Living normally

Perhaps this has been the most difficult thing to sort out in the past few weeks since my Dad was diagnosed with cancer.  There were nights and days in the first weeks where it all felt too much to hold.

In the days when my Dad went from the ER to the Neuro unit to Mary Free Bed, we couldn’t help but wonder what life would hold now, in this new space?

My parents have made brave choices that are about living and trusting and embracing every day even with some looming unknowns. My Dad was discharged after a short rehab stay, and my parents began to grasp that there were significant changes ahead.

img_6659When I think about significant change and how that fits into our family story, this seems important to remember.  These two people were both born in the Netherlands and immigrated with their families of origin, my Dad to Canada and my Mom to New Jersey. They met as young adults, married and pursued ministry and in a short time, there were four kids in tow and then a fifth. My Mom launched a very successful career in her mid 40’s, and they are now Papa and Beppe to 16 grandchildren and have a great-grandchild arriving in September. They have buried their oldest son. They are no strangers to navigating change.

And yet big change always seems to shake the foundation just a bit. Just a few weeks back after the foundation felt shaken and shifted, my Dad said he just wanted us to all live as normally as possible. At that time I would have said impossible,

But today, as I reflect on his request to us, I have a bit of a different perspective.

For the Borgdorff bunch, living normally includes a good bit of together time. So, when my Dad was in Mary Free Bed, we packed up a cooler with Easter dinner and enjoyed a different kind of Easter dinner. There were aspects of Easter that were hard and abnormal,  but clearly, the best part of the day was when we were together enjoying a makeshift Easter dinner.

As my Dad impressed the socks off the therapists at Mary Free Bed with his progress, he was also working with Phil at Toman’s Auto Tech to get a used engine in my car. In the midst of a life-changing crazy week, that felt pretty normal.

GgCkdReyRvaE+hhS%a5v0A.jpgThis past weekend Olivia and Noah drove in from Ohio and Detroit, and we ordered pizza and met for happy hour and dinner, and we laughed a lot. It is true they came because they needed to set eyes on their Papa and Beppe, but in the end, it was filled with goodness and sweet memories, and as I think about tonight, I can confidently say, we lived normally.

Today we have 15 people gathering for Sunday dinner at my parents, and that is pretty normal as well.

This morning as the spring ice storm creates a bit of chaos on the roads, Olivia posted this, and this also feels normal. IMG_0609

And so as we now navigate new spaces, we will live as normally as possible.  I am so grateful that our normal has been shaped by being together, embracing what comes with honesty and hope and remaining engaged with our worlds.

Thank you, Dad and Mom, for teaching us that living normally doesn’t mean denying what is real nor does it mean becoming solely focused on our own circumstances. We will continue to live, each of us in our spaces and together as a family, embracing what comes with honesty and hope!

 

 

 

He’s always been faithful to me

I have a sincere appreciation for Sara Groves, and her music has often spoken deeply to my soul. She has lyrics that have made me smile, invited me to grow in my relationships and faith, reminded me of truth and brought me peace.

There is a line in one of her songs that my sister mentioned to us the other day.

The path is worn, but for us it’s new

My first thought was Sara did it again. A line that is utterly descriptive and accurate of where we are standing as a family. We often comment on how many people we know, and love have journeyed the road we have just barely set foot on, but these words say it so well. So many people have been on this worn path and yet, there is a stark reality, that for us it is new.

I would guess many of you are also walking on a worn path which is very new to you. We understand just a little of what you might be experiencing, and we know others understand a glimpse of what our hearts hold as well.

This morning as I listened to music again. I looked at my playlist for when I am searching. I am not sure there are more real words than this song…

If you are on a worn path that is new to you or just need to be encouraged, listen to this beautiful song with lyrics that say it all!

Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me
Morning by morning I wake up to find
The power and comfort of God’s hand in mine
Season by season I watch Him, amazed
In awe of the mystery of His perfect ways
All I have need of, His hand will provide
He’s always been faithful to me.
I can’t remember a trial or a pain
He did not recycle to bring me gain
I can’t remember one single regret
In serving God only, and trusting His hand
All I have need of, His hand will provide
He’s always been faithful to me.
This is my anthem, this is my song
The theme of the stories I’ve heard for so long
God has been faithful, He will be again
His loving compassion, it knows no end
All I have need of, His hand will provide
He’s always been faithful, He’s always been faithful
He’s always been faithful to me.

The gift of waiting…

I am not so good at waiting…

2012-12-31 13.57.00In 2012 when my brother died in a car accident out of state, I can vividly recall the feeling when I learned the coroner had gone home for Christmas. I could not understand how his decision to leave work meant Len’s body would not be released to the funeral home until after the holiday. It put our family in a position of waiting. We had a sense of timing in how things should unfold following a death and a little more than a week between the accident and the funeral felt like way too long.

But in the waiting, we experienced time to grieve together, remember together, sort Len’s things together and laugh and cry together. There was something sweet in the togetherness that happened in the dreaded waiting. God’s presence was real in that week through the words, love, and presence of the community that surrounds us. As I reflected back over the week of waiting in the months following the funeral, I was deeply grateful for the week of waiting, the week I dreