But God sees us
Genesis 16:13 Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the Lord, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me.”
The Gift of Geese
Last December, my mom, 92, died unexpectedly. We held her memorial service in early January. While I moved to Pennsylvania almost 30 years ago, she still lived in North Texas.
Like Mom I’m a classic Type A, Enneagram 1 person, so when I needed to be on site for an extended period of time to help my brother and sister go through her things, I was there. When I needed to work remotely during the day and focus on Mom stuff late into the night, that’s what I did.
Between busyness and exhaustion, there wasn’t much time to grieve, and I knew I’d need God to help me anyway, since I’m not a natural emotions processor. When Dad passed 15 years ago, I asked God to help me grieve over his dying. I was aware that numbness seemed to be an impenetrable wall, and I didn’t know how to scale it. Then one day out of the blue, he brought me to tears on a particular stretch of road on my way to work. This occurred daily for months. It would have been funny if it hadn’t been so gut-wrenching, and I both looked forward to and dreaded hitting that part of my commute. Slowly, over time the sobs subsided, healing took hold, and one day the time for that grieving was over.
As I followed my brother’s truck down the street the early morning we headed north with what I chose to keep of Mom’s things, I remembered how God had provided me a way to grieve for Dad, and wondered if he might do the same now for Mom. I enjoy long drives and seeing the changing countryside, so the first day flew by pleasantly enough, but with no grief markers.
The second day was totally different. Less than an hour after we’d left our hotel, something caught my peripheral vision. As far as the eye could see on either side of the highway lay fields of stubble, the remnants of last Fall’s harvest, but something had moved. On closer examination, the fields were covered with thousands of geese. Packed with them, for miles and miles. As I drove by, hundreds seemed to lift off already in their trademark V-formations, then lazily cross the road. This continued for at least 20 minutes as we continued down the interstate.
There’s something about the sight of geese flying overhead that physically thrills and awes me, but this was overwhelming in the true sense of the word, and I wept and wept. I wept over my mom’s death, and I wept over the provision of a loving God who knew how to help me release my tears. A God who sees me and understands my particular needs.
Trying to find words to articulate and remember this experience, I’ve named it The Gift of Geese. I know that at least twice a year I’ll have a reminder of that gift flying overhead, even if I only see a single V limping across the sky. I don’t know if I’ll weep, but I know it will make me smile, remember, and utter several prayers of gratitude.
Note from Debbie:
Stacey writes songs that greatly enrich our worship at Church of the Ascension. Her song “I Offer My Isaac” brought Karis and me to tears on our first visit to the church the morning after her first transplant was cancelled:
I offer my Isaac here on your altar,
Removed from my shoulders, bound for the slaughter.
I surrender my Isaac here on your altar.
Freely I offer the love of my heart.
My hands are free to praise you wholly now, to receive what you have for me.
And should you take or return my Isaac, oh Lord,
On your altar my heart will still be. On your altar my heart will still be.