Thursday, April 15, 2010

Seeking Beauty

There now exists a void in my life because Grannie is gone.  It seems to be human nature to immediately try to fill the hole with whatever is closest, with whatever seems to bring at least some semblance of fullness, which for at least a time, satisfies.  It has been interesting to step outside myself, to take time to  pause and look at what I have been desperately trying to use to soothe my broken heart.  Old habits that I was sure would come back have not, and one that I thought I was so over has reared its ugly head again.

By now, I was for sure that I would be eating my way to China.  In fact, before we left for the funeral, I found myself constantly hungry, nibbling here and there, convincing myself that yet another Cadbury Egg would not affect my weight that much.  It was only about 9 years ago that I kicked the food addiction, although there have been periods of time that eating for comfort has entered my life again.  Fortunately, I was able to stop it before it got out of hand.  Coming back from the funeral, I was prepared to resist the desires, continually telling myself that eating would not bring Grannie back, would not make me feel better in the long run, would not ease my sadness.  I've been home for five days and have not had to have the little pep talk with myself even once.  In fact, for most meals, I have to convince myself that I really should eat, and that even if I don't want to, my children and husband do not look kindly on starvation.

Onto the place where I know I am in the process of succumbing (my Bible study friends will be so disappointed!) -- my addiction to buying things.  It's nothing outlandish.  I deal mostly in petty stuff:  a cute $5 shirt at Old Navy, a clearanced-out picture frame at Target, a draw organizer.  No matter what the cost, no matter that I have the money to spend on it, I don't buy it because it is useful (although I can rationalize anything), I buy it because it brings me momentary joy.  And, if it is an organizational tool, all the better, because I can prolong my joy with the process of organizing and beautifying!  If I am busying doing this, I have successfully avoided dealing with the issue that is causing me the distress in the first place.  Ta-da!  Brilliant.

But, do you know what I want to buy right now?  Things of natural beauty.  I want fresh flowers in every room in  my house.  I want new plants in my garden.  I want an old-timey scrapbook (with coordinating papers and stickers of course) to put all the old pictures and momentos  that I have from my grandmother.   

Okay, so the scrapbook is not a thing of natural beauty, but the art of creating it -- that uses natural talent, right?  This is my rationalization in action here, folks. 

I think I am seeking things that represent new life or that chronicle and preserve the old so that it never dies completely.  When I see beauty, I see my grandmother.  New life pushes out the darkness and renews my sense of purpose.  My frustration dies down and I can focus on giving my children what they need and not the by-products of my grief.

I don't think Jesus would mind if I actually broke down and bought some flowers.  But I think He just wants me to turn to Him first.  I have to admit that spiritually, I'm just sitting here.  I know He is there. I know that He is holding me up without me even having to ask.  But I also know that I have not pursued Him much at all.  I have not asked Him to help me shoulder the blackness that seems to cover my heart.

I have hidden my face and I cannot even tell you why.

For whatever reason, communicating with God on any real level seems hard, even though in my rational mind I know that the benefit of letting Him in far outweighs any difficulty in speaking to Him.

Sometimes, it's just easier to buy flowers.
This is the receipt from the hotel Grannie and Howard stayed in on their honeymoon.


  1. Great post Jen! I certainly think that you should hang on to your writings as well. Your daughters will cherish these someday!

  2. I'm so sorry for your loss. I know how it feels to try to stuff things into whatever hole exists inside us...I'm battling food addiction myself, and I've given in to instant gratification when it comes to shopping as well. I'm definitely with you, and praying for you that you find your strength and stop hiding your face away.

  3. What a beautiful entry! As someone told me when my Mom passed away very suddenly 17 months ago, "You will never get over this loss, but you will get through it." That is so true! I found the Psalms to be so comforting and the 23rd Psalm took on a whole new meaning to me following my Mom's death. Blessings to you!


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