Monday, October 27, 2008

A Fresh Reminder from an Old Note

I had a bit of a crappy weekend. I just had a "sad" Saturday. Sparing the details, it was just a bad day. Believing lies as to the abundance and/or presence of God's love for me... what He sees in me... Failing to grasp the deepness of His grace which runs even deeper than my sin... feelings of inadequacy, without the balance of the feeling of God's strength and presence. Plus, TJ was "high-maintenance", throughout the entire weekend, wavering from tired and needy to slap-happy and silly to melting-down with tantrums. I was just bragging on him last week, and it's amazing how a couple of bad days can completely change my perspective on "how I'm doing as a father". Or "how he's doing without his Mommy". He woke me up this morning before my alarm went off-- remember I'm usually out of the house before he's up-- and he had a late night last night, with our small group meeting and what-not. He was bouncing off the walls by the time Dana arrived with her boys at 6:20. I had to give him a time-out before I even left at 6:30. Ugh...

Additionally, I'm a bit stressed with work, starting to "press" and find ways to be more successful. Not for personal gain, I mean... Just trying to figure out ways I can get my region and our company to its goals... things I can do better, differently, to help the process along. We're making progress, but it's not happening fast enough, in my mind...

And there are things I want to do... people I want to spend time with... places I want to go... "ministries" with which I want to serve... and so-on. And I'm just having a hard time figuring out how to fit it all into this new life. TJ is priority #1, and every minute he's awake and I'm not at work, I feel I'm justified in wanting to make sure I'm there to spend it with him... which means basically saying "no" to everything/ everyone else.

Anyway, I've just been struggling with anxiety and feelings of incapability to "do this".

"... abide, Tyson..."

I picked up my coffee on the way to work this morning, turned off the music, and just prayed my way through the commute. Again, I gave it all over to Him. My time, my passions, my son, my job, my hurting friends. And I worshiped. Acapella style. "All the Way My Savior Leads Me", and an old song I used to sing when I led worship at "The Point" back in Indy, by the "secular" group Lifehouse, (although they're Christians), called "Everything":

"How could I stand here with You and not be moved by You? Would You tell me, how could it be any better than this? 'Cause You're all I want, all I need, You're everything... Everything..."

Anyway, I'm feeling a bit better now. What brought me to write this little entry was the fact I was just brought to tears by an old "relic" of sorts... I was scrolling through my email archives, looking for an old contact from over a year ago, trying to knock another little bullet point off of my "to-do" list today... And I came across this note-- truly a gift from God, this morning. A blessing. So good to hear her voice like this, and have it be so relevant this morning. The "garage door" issue she writes about was basically the proverbial straw that had broken this camel's back the night before... There was a different "garage door" this weekend, but these words were a welcomed and soothing interruption to my day, appearing in my work email in-box, all over again this morning...


From: Leslie Bucher []
Sent: Wednesday, October 03, 2007 10:49 PM
To: Tyson Aschliman

I am so sorry you are having a crappy couple of weeks.
I hate that I am not very good at encouraging you and
building you back up.

I feel the need to remind you that you are not
laboring in vain. You are working for the Lord. He
is in control when things are as they are now as much
as when things are really good. He can make the
garage door go up and down....or not. He can make TJ
well, and He can make my polyp go away, with or
without surgery.

Are you spending time with Him? Really spending time
with Him? He wants your full attention.

I love you. I can't wait to spend the weekend with


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"A little bit lonesome"

So... fresh in the wake of what was this morning an uplifting, honest, and rejoicing post... I thought I'd make sure everyone here knows that these wonderful days of "abiding" are not without their-- shall I recall another favorite word-- "bittersweet" moments...

