It has been a hard week.
Gracie is going through some things and it seems people keep wanting to give me advice on how to “handle” her. But you see, a) you handle problems, not people, and b) last time I checked, none of the people giving me advice have ever parented an adopted child of another race who was born addicted to cocaine, heroin, and meth. And so we pray that this is just the terrible twos and not our daughter’s abstinence syndrome finally rearing its ugly head. Sometimes I forget that I am already a special needs Mom.
But God understood that for me to better love my daughter I needed some perspective. In His tender mercy, instead of wallowing in frustration with my erratic toddler, I have been catapulted into grief. Swallowed whole by the loss of a dear loved one in my extended family. And the loss of a dear friend’s son who was also friend to my sister’s family.. All in the same day.
And I know that I do not grieve without hope. That the glory of Easter morning has robbed death of its lasting power. This is fact. And yet, I am living in the midst of the “not yet.” I am reminded that this world is not my home. I am just a weary, weary sojourner.
I am ever grateful for Lent. For a time when I am already cognizant that it is for these very things that Jesus came. But oh, how I long for Easter! How I long for the day when I can see His face clearly, when his fingers will wipe my eyes, and there will be no more death or dying or cancer or widows or orphans or kids born with diseases or syndromes or mourning.
For now, I pray and sing that the ancient words of Bernard of Clairvaux will be wholly mine:
O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
O sacred Head, what glory, what bliss till now was Thine!
Yet, though despised and gory, I joy to call Thee mine.
What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.
Men mock and taunt and jeer Thee, Thou noble countenance,
Though mighty worlds shall fear Thee and flee before Thy glance.
How art thou pale with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How doth Thy visage languish that once was bright as morn!
Now from Thy cheeks has vanished their color once so fair;
From Thy red lips is banished the splendor that was there.
Grim death, with cruel rigor, hath robbed Thee of Thy life;
Thus Thou hast lost Thy vigor, Thy strength in this sad strife.
My burden in Thy Passion, Lord, Thou hast borne for me,
For it was my transgression which brought this woe on Thee.
I cast me down before Thee, wrath were my rightful lot;
Have mercy, I implore Thee; Redeemer, spurn me not!
What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.
My Shepherd, now receive me; my Guardian, own me Thine.
Great blessings Thou didst give me, O source of gifts divine.
Thy lips have often fed me with words of truth and love;
Thy Spirit oft hath led me to heavenly joys above.
Here I will stand beside Thee, from Thee I will not part;
O Savior, do not chide me! When breaks Thy loving heart,
When soul and body languish in death’s cold, cruel grasp,
Then, in Thy deepest anguish, Thee in mine arms I’ll clasp.
The joy can never be spoken, above all joys beside,
When in Thy body broken I thus with safety hide.
O Lord of Life, desiring Thy glory now to see,
Beside Thy cross expiring, I’d breathe my soul to Thee.
My Savior, be Thou near me when death is at my door;
Then let Thy presence cheer me, forsake me nevermore!
When soul and body languish, oh, leave me not alone,
But take away mine anguish by virtue of Thine own!
Be Thou my consolation, my shield when I must die;
Remind me of Thy passion when my last hour draws nigh.
Mine eyes shall then behold Thee, upon Thy cross shall dwell,
My heart by faith enfolds Thee. Who dieth thus dies well.