'Look at this photograph...' Not only did I hear the Nickelback song quite often on the radio, but photos of my daughter popped up in the most unlikely of places.
There was a recent celebration at our parish for a young man who is about to be ordained, and in a shadow box, were photos of his life. The photos spanned from his birth up into the present, representing key events in his life and individuals who were an important part of it. My daughter and father's pictures were among them, a beautiful tribute to what they meant in his life. He and my daughter are the same age, and had played together as children and had even traveled together, spending time at my parents home in Florida when they were young. They were friends who were so much more like family.
My day had began like any typical Sunday morning, up a little later, get ready for Church, take care of our faith formation program and then try to enjoy being with family and friends. But something told me early on that the day would be a little different. I awoke to my dog knocking something over and hearing it shatter across the tile floor. Then as I cleaned up last night's cups and dishes, a glass decided it had had enough and slid off the counter, shattering into finite pieces. I am not generally superstitious, but my mind wondered if maybe it was trying to tell me something. I swept up the shards and didn't give it another thought.
Later on in the day I received a message from a friend of Rachel's letting me know about a dream she had had a while back. She emailed me the details of the dream, telling me she felt compelled to share this dream with me, but had hesitated for fear of upsetting me. She wasn't sure what it all meant, but somehow felt I needed to be aware of it.
So now I fast-forward to the celebration and the young man's family continually asking me if I had seen the photo. Yes I had, and thank you, was my reply. But as the evening progressed and I began to realize the significance of that particular photo, and what my family had meant to this young man; my emotions could not and would not be contained.
Then it hit me all at once, and now my tears refused to stop. The broken pieces, the message and the photo all seemed to have a certain relevance. It was as if I was being reminded that my life is still a mess of broken pieces, there are, and will always be missing pieces and shards, and a reminder that I will never be completely whole again; there will always be that piece that nothing else can replace.
Then there is the message, a reminder that Rachel is always near, that she is okay and that she somehow finds ways to let me know. Ironically, the messages seem to appear when I need them most or when events in my life remind me of what is missing.
We may not always be aware of their presence, we may sometimes ignore it as nonsense, but our loved ones and dear friends are very near. They watch over us and let us know that we are loved and that the love transcends even from beyond the grave and death.
It is comforting to know that we are not alone. Yes, our lives will not be the same, in putting back the broken, shattered pieces of our lives, there will always be that elusive piece. The one piece that somehow cannot be glued together, that no longer fits, or is simply gone. But it is in the brokenness that light penetrates, that life penetrates, that we learn to live again.
I am learning to live again, to accept the brokenness of my life, and to live anew. I cherish the missing shards, and cracked exterior, knowing that I am loved and that love will always comfort me, surround me. And the most amazing discovery for me, is that I am whole, even though I am broken. I am unique, and the missing pieces of my life, allows me to recognize the beauty in this. I have come to see that true strength is not measured by the amount of weight a person can lift; but how a persons learns to lift themselves up when all else fails.
Blessings! and until we meet again.