Tonight when I came home from work, Miss Liz and TJ were carving our pumpkins. TJ's was almost done-- a cute littler guy with a cross-eyed, one-tooth grin. Liz was just putting the finishing touches on it. Apparently, TJ had announced that he wanted the "Daddy jack-a-lantrun" to be an "angry" one. (Boy, a shrink would have a field day with THAT one, eh?) He's picking up from seasonal decorations he observes out and about-- that some Halloween things are "silly" and others are "angry". Anyway, after I got home, Liz set to rinsing and boiling the seeds from the gutted pumpkins for roasting before leaving for the evening, while I went to work on the Angry Daddy pumpkin... with my cordless drill. (A little trick I learned from my dad... after all, what's pumpkin carving without power tools?)

The seeds turned out deliciously-- seasoned with just a pinch of my baby-back-rib barbecue rub/ seasoning. And just before bath time we had a pumpkin lighting ceremony. The two "jacks-o-lantern" look so handsome there on the front porch, with the candle-light pouring through them. TJ was so proud. Just giddy. But I couldn't help but think there seemed to be one missing. There's something lonely looking about just 2 jack-o-lanterns sitting on the front porch. TJ seemed to be tracking with me, because when we came back in and headed up to bath-time, I could see his little mind start to kick into overdrive.

"We're back at OUR HOUSE!" He said, as if we'd just returned from some long voyage to some strange land. (We were 15 feet from our front door, for a grand total of about 2.5 minutes.)

"Yes, we are!" I humored him.

"Your house and MY house!" He clarified, in case I was wondering just whose house he was speaking of.

"Yup! Daddy's and TJ's," I echoed.

"And Mommy's in Heaven!" He said, out of no-where, seemingly to me... But I know he thought he was just finishing my thought for me. After all, it's not JUST Daddy's and TJ's house we're living in... it's supposed to be Mommy's too. (This was especially ironic for me tonight, because I'd just had a meeting with my mortgage guy to refinance the house, removing her name from the mortgage.) After some pause, he continued...

"I'm a little bit lonesome for Mommy." He said.

"Yes, Buddy..." I gave an adoring half-chuckle, to keep from crying. "I'm thinking of her quite a bit, too."

"Yeah. I wanted her to stay longer, but she didn't," he mused, as if she had some choice in the matter.

"Yes, TJ. I wish she could have stayed longer, too."

The whole conversation carried a rather matter-of-fact, light-hearted tone, really... as if we were talking about our pumpkins, still. And afterward, we took a shower, played band and baseball, brushed our teeth, and now he's asleep. We prayed as we normally do, thanking God for Mommy-- saying how much we love her and are happy that she is all better and with Jesus now, laughing and dancing and singing. He gave me his dimpled paci-smile as he always does when I pray that. And now he's asleep.

But his little words are still ringing in my ears. He's doing so well these days, that it's almost easy to overlook the scars on his little psyche... Hard to remember he's dealing with a broken heart-- trying to "fill the void"-- just like the rest of us. Shame on me for overlooking this. I'm thankful for that bittersweet little reminder tonight, and will make sure I give him plenty of opportunity to talk and share his thoughts about Mommy as the days continue to turn to weeks, and the weeks to months... and so-on...

Still Abiding

Has it been a week already? I guess it's a good thing that the days are moving a little more swiftly lately. I remember vividly those days that seemed like years, just months ago. I'm still "abiding". That's the word. That's my life. And in a way, I wish I could throw the brakes on that ticking clock on the wall as it seemingly picks up speed-- lasso the sun as it races across the sky and say, "WHOAH, NELLIE! Just give me a minute here... I've got to just take this moment in..."

God is working all around me. My passions I spoke of a few posts ago (9/26- "A Better Version of Myself"), are still ablaze and burning hotter with each passing week. And He is "bearing fruit" as we say, in it all. It's good to be dwelling in a place of total reliance upon Him, and openness to the moving of His Spirit, wherever it leads. Scary? Maybe... and exciting. Crazy how "abiding" can be so much fun...

