Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Gratitude

June 6, 2008

“Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.” - Karl Barth

I am lying in (my own!) bed this morning with tears of joy trickling into the coffee. I have never been so grateful--simply, truly, humbly grateful--for anything as much as I am for the river of love that just keeps on flowing over my family and me. I’ve been out of the flow for a little bit, and it stunned me this morning to read all the emails, messages, and cards that have accumulated. In a world unfortunately full of tragedy, ugliness, anger, and self-serving, receiving such gifts of compassionate selflessness is like opening the best present on the best Christmas morning. My hope is renewed....my heart unshrivels.

The weight of our reality is already so heavy that the smallest thing added to it can plunge me 20,000 leagues under the sea. But just as I’m about to drown in the dark, ugly waters, I receive a tank full of life-restoring oxygen from letters such as the one I just opened from someone I don’t think I’ve even met. Her daughter was a sorority sister of Katherine’s at Samford. She writes, “...I have cried with you many times. The body of Christ is truly that--when the finger hurts, the whole body feels the pain. The pain we feels draws us to our knees--both day and night--lifting each of you in prayer.” Someone I don’t even know is down on her knees for me!

Friends, the world just doesn’t get this. If we’re honest, I think we’ll acknowledge that the fleshly inner reaction is more like, “Well, that’s sad, but I’m just glad it wasn’t my child.” But I have received such an outpouring of empathy that it almost feels as if Katherine has a thousand mothers instead of just measly old me. My love and concern for her are being infinitely multiplied and magnified. My prayers for her are carried straight to the Father's throne on the wings of the prayers of countless other compassionate mothers.

I am profoundly grateful for this. I am grateful for your love, your concern, your support. I am grateful for your notes, messages, books, gifts, food, and flowers. I am grateful for your faithfulness. I am grateful for your shoulders. I am grateful for your tears. But most of all, I am grateful for your prayers.

“Thank you” just doesn’t cut it. We’ll have to come up with a new word.

In the meantime..... thank you.

*************************

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee. Neither can we call this a begging of misery, or a borrowing of misery, as though we were not miserable enough of ourselves, but must fetch in more from the next house, in taking upon us the misery of our neighbours. Truly it were an excusable covetousness if we did, for affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it. No man hath affliction enough that is not matured and ripened by and made fit for God by that affliction. If a man carry treasure in bullion, or in a wedge of gold, and have none coined into current money, his treasure will not defray him as he travels. Tribulation is treasure in the nature of it, but it is not current money in the use of it, except we get nearer and nearer our home, heaven, by it. Another man may be sick too, and sick to death, and this affliction may lie in his bowels, as gold in a mine, and be of no use to him; but this bell, that tells me of his affliction, digs out and applies that gold to me: if by this consideration of another's danger I take mine own into contemplation, and so secure myself, by making my recourse to my God, who is our only security.


John Donne, from Meditation XVII

11 comments:

suzirockett said...

good morning Kim, I too am one of the many moms who hold you and your whole family up in prayer. I am the one who posts a bit to let you know how much I am learning on the sidelines of the race you are running. I often say of myself I have no shelf life,small things can get me down, then I take it to God and think of all the what if's and pray hard. You are so completly honest in your struggle, that I am shame bound to not do a better job. Thank you for your widsom that I take with me. I cry with you... I pray with you... and am here as I said before to do anything you all might need.
I have left my number before I am on the ready. Love to you this day.

The Johnson's said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brenda See said...

I am one you do not know,but you have allowed me to know you and I am stunned by the beauty of your writing. You have such an imaginative, vivid writing style and I have been blessed by every thought. I am especially grateful for the quote from John Donne that I had long forgotten, but it used to be one of my favorite things to think about, how no man is an island and that what happens to others happens to me.

I didn't really know Katherine though I know Jason through FBC. I know her now, and all the things people say about her have made me love her faith and her spirit and her purity. I care about what happens to her and Jason and James.

I am writing this because you say it encourages you to read these posts. I want to encourage you the way you have encouraged me from the depths of your sorrow. You have caused me to cry with you and to hope with you. You have allowed all of us who pray with you to know you, and you, Kim, cannot imagine the blessing and uplifting we get from that, and from reading all the posts here and at caringbridge.

I think you may know what De Colores means. May you see the many colors of God's love in the messages of your unknown friends and sisters in Christ. He is truly binding us together in a way we haven't known before now.

I was not going to memorize Romans 8 because it seemed too daunting. Then they wrote those songs and it seemed easier. I am now working on verses 11-14. I lift my cup to Katherine as I drink in those verses, and thank her for pursuing Jesus, and for what her leadership even in her weakness has done for my life and for others.

May God bless you and your family, Kim.

Ginny Evans said...

I am one of those you do not know, but as many miles away as I am from you, Katherine and your family, I pray for you all, cry with you, rejoice with you for progress Katherine makes and daily send out your reports to hundreds of prayer warriors throughout the country who pray with you, cry with you and rejoice with you daily in the progress Katherine has made and is continuing to make. I am so grateful that God has allowed us to be a part of this process with you and join in prayer petitions for Katherine's wholeness. You have an inner strength that is something we all are learning so much from. Your honesty and your down to earth way of expressing your feelings is so real. I, for one, am also amazed at the beauty of your writing and I thank you for baring your soul the way you do. In the depth of what I am sure is the hardest time of your life, you shine forth with a sincerity and strength and light that can only come from knowing God in the most real way any of us can. Thank you Kim for being "Whose You Are" and for sharing Katherine and your family with all of us and allowing us to be a part of your pain and your joy.......Joy comes in the morning and it will come again for Katherine!!!!!

candycarrillo said...

