There is a lot on my plate right now. The school where I serve as principal is at an exciting, yet scary crossroad. We know we need to grow. We know we’d like to grow. However, the current facility where we are at does not provide the room to grow. Since I arrived, I have spent countless hours in planning meetings and late-night conference calls to think through the process of how we can do what needs to be done. We are now at a point where we have the option to grow in two separate locations. There are so many details I cannot even begin to share. Along with this, I am seeking legal counsel on how to deal with the massive medical bills related to Jaime’s cancer. I won’t even share with you the final amount, simply because you wouldn’t believe how much it costs to be sick and even to die. And then, on top of that, I am conversing back and forth regarding a reasonable repayment schedule of my student loans for my graduate studies. Once again, I will spare you the amount. Finally, in light of the debt incurred from Jaime’s illness, I am beginning the process of selling the condo we purchased, prior to our marriage in 2005. I have been advised to sell the property before a judge decides how best to spend any equity. That process has just begun and it alone has numerous factors to consider.
I don’t share all that to complain or ask for sympathy. But I will tell you that this past weekend, I found myself unable to sleep. “How in the world?” was the recurring theme as I thought over all that is going on – swirling continually in my mind. On Monday evening, as I went to file papers, though, I noticed a bulging file folder without a label. I said to myself, “Well, I probably should clean this thing out. We really don’t need a warranty for something we no longer own.” As I pulled this bright yellow file folder from the container, I opened the flap and I was overcome by what I saw…letters, notes, and cards….they were all there. Jaime was the opposite of a hoarder. If she couldn’t find sentimental purpose in something in five seconds or less, it was in the garbage. But there they all were…an envelope that read, “Christmas 2004,” “To My Love, I’ll see you Saturday,” and folded pieces of paper that were hurried love notes from when we dated up through when Felicity arrived. She kept every one of them. I read and cried and read some more and cried and suddenly found myself thinking less and less about all that was on my mind. God knew that I needed those “love notes” on Monday evening. “I know you have a lot going on…I know you are stressed…but know that you are loved with an everlasting love,” it’s what I’m sure I heard through the tears and the mental memories of writing each word on the cards and love notes that I found.
Sometimes He calms the storm – just like He did for His friends in the boat, that day on the Sea of Galilee. And sometimes He doesn’t – like when the money is gone, plan “C” didn’t work, and someone we planned to grow old with slips away for something far greater than we will ever understand on this side. After journeying with Jaime through her illness and death, I no longer ask God to stand and tell the waves to be still. Instead, I ask Him to help me to be still while the storm rages around me. I ask Him to help me not to focus on what appears to be the last straw, and instead be reminded that when the moment seems to be “the end,” or when the outcome hurts beyond words, that if I would just be still, there are love notes waiting to be found.
A “love note” I have recently been reminded of …
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:31-32, 35, 38-39