I've been thinking about Leslie quite a bit this week. It's still not a "sad" process when she enters my mind and I just dwell on her and the memories for a while. It's peaceful. Joyful, even. I'm still thankful for those memories-- that life we shared-- this life she's left me with. I do get teary when I remember those last few months... when every breath was a struggle... the pain and fear she faced with every beat of her failing heart... the feeling of hopelessness when all I could do was lie beside her in that bed and touch her arm, letting her know I was there. And then... I'm reminded that those days are over. Her suffering is done. She is now victorious. And that ever-present image of her refreshes itself in me even more vividly... That picture in my mind-- that one with her eyes half-closed, head tilted back, mouth opened in a dimply grin, and LAUGHING the way that she does-- which is certainly as contageous among the angels as it was among us mere mortals. And all is well again. Better than ever.

(top left- "TJ the Scarecrow"; above- "Playing in the giant corn sandbox"; left- "Bundled up in the wheel barrow at the orchard, eating an apple")

TJ and I have been loving the fall. Last weekend we went to the "Pumpkin Farm" (a local tourist trap in Bolingbrook called Johansson Farms-- pumpkins, cider, a giant petting zoo, rides, etc...), AND cousin Max's birthday party at an apple orchard (Jonamac near DeKalb-- another petting zoo and playground, "you-pick" apples, and some more rides). We had so much fun, and I thought of Leslie nearly constantly. First off, I was like the ONLY single dad at either establishment... of literally HUNDREDS of families in attendance. It seemed that way, at least. Strangely enough, it didn't bother me. I was just enjoying the sunshine, the crisp fall air, and the warmth of the love of my little boy. But it did make me think of Leslie-- how she would have loved to have been there with us. I wore a long-sleeved t-shirt and jeans... she would have certainly been layered up with sweaters, sporting her warm "furry boots" (they have a name, but it escapes me) and a stocking cap... maybe a jacket tied around her waste, "just in case". I found myself hoping beyond hope-- visualizing... BELIEVING-- that she was indeed "with us", watching from Heaven, being given the opportunity by God to just enjoy those moments with us, watching her boy and being proud of him as he played and petted the animals and ate his apples and giggled with glee as he rode the train ride. He's growing up. Every day something else strikes me deeply and profoundly... "When did he get so TALL!" "He looks more like his Mommy EVERY DAY!" "Where did he come up with THAT?" "He's just... growing up..." How I hope she is watching this... Not that it could make Heaven any sweeter for her than it already is... Or could it?

Nights haven't been as bad lately, praise God (and thank you for your prayers). I'm sleeping much better. The heaviness no longer keeps me awake and restless. The times of loneliness are fewer and fewer, and I'm falling in love with the solitude, (when I have time for it, that is). It's an amazing thing when your flesh-- and not just your spirit-- has a sense of being sustained by the Word of God. "The Gospel According to Job", and "Acts" have been my living water. The love, connection, support, and accountability of my friends and family-- "the Body", the community-- have been my manna.

Thank You, Loving Father... Giver and Taker-Away. Provider and Sustainer. Jehovah Jireh. Through my brokenness, You have again made me whole. You are rebuilding my crushed heart, and filling it back up with a love even greater than any I have ever experienced before. You are clearing my mind of my self-pity... even my sorrow... and filling it with Your ways... Your will... Your discernment. I do not deserve these things. I am not worthy of Your provision and love... and certainly not Your presence. But I have learned to accept... no, to CLING to Your grace, with all of my strength and life. It is so good to abide here with You.

One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Ah, the obligatory "changing of the seasons" post... :)

I'm so thankful for our mild and wet July-August we had this summer, because it's made for quite the still-frame fireworks display around these parts, this October. This is by far the prettiest I've witnessed in my relatively short tenure of residency in Chicagoland. To be honest, a "dry, dead, and brown" autumn would have been especially difficult for my eyes and heart to take, this year, for the obvious reasons. But the color is an every-day reminder of God's beauty in change. Those leaves are dying... soon to fall from their branches. Those trees are getting ready to go into a near-dead hybernation for 5 grueling months. But they're going out with a bang. Like a shooting star, blazing its glory as it burns out into nothingness. The glory they bring to God... the worship they draw my heart into, as I witness it all... Hallelujah, indeed.

