Sunday, February 8, 2009

What The Future Might Hold

I promised yesterday that I would share a little of what I think God might have for my future. When I said that yesterday, I was excited about it. Today, I am in a different, more wavering, wondering to believe if it will really happen. But if it is to happen, I want my friends and sisters and brothers in Christ to have been a part of it and to know all the ways God revealed what it is to be, how it is to come about, and how I am to play a part in the ministry. Let me start by telling you a bit of how the idea got started. Here we go...back in time for a moment.

Yesterday I mentioned that I used to live in Canada. I decided to go there, to live, because I'd heard that there was an alternate school program being offered through a local community (Here's a picture of me with some of the folks at the school in Canada, "Twin Valleys") college that was of interest to me. I knew only that they helped kids who had problems - domestic violence, drugs, alcohol, almost any kind of problem. I thought that it was a college program and figured if AWOL draftees could stay there, they'd surely let me live there too so I went. When I got there I found that it was a high school program for kids who had all the problems listed. A good way to explain it might be like a giant home school, where not only academics was taught but also the kids learned to be dependent and self sufficient through farming, building, cooking, and all kinds of life skills. I stayed anyway on a visa as a "student teacher". (Here's one of the dome buildings the students built!)

For a number of years as a Believer I felt strongly that one day God would use my experience in such a place as the school in Canada. I thought it might be to help run a drug rehab center or some kind of place to minister to children and families. I have never been quite sure what the focus would be; I've just pictured myself running it. Vinnie and I had even talked about how much we'd love to run a bed and breakfast some day. It was right up our alley and a good use of our personalities, gifts, talents, and passions. (Yup, even from my hippie days! See group photo below, I'm in the front row)

One day the training of GriefShare here in Wake Forest was sharing a vision she believed God gave her a few years ago for a Grief Center. She asked if we'd pray about it and I did. After a few days through, I felt like God was knocking on my head saying, "Gail, Hello! Can't you see that her dream and yours fit together?" So I picked up the phone and called her right away. I thought we should talk about what my dream was and see how she felt it was to fit together. We've been praying about it ever since and I've been lead to some pretty amazing little connections too, leading me to believe that God is in fact, piece at a time, revealing what His plan really is for this center.

I believe part of it will be like a bed and breakfast. One building will be called the Widow's Peak. There will be an area suited for kids - a camp type of setting, and there will be space for conferences and workshops. There will be also gardens and a library, a dining area, a chapel, and things to do outdoors to enjoy the beauty of God's creation. I am not sure of much else although, like I say, it seems to be coming together piece by piece. It's kind of like putting a puzzle together that doesn't have the box top on it with the picture of the finished product. We have an idea of it's shape but we pick up pieces and think, "this looks like it might be another piece to this picture, let's put it in the pile and see if/when God gives us key pieces to make all the others fit together.

It's hard to be given a dream like this - in pieces, but isn't that how God gives it? He is trusting we will wait, pray, and watch for His hands to create. He is trusting (and protecting us) from going too fast or beyond Him and His timing too. In the meantime, life goes on as usual, and we wait, being on the alert to something that might indicate another piece to the puzzle. It's an honor but it's agony too.

I am open to knowing that there are sisters and brothers in Christ who are praying too for the birth of the Grief Center. We believe it will be called, "Inn The Master's Hands". Like the name? If you feel, after praying, that God is prompting you to give me information that shapes what the center is suppose to be like, I am all ears (or eyes if you email me about it). I'd love to hear from anyone who has thoughts about it!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Wandering Bridge

It's been a while since I've been to my blog site. I think the past month or so has been an adjusting time, a bridge of sorts, a tiring, solemn, wandering kind of walk back and forth on a bridge of life. It reminds me of the time I got stuck between two borders, New York and Ontario. I lived in Ontario for 2 1/2 years when I was out of high school. One winter after visiting family in New York, I realized I had forgotten my visa papers at home which was half way between London and Windsor. Getting to NY had not been a problem because security checks were randomly selected during the 70's and I was never selected, in spite of my hippie (me on left with my first car) appearance. I guess it was obvious that I was not skipping the draft of the USA!

Anyway, when I was returning to Ontario, I was asked to show my ID and my visa papers. I didn't have any of them so I was shipped back across the border via cab ride. When I got to NY, they didn't want me either! It was a scary place, especially since I was expecting friends to drive to NY (they finally had to let me back in since I had just come from there) and bring my papers. But a sudden terrible snow storm kept everyone from traveling and I was stuck in Buffalo for 3 days with no ID, very little money, and no one to talk to.

(Here's my graduation picture)
Life this past month has been a little bit like that...of course, I am less scared, more mature, and I have plenty of wonderful friends to talk to. But not being able to go back (to life with Vinnie) and wanting to (or not really knowing any kind of life without him) has been a struggle. Yet, moving forward seems difficult too because I am not sure where I am going. As I began to run out of electronic photos of Vinnie that I could upload to my blog site I began to realize that I needed to start blogging about the life I am suppose to be having AFTER death, after Vinnie's death, after all isn't that the name of this blog? Then tonight...I figured out what I should be writing about...the walk I am having right now, the one of the bridge! I don't have to wait and write about what is on the other side of the bridge; I can write about what the journey is right now on the bridge!

It's going to take me a while to figure things out. I knew Vinnie for almost 30 years, this journey is a bit weirder this age and in these circumstances than say, if I was in my 20's when Vinnie died. I am older, a lot larger, and childless. I don't need help with raising my little girls. I am probably never going to date again so seeking to marry again is probably not in the future scope of things either. There are friends I could join for things like evening dance lessons and workouts but I have so little a salary that outings with anyone must be kept to an all time near-no budget. So I've been wondering what I am suppose to write about...the mundane duties of work each day? Go ahead, you can say it, "That would get old fast!"

So you can take a peek at what life is for one widow who is trying to find her "New Normal" in life. That IS the journey I'm on right now. I will warn you, it's going to be some bouncing around from time zone and era to time zone and era but I think you will get a kick out of it! You see, the journey on this bridge is this...reminiscing where I've been, before Vinnie, (like the photo below of us when we were first engaged) with Vinnie, the cancer, our marriage, our dreams, and of course, a look at what may be ahead for me without him. Are you willing to keep taking the journey with me? If you do, as I begin to take more and clearer steps towards what things might be in store for me in the future, you will surely understand how all the things of my past will be what prepares me for what God has in the future. Put on your seat belts...if you want to take the journey with me, it's going to be a bit Topsy-Turvy for a while but the journey is going somewhere and I'd love for you to be on this trip with me, at least in prayer and with hopes and encouragement.

I will be back tomorrow with a description of what it is like to be a plate when God is trying to scrape it clean. Ouch! It's painful...but I can't wait to be clean, free and clear! I won't get into too much description of what the pain is like and I can't even talk too much about what the stuff is being scraped away (too many personal and family things) but I can say, He sure is turning up the heat to get the job done! I believe He is beginning to show me something that the future might hold for me so I'll give you a peek at it tomorrow. Have I got you in suspense? Good. Come back, because I want you to be updated on what I might be doing one day (when I grow up?) and I'd love to have you praying about it with me. See ya tomorrow!