Monday, July 18, 2016

Blogging Thru the Difficult...

Well hello!  

I hope that your summers are going along smoothly, and that all of you are having the times of your lives. I recently realized that it’s been quite a long while since I wrote a blog post, and committed to myself that today would be the day. So here I am… but let me confess to you, here and now, that it may be a little different than usual.

So much has been happening lately – both in the world, as well as personally. For me, as a person who tends to write more on the silly side of the fence than on the serious side, I finally realized what might be happening. It’s difficult for me to write in those light-hearted ways when there are so many sad and serious things happening around me – around all of us. So rather than stop blogging, I decided to share a post with you about what I’ve been feeling and thinking about lately.  

To me it would seem awkward delivering some crazy piece of writing about my family or my random thoughts on life, when ‘somewhere out there’ lies a tragedy. My heart has felt so heavy for so many who have had serious loss lately. Each and every day the World, National, State, and Local News shows broadcast terrible acts of crime and violence.  

Closer to home, earlier this spring, our own family faced a very sudden death. My husband’s brother died at the age of 58 from a massive heart attack. One minute he’d been laughing and talking with his wife, the next, gone. We faced the funeral together, as his siblings and our other loved ones came to town. His death made me examine things that had happened in the past, things that were happening in our present, and even what lies ahead for the future. The thoughts that came to me strongest during that time were “Don’t wait! If you’ve got something to say, say it. If you’ve got something to do, do it. If you owe someone an apology or a thank you, issue it! Write the letter, and place the phone call! None of us ever knows.” I know that these are not new thoughts - people talk about it all of the time. I, personally, tend to live that way pretty often, but not everyone does. It’s good advice, and worth putting into practice because the truth is, (seriously now!) none of us ever knows. My brother-in-law certainly didn't. 

Then, in mid-June, a family at my church experienced a terrible loss. Their son, just 14 years old, out of school for summer vacation about two days, drowned. Yeah, I know… it was absolutely shocking and so very sad. I didn’t know the boy well, but I know the extended family very well. In broad terms I’ll say that every heart in our congregation went out (and continues to go out) to them all. Their/our church home truly rallied, and helped out in ways that were generous with time, talents, and treasures. There’s so little to do for someone who is grieving such a loss, but so many did whatever they could. As you can see, it’s still on my mind and in my heart – probably always will be. Some things, and some people, we just never forget. 

In and around all of the heavy and sad things, however, circle life’s biggest blessings…

Yes, we suffered a familial loss this year, but at the same time, new life came into our family as well – Jakey! He celebrated his first birthday last week, right here in Wisconsin! It was so special to be able to be part of the big day. We have found that seeing his silly four-tooth smile puts silly smiles on all of our faces too.  

During the entire month of May, Tony and Lesleigh traveled to South and Central America for the American Music Abroad program, and acted as U.S. Ambassadors for music. How cool was that??? I looked forward every day to seeing their posts and pictures, and to be able to share in their experience. They traveled safely, performed their music and spoke publicly two to three times each day, and experienced overall good health. Their experience gives our family much to celebrate, and much to be proud of.  

Some new news that I’ll be talking about a lot more often, is that our son-in-law, Joe, has received a new work opportunity through his present employer. Joe, Megan and Jakey will be moving from Connecticut over the next couple of months to a new location. Keep your eyes peeled to see more details as they unfold. But in the meantime, we are all so grateful for a good job, new opportunities, their health and happiness as a little family.  

And it’s interesting to me… through all of the difficult things that happen, and all of the good and blessed things that happen, relationships can deepen and strengthen. When you go through things together, it changes everything. I’m counting all of that as additional blessings.  

One of my favorite Bible verses is in Romans 8, starting at verse 28… “In all things God works for the good of those who love him and who have been called according to his purpose… If God is for us, then who can be against us?” I’ve learned that we are not always dealt “good things” in this life – far from it. But God works in all things and brings good through all things, to those who love Him. All things…  even the worst. 

And so we go on – living through the sad some days by focusing on the blessings, and trusting that somehow, everything will work out. 

Smile, Cry, Listen, Talk, Laugh, Grieve, Live, Live, Live!!! Oh, and have good days!!! 

Katie Kolberg Memmel is the author of two books: “Five Fingers, Ten Toes – A Mother’s Story of Raising a Child Born with a Limb Difference,” and “Silly Stories and Sentimental Stuff.” Both are available through Amazon in electronic as well as paperback form.