Leslie and I did our best to enjoy "fall" every year. When we lived in Indy, we'd drive down to Brown County for a scenic hike and snap all kinds of wonderful photos. A couple of years ago, we drove up to Door County, WI to do a winery tour, sight-seeing, and horseback riding. But there was always a subtle sadness about her, as I recall, as we'd soak in the fall together. She knew the winter was coming. She hated the winter. She could hardly bear the cooler weather and shorter hours of daylight that October brought... as to her they were mostly just a foreshadowing of the ice and darkness to come... the darkness that was to almost certainly tug her heart toward another bout with her ongoing struggle with depression. Those who don't live in Chicago need to know... in December/January, the sun sets between 4 and 4:30 p.m. local time, which makes for extremely long and cold nights. And Leslie always needed her sunlight. She'd actually get angry when, every year, on June 21, I'd cheerfully say to her, "It's the longest day of the year, Babe! Get out and enjoy all the sunlight!" Because what she heard me saying (although I wasn't at all saying it, in my mind) was "it's all down-hill from here... shorter days... colder nights... are just around the corner". I can't help but ponder how joyful she must be now, knowing that there is no more winter to loathe... no more cold to endure... not even the threat thereof. I'm sure it's always summertime in Heaven... early-June, perhaps... Only there, the trees and landscape in "early-June" more resemble late-October here.

Certainly, there are cold days ahead. Yes, life is changing. But it's no less beautiful. There is no less reason to give God His due glory. In fact, on the contrary... With the memories (sweet and bitter) of last June still so fresh in my mind; with the vision of Leslie basking in the warmth and long hours of that mid-June sunlight, as she certainly is today; and now with all the color and Glory I see surrounding me-- this is the most beautiful October I can ever remember.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I just revisited my post on "The Gospel According to Job". As if I ever left it. This past week, this weekend, these nights have been a beautiful symbiosis of my "abiding", and God meeting my needs in very real ways. It doesn't always work like that, I know-- at least not as tangibly or obviously as it has these past days and even weeks. So I thought I would share it here, as an ambiguous acknowledgment, of sorts, of the miracles God is working every day to sustain me. To keep me focused on Him-- His will, His ways, His "plan for me"-- this "story" He's writing.

I've acknowledged the concept of "manna" in the past. I believe what I said then was merely something along the lines of " I EXCITED to eat the stuff day in and day out? Nope. But it's good. And it's sustaining." Well, my tune has changed along these lines, lately. The "manna" (His daily provisions and sustenance, as I continue to trust and "abide" in Him) is growing on me, like an acquired taste, of sorts. I'm now finding myself waking up in the morning, eager to partake of the stuff. In fact, now the temptation is to store it up in jars, for another day when the presence of it might not be as apparent... but we all know that that's just not what God wants us to do with manna.

Metaphor aside... THIS is what Christ-following is supposed to be like... Abiding in Him. Receiving His blessings. Not worrying about tomorrow (after all, tomorrow will worry about itself). Eating the manna He provides-- and turning the feeling of a full belly and the hunger pangs alike back to Him in praise... but there I go again, back to that metaphor.

"Sustained" usually sounds like a boring word. It's not exciting, on its cover. But I've learned to love it... to be excited by it... to see just HOW in the world God is going to get me through THIS morning... THIS 3-year-old melt-down... THIS conflict at work-- or dare I say, even this sticky situation at church. Don't get me wrong, I'm not casting myself down from the highest point of the Temple, "daring" God to catch me every morning when I wake up. (Sorry to steal your sermon point from this morning, Pastor Ronn.) I'm abiding in His word. In His truth, and love, and grace, and identity. And He is sustaining me in that. And it's a heck of a lot more adventurous than I'd ever have imagined.