Though I really didn't know Katherine very well until we were setting up for the wedding gifts' table, and at some of her parties, of course I knew about her from you. You DO have mothers that cry for her and for you, both in your moments of grief and great joy, as another hurdle is leaped. You are our Sisters -in-Christ, and we WILL "Bear ye one another's burdens", not just at the beginning of the event that started this, but throughout the entire recovery process. I would be happy to come out and "spell you" if you need me. I hope you know that by now. You have proven over and over again how true friends act when their friends are in need, no matter what the need. That's why, even though the miles separate us since I've left Athens, we can get together and it seems as if we were just sitting in Church together yesterday. That's what true friends do.
I was reading a devotional on the CrossWalk site that tied in so perfectly with your situation.

Lysa TerKeurst: "Deep Grief"
"You turned my wailing into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy."
Psalm 30:11
I'll cut it short.A different kind of loss, but very profoundly sad. Her baby sister had died. She described temporary panic like that which accompanies fear of loss of material things.
Then sometimes, "A loss cut into your heart so viciously that it forever redefines who you are and how you think. It's what I call "deep grief". It stains against everything you've ever believed-you wonder how the promises that seemed so real on those thin Bible pages could bear the weight of today's sadness". People come to your side, for awhile. "Then the deep grief wrapped around you makes your throat feel strangled and our feet stuck in mud". This is deep grief. Even when you know hope is still there, it takes time and wading through an ocean of tears. "It takes prayer- to stop asking questions and ask for perspective. Things that could only come about when Divine hope intersected with a broken world". You can smile and not feel guilty. The rest of us can pray unceasingly for the time it will take you to shed your deep grief and dance once more.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God". 2 Corinthians 1:2-4
I Love You, Candy

Kristen said...

Hi..I don't know you either, but I can see your heart and faith through your writing. Wow. You write beautifully and truly are an encouragement to me. I rejoice in the improvements in Katherine. I hope it is ok that I put your blog on my blogroll as I like to check in often. I will take it off if you prefer.
In His love, Kristen
brain aneuyrsm ruptured 2/24/08

Jessica Billings said...

You truly are cared for by numerous people around the world - as a mother I can sympathize, but also as a daughter... I can't imagine my mother having to go through what you are. and I can't imagine being in Katherine's situation, being a young mother like myself... I've never been away from my daughter for one night... my heart aches for Katherine and for the pain she surely is feeling - not the physical, but like you recently mentioned, the heart wrenching emotional pain that she is experiencing. I was so glad to read that took her first step! What an amazing improvement...God has brought her so far. I can't wait to continue to hear about all that God is doing in your family's and Katherine's lives as He leads you all through this difficult journey.

Denise Beazley said...

Kim . .I am one of the many friends of friends of your daughter -- was so blessed by her talk last year at the women's retreat -- and have prayed for her from the first day, and for you as well, though we haven't met. I suspect that there are more of us on our knees for you, and for Katherine, than you'll ever know! I originally read your blog to find out what Katherine's status was -- if you want to really know what's happening, ask mom -- and I have been profoundly moved by your writing. Katherine's journey, and yours, is an incredible one. I fully believe that she will walk to tell us her story . . .. and your journaling of all of this is a priceless part of the history of this miracle. We will all continue to pray, for Katherine, and for each member of her family, for your hands and heart as you write. Love to you!

Amy said...

While I don't know Katharine, I was friends with Jason back in 8th and 9th grade at Baldwin Jr. High School.

I learned about Katharine through others who know her, and I have kept up with your blogs for the past week or so. And it fills my eyes with tears and my heart with hope to read about her defying the odds each and every day. God has a huge purpose for her in this life, and He is the only one in control of what happens to her from here on out. And He is there for you always.

I continue to pray for Katharine's healing and that you, Jason, and both her family and his continue to feel God's loving and comforting arms around you from tragedy to triumph.

--Amy Roberson

J & K said...

I just wanted to thank you for sharing this post. Thank you for being transparent...God worked on my heart in a special way through this post this week as my husband and I faced an overwhelming and fearful situation with our unborn son. We did receive good news in regards to our little one's health, and while we are not entirely out of the woods, we have a great amount of hope that things will be alright. At my weakest moment last week, while everything was still very scary and unknown, I was reading your blog...and the caring bridge site, praying for your family...and realizing in new ways how precious and fragile life is as it rests in the hands of our Lord. I know that I can't compare my situation to yours as they are vastly different, but I am just SOOOOO thankful for what you wrote in this post, I can't really even put it into words. God spoke to me through you....I needed to trust him and surrender the life of our little baby, and your words gave me comfort and hope. So, thank you! We will continue to lift you up in prayer!

Barbara said...

Just came over in response to recommendation from Kristen. Having scrolled through a few posts I see that there is much to digest here so I will come back.
Blessings to you. I see a great faith shining through in the little that I have read so far.