Bitter and Sweet

On Sunday morning we leave this place forever.

2011 Has been a year of tremendous Joy because it included Mychal’s college graduation and Marriage. Incredible milestones in the life of a family and a true sense of satisfaction for a parent to see your Son chase dreams and catch them.

2011 brought with it a fall season that showed us evil and darkness on a scale I have never experienced in my life before. Swirling together were these difficult and challenging circumstances as we were preparing for our son’s wedding and I would often say why does this have to happen now? Is it not possible to have a wonderful life moment untainted by the evil ambitions of others? It is once again that quandary of the bitter and sweet mixed all together and it often leaves me feeling perplexed as to where is the mercy of God in all this?

And then I had a thought…Perhaps it is not the bitter that affects the sweet but the other way around…it is the sweet that softens the bitter. If they were in fact separated and we experienced them in isolation, yes that would make the sweet incredibly joyous but it would also make the bitter achingly unbearable. Like the scene in Steel Magnolia’s where Sally Field’s character at the grave side of her daughter is screaming at the injustice of her daughter’s death and just when you think you cannot cry any harder, it comes from Olivia Dukakis’ character…”Here Hit Weezer!” And that burst of laughter comes and you can stand the heart ache of a Mother’s loss just a little easier.

Life comes in bitter and sweet moments all wrapped together to soften the one and temper the other so we live with compassion and grace. It is the bitter that reminds us that His presence is near and the sweet that celebrates that fact over and over again.

That is how I feel about this place…I had solitude here that my soul deeply needed and I regained my passion and joy for life here.

We bonded and developed a wonderful relationship with our girl here…Mychal and Allison came home every weekend that first summer and we had shared life together.

Tim and I faced true empty nest for the first time here…What a romantic place to remember being just a couple again. Our Monday adventures were a timeless rediscovering process that I will cherish always.

All of our family and friends who came here to rest and walk by the ocean, and left restored and left restored and rejuvenated.

What a gift to be able to give.

Lots of sweet

And in the bitter I found the Lord never left me alone…in big and small ways He sent His love to me to remind me that I was never far from His heart or His hand. When ugly accusation swirls around you that is when God sends His truth to hold you. It is true the Landscape of our life has changed forever and maybe my story will end in ways I never imagined. And I think there will be days ahead that I will not understand the twists and turns that I will face BUT I would not have traded the bitter because without it I would have missed the sweet.

One of the sweet moments was seeing Rascal Flatts in concert in Chula Vista.

I love the lyrics from one of their songs…”Yeah life throws you curves, but you learned to swerve.” It has been running through my head a lot these days because I have moments when I think maybe we should never have left the desert we had security there and on and on you know those Lot’s -wife -moments when what was behind looks better than what lies ahead…but when you take a risk and reach for something new there is always that possibility that what you thought would be only sweet could contain some very difficult bitter but it is in the revelation of that you learn the truth of life…Life with no risks may mean less bitter but it also means less sweet.

The reality is there is no way to escape bitter in this life no matter how carefully or guarded you choose to live…there will be bitter because we live in a sin-filled world so why not trust God and see just how amazing the sweet can be. Even now I say this not knowing what the future holds or how this road will lead me…I would still choose the bitter and the sweet of Carlsbad because I know in all of it God holds my past, present and future in the very palm of His hand.

And sometimes in the bitter you have the courage to do things you have always wanted to try but were afraid to try… like writing…I love to read, voraciously so I know what really good writing looks like and that was my fear that I would try and fail. I believe there is a book in here somewhere and ideas for short pieces just keep coming like this thought of the bitter and the sweet and so I am trying to see if all the things this bitter experience is teaching me can be translated and I am not afraid any more to try…and that is quite frankly very sweet.

Isaiah 41:10

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”