So many of you who read these posts have sent me notes, made phone calls, sent emails, posted replies-- and you tell me you are asking God for just this, on my behalf. Know that your prayers (and mine alike) are being answered daily. I can't explain all the blessings... God is unpredictable and even "illogical" at times, just like any person tends to be. (Call it "free will", I guess...) But I'm not foolish enough (or perhaps pious enough) to not accept the blessings-- the manna-- being laid out before me. So I partake. And I am sustained... in a new way every day. Thank you all-- my close friends and mere strangers alike-- who take the time to make the call, say the word of encouragement, send the note, etc... This is some of the "manna" I speak of. Some of it is how He meets me in prayer-- speaks when I listen... answers when I call. Again... the manna-- His blessings-- are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness, Oh, God!

(I guess this is what you call "having a good night". Another little "miracle"... remember... Sunday nights are usually my worst.)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Missing Mommy

I was welcomed back home tonight from a short business trip to Wisconsin with a GORGEOUS October sunset. "It's ORANGE!" TJ said, as we drove home from Aunt Dana's, where he spent last night and today. Later he declared, "My favorite color is orange! And BLACK!" I think he's seen too many halloween decorations lately, maybe.

As is typical, when I return from not seeing him for anything longer than a "normal" work day, he had a little "melt-down" once we were home alone together tonight. It was actually pretty manageable, as far as melt-downs go. And he's lying beside me in my bed, holding my neck, sucking on his paci, as I type this... trying to go to sleep. I understand that these little episodes have something to do with a "change in venue"... going from all the action of Dana's house-- the boys, Dana's "parenting", etc...-- and the drastic change of coming home to be alone with Daddy. It doesn't really bother me as much anymore. I understand it's just the "adjustment" thing. Tomorrow, he'll wake up and be a model child again, I'm sure of it. (Or hoping for it.)

I was talking to Dana today about some of his new "quirks" lately... The occasional melt-down, the struggle to get him to go to sleep at night, etc... "It's not fair. It's not right. A boy needs his mommy. I feel so bad for him. But it is what it is. I wish I could shave my neck closer to make it feel more like Mommy's. Spray her perfume on me or something... To give him that comfort, that nurturing that only she could give. But I can't. This is his life, now. He's going to have to figure out how to 'deal with it', with what he's being provided... in me, in you, in this 'new life'."

Of course, TJ doesn't even realize he "misses" her. He asks about her regularly. It's typically the same routine-- talking about Mommy being with Jesus in Heaven, worship Him, and laughing, and being happy and "all better"... and of course, getting TJ's drumset ready. Earlier this week, he asked if when we go to Heaven some day, to be with God and Mommy, if we can all come back and sleep at our own house at night. I told him we would have an even BETTER house in Heaven. And he didn't like that. He wants to come back to our house HERE. Fortunately, I got him distracted with another topic, and the conversation dead-ended.

My mom-in-law came up on Monday to watch him. She took him to the soccer park so she could see the tree and the marker, while he kicked goals. After he played for awhile and she cried for awhile, at her directing, he said goodbye to Mommy's tree. He asked if he could give it a kiss. Mom of course allowed him to do so. And afterward, he told her, "Mommy said 'I LOVE YOU' back to me!!" They walked back to the house... both with warmed hearts.

He's been very into "God" lately. He loves the idea of "worshiping"... I think it helps him feel closer to Mommy, knowing that's what she's doing up in Heaven. He often talks about her after we "worship" together. Saturday he wanted to paint. I got out his big painting tablet and some of his paints and brushes, and he painted two BEAUTIFUL pictures... more of the abstract/ avant garde genre, but lovely nonetheless. While he painted the first picture-- which oddly enough ended up resembling a pine tree propped up against a beautiful sunset-- he announced, "I'm painting this picture for GOD!" This of course made his Daddy VERY proud, and I told him so. I explained to him that, just like when we play band and sing "Mighty to Save" and "My Redeemer Lives" and "My Chains are Gone" and all those songs in the basement, painting a picture for God is also worship. "TJ-- you're worshiping God right now! Isn't this fun?" He beemed and nodded. "And you know what else?? That makes God VERY happy!" He was so happy with himself.

