantly confess; I might have found something more important.

Poem for the Week;

Service, Support

What I walked in blindly to was service planning and a sort of support group. How long did the gathering go? I wasn’t really aware of time. I don’t think it was very long, but I remember my mother was anxious to leave once all the details had been vaguely recorded.

During the course of the evening, the sealed-in fate of the 70’s forbidden magazine story re-surfaced.

Learning I wasn’t the only one Jeff’d told that story to, brought on another not-quite-so-strangled smile. The fact that he told me and his best friend created a kindred connection for me. Amusing, but odd, and oddly comforting, as well.

Jeff must have thought it was important enough to make sure that more than one someone would know. What I can’t figure is why he felt that tidbit would have been so important.

I get goosebumps thinking about the fore-telling quality of that particular narrative. The unbelievable comedic timing heralded divine intervention, yet, dragged suspicion behind it.

Did he know something I didn’t? Maybe, he didn’t consciously know anything, but his subconscious was like, “Hey! Tell that story. It’ll for sure live on. They’ll laugh about it after you’re gone.” Is that too much to believe?

The service hymns were and weren’t easy. There was the pressure of appropriate funeral hymns, but I outspokenly chose the ones Jeff was most enthusiastic about. The ones he always enjoyed singing were the ones I imagined he’d want to hear if he was there. The ones he knew the longest, felt the deepest, exalted his simplified belief, sweetly tinged with childlike acceptance.

I had no preference for passages. Jeff’s father did and I was glad for that.

I wrote my portion of the eulogy that night. The Reverends thought I might have something to say, or want to say something. I was assured if the time came and I could not speak or if I just didn’t want to say it myself, they would read my thoughts aloud for me.

I don’t know how I came up with the words. It’s not at all unusual for me to return to musings past, just to be astonished at my own thoughts. This time, I obviously imagined something, but I’m still a little confused about who I thought I was going to be speaking to.

Quote for the Week:

Many Times Over

On the verge of a migraine, day 2.

I’ve been more than tempted to just say, “Not this week…”  Staring off into space thinking about where we’ll go next, my blurred vision focused on a book shelf. Clearing on a black binding, I suddenly realized the season.

I drew it from its spot, wedged firmly between other versions of the same book in different formats and different languages. Flipping open the cover, I remembered why I had this treasure. The volume that caught my attention, didn’t originally belong to me. It does now, by default.

I’ll stress this up front. My love gave me gifts. The gift of acceptance, the gift of care; gifts of hope and light that meant a lot to me then, but even more to me now. The greatest of all these – love – has always been there, remains and endures.

I reiterate these truths from a season past:

I don’t want to own false grief.

I’m not happy about losing Jeff. I’m not angry, either.

I’m not questioning, “Why?” I know why, and I’m thankful.

I don’t want to own false hope.

I want to have faith that where I am headed will someday make sense to me, and maybe to some others.

I don’t want to own the responsibility of false vision, knowing all that lies ahead.

I want to affirm that life’s adventure is a gift, gladly opening each day as such.

I don’t want to own a false sense of security.

I want to believe with my whole soul that, as paths change, they will continue to be clearly marked in my rear-view mirror – under the direction of the only GPS necessary: God’s Positioning System.

 Ephesians 2:6: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. (NIV)

 I do believe. I do believe I’ve been gifted. I do believe I’ve been gifted, many times over.

Quote for the Week:

2018 03 27 the greatest of gifts became even greater jakorte