November 27, 2011 – Unbidden at 36.000 Feet

Unbidden at 36,000 Feet
The interesting fact about grief is that it is always with you and often can come bubbling to the surface unbidden at the most inconvenient times. It’s not always predictable as to how and when the tears might come, forcing you to deal as best you can, and for some reason, sometimes in public arenas.
I am actually writing this segment sitting in a Delta flight from Detroit to Seattle. It might seem a bit strange, but such is the “beast” with which I have to deal. OK, so a little background would help.
I flew out to Ohio to be with family for the Thanksgiving holiday. It was a combination of visiting with “our” son, Jonathan and his wife, Carol in Cleveland. For the past two years they have been oversees, so this was the first opportunity to visit them on their turf. It was good to see their home, and Jonathan’s office at Capitol University. I wrote a little of that in the last entry about the movie, The Way. The other part of the visit was to go to Cleveland and meet Esther’s husband, Tony’s family. They put on a big “Italian” get together to celebrate Esther and Tony’s marriage. He has a wonderful family and it was a fun time, although, right in the middle of all the festivities, I was spending some time out on the porch to quietly bawl a little, just thinking how much I missed Marilou being able to be a part of the festivities, thinking how much she would enjoy it. Even had a few tears gushing as I talked with Esther, which really made me upset with myself. I so didn’t want to spoil things for her.
The whole thing was wonderful, and we had a good time. All of it was interspersed with those times of unbidden tears. Never knowing what things might be the trigger, but trying to be watchful so that when it happens I could turn and look away, or walk a distance long enough to compose myself, and re-join the group.
But here I was in the plane in seat 22F, looking out the window and thinking about the fact that a few days from now I will again be on a plane heading to Brazil. Thinking at the same time of the trip in July of 2010 when Marilou and I were on a plane headed to Brazil.  While the music is playing in my headphones, my thoughts wandered their way to the times not too long from now when I will again visit those places where Marilou and I prayed together. 
The beach in Joao Pessoa where I took a picture of the surf washing over our two sets of feet. That was just before I fell, a wave swept over me, Marilou was screaming and the camera drowned. I laughed as in my headphones played the 60’s song, “wipeout.” Then I cried, with my face turned to look out the window as I thought of scattering her ashes on that beach, maybe putting a picture of our feet in the sand there.
Just before that fateful fall!!!

My thoughts went to when I will again visit Sabara and the dear family of Pastor Rolaldo Cota who hosted Marilou and I last July as we pitched a tent and prayed on top of the mountain. I cried again when I thought of putting a picture of her on that mountain top, and spreading her ashes where we had prayed. 

It was hard to keep my face glued toward the window,, because the tears were streaming down my cheeks by now. I thought about being on the mountain top in Algodao de Jandaira where again, we prayed together. By now my cheeks are wet with  tears, I’m trying to wipe my eyes without being too obvious.  Tears streaming unbidden from my eyes as music plays in my ears. Songs like, All I need I Already Have. And then, Somewhere over Eastern South Dakota, flying at 36,000 feet, with tears and running nose, comes the song into my headphones, “Oh the wonderful cross.” And at that very moment, down below… some unknown little town with the street lights lit up, and two lines of amber colored lights, you guessed it, in the form of a cross.
Oh man! Sometimes it’s more than I can handle already, Lord, and then you zap me with one of those little, “Yes, I know, I’m holding you.” Type reminders.  So here I am, typing this into my computer with tear-brimmed eyes, hoping that the guy in the other seat keeps his attention on the movie he  is watching and doesn’t notice the watery glint in my eyes.
Yep, the tears come at the craziest times. But again, I have to say that there are many times when the tears are ones of just overwhelming love and thankfulness to the Lord. I know He is holding me. I know He has a plan for me in all of this. And even that in itself is enough to bring more of the unbidden flood of tears.  It is my custom now, each morning as I rise and each evening before I get into bed, to kneel beside the bed in prayer. Many of those times, the tears flow as I simply say, “Abba, I love you! Jesus, I love you!” Holy Spirit, I love you!”  In some ways, that’s the part of this that I wouldn’t mind if it never lessens. That deep, deep, overwhelming love and gratefulness to the Lord for His love for His mercy. For the gift of having Marilou a part of my life. Yes, pappa, I love you, so much.
…till next time.
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