The second picture ended up looking something more like the newspaper or drip-cloth that remains under the dye-bowls after kids are done coloring easter eggs. Nice colors-- purples, pastels, yellows... but no form, whatsoever. We'll keep practicing... But anyway, I'm sure Jesus thought it was just perfect... that second picture, after all was for Him, according to TJ, who was apparently excited about the idea of worshiping with paint.

I hope "They" or "He" share(s) those beautiful little works of art with Leslie. I wonder how much of TJ she can see...? How much of his "growing up" she's aware of... a "part" of... "sharing" in... I tend to think (not that there's necessarily any Biblical support for this), that if in fact Heaven is "perfect", (which it is), then certainly she is allowed opportunities to look into his life and bask in the glory of God, which is expressed in the life of her beautiful son here on earth.

I also wonder about just how much TJ thinks about her. Certainly more than he asks. I find him looking at pictures of her now and then, humming songs to himself, smiling... I'd love to peek into his little mind and see what's going on... I look forward to, sometime down the road, speaking to a more grown-up version of him about his Mom. I'm not in a hurry to get there... we're just fine right here, right now... but it will be nice to just talk about what he remembers... and to hear him ask me questions about what he does not...

Anyway... This is not supposed to be a sad post. And if you're crying, I hope it's not out of "sympathy" for us. These are truly sweet and wonderful things to ponder. These are sweet and wonderful days. We're doing quite well, really. It's just that she is still-- and forever will be-- a part of our life. I guess I can say, "...on Earth as it is in Heaven." Amen!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Gospel According to Job

I'm reading a book right now, complements of my good friend Ronn-- also the pastor of my church-- which shares the same title with this particular post. Mike Mason is the author. It has been so good for my soul, even though I'm just digging into it-- not even a quarter of the way through, yet. It is a verse-by-verse "devotional" of sorts, of the book of Job.

Crazy, but Job wasn't really (according to most scholars) "in the fold", so to speak-- he wasn't of the "tribe of Abraham". He was "from the East". Not an Israelite. Most likely, he had no knowledge of Moses and the 10 Commandments, or "The Law" that was given to "God's People"... he had probably never even heard of Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob. In fact, some scholars believe Job even PRE-DATED Abraham. Therefore, the account of his life, trials, grief, and worship were very "non-religious". He had virtually no "historical" or "traditional" religion. He simply knew the Almighty God, as His Divine Nature and Person were simply written on the heart of Job (as they are every person), and Job simply was in communion with this Almighty that superceded all religion. In fact, hundreds if not THOUSANDS of years before the Cross, Job experienced the Truth and Grace and Hope and Passion of the Gospel, in the midst of his suffering before the Almighty. Kind of humbling, isn't it? As much as we run to our traditions and institutions for answers and comfort, here is a man who lost it all. He had no "church", no "Scripture", no "denominational heritage"... only God. Yet his faith was greater than anyone on this earth today, in my opinion. He poured out ALL he was to God-- his anger, his sense of mercy, his God-given wisdom and knowledge, his pain, his hope... his "humanity". Dude GOT "worship". He GOT "pursuing God"... "abiding" in Him...


Now there's a concept. I was just emoting to a friend today about how Leslie was an anchor for me... she met so many of my needs. The one that I've been wrestling with lately has been this: I have a need to be affirmed... to be known... to be understood. Not by everybody (in fact, I could care less about what 99.99% of the people in this world care or think about me)... but as for those whom I love... I need to know they love me... that I bring value to their life... that I am unique, cherished, of value. When Leslie was alive, she was "enough". She got me. We were WAY different in so many regards, but she cherished me, in all my strange-ness and quirkiness. She affirmed my thoughts, encouraged the passions of my heart. She would just lie there and listen in the dark at night whilst I spilled the eternal yearnings of my soul. And she would acknowledge them. Affirm me. Love me.

And now, she's gone.

A voice whispers... "abide..."

Those of you who know me know that I'm not a man of few words. This blog in and of itself is evidence of this fact. I struggle with that-- " quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry..." a "mantra" of mine, of sorts, since my adolescence... one which is still so elusive to this day. I'm much more likely to be the person who lies awake at night regretting what he said, rather than the one who tosses and turns thinking of the things he wishes he would have had the words (or guts) to say. Neither is a worse person... But our struggles are unique, one from the other. I'm a verbal processor, though. (I know... HUGE revelation, right?) And Leslie was the bearer of that "listening" burden for me, for most of my adult life. At least, the part I remember. And there is definitely a "void" left, in her absence. (Man, I'm full of the profoundly obvious, tonight.) But the temptation is to rush to fill that void. To be known as she knew me, by another. Anybody. Somebody. Man, woman, or blog. And God has been whittling away at me... "Really, my son... what is it that you don't already have in me that your heart is telling you it desires? Do I not listen? Am I not here with you? Have I not proven my presence? What else do you hunger for?"

As I reflected into a microphone at church today, amidst a worship set that spoke to my own heart-- sandwiched between the songs "Hungry" and "All the World Will Sing Your Praises"-- "We don't live on bread alone... but on EVERY WORD that comes from the mouth of God." I'm so hungry, indeed. But the same God that poured the parts of Himself into Leslie with which He used to meet those very intimate and emotional needs in me-- that "hunger"... The strength He poured into her in order to make her the perfect partner for me-- is STILL HERE, even in her absence... and I know He will continue meeting my needs. I confess that it is difficult to not rush to fill the void myself... to wait. To abide. To "be still and know that I am God". It's hard to find solitude when the loneliness is so loud. It's hard to let His peace settle on me, some nights, when the angst is raging through my heart and mind-- that noise that Leslie would help me absorb and tame, by her mere presence, listening ear, and feedback.

But the Almighty is still here, and He's listening. Just as He was for Job. (As if I can compare my lot to Job's!) And gradually, He's teaching me to be content with that. In Him. To... "abide".

Needing prayer for peace tonight... that I might "abide".

Maybe if I say that word enough, it will start to sink in...


Thursday, October 2, 2008

The 3rd tree is planted. The marker in place. It reads: "Leslie Bucher Aschliman/ 1976-2008/ In loving memory of our Mommy, wife, sister, daughter, and friend./ "... and every time people looked at the third tree, they would think of God."/ ("The Tale of Three Trees" -A.E. Hunt)

TJ and I took a walk to the soccer park today to take a peek. It was beautiful. This particular tree is a red oak, so in years to come, it will put on quite the fireworks display in the fall... so fitting for our Leslie. TJ and I played soccer in one of the vacant fields, right next to the tree. He scored lots of goals, and I could have sworn I saw that little red oak clap its branches together a time or two, in response.

It was a good evening for us. Just around the house/ neighborhood. Band and baseball (whilst watching the Cubbies get spanked AGAIN!) before bed. Just a good night. And it's been a good week... slower paced than the last few, and surprisingly, the "space" in the days has not been filled by an influx of sadness or recurring grief... I still seem to be dwelling in this place of miraculous peace and comfort-- praise God! Still lots of smiles of good memories, and an indescribable "closeness" to her... but not a heavy sadness... So weird...

A funny TJ story to end this evening-- and a reminder to you parents out there that little eyes are ALWAYS watching... He was playing at Aunt Dana's house yesterday with his cousins' play kitchen set. (He LOVES "cooking".) Out of nowhere, he stops and looks at Dana and says, "When my daddy was putting together my kitchen set at my house... he got VERY angry!"

... Well... the thing was imported and a horrible example of cheap engineering. A guy needs 5 hands just to hold the pieces in place while he tries to screw in the single bolt that holds the thing together with his toes! I mean... C'MON! Who designed the piece of........... ?!!! I mean... errr.... Was it really that obvious to him that I was that angry?

Thank God for granting me grace to make it through that "trying moment" without expanding my 3-year-old's vocabulary in a direction I would surely regret. And God help me in the trying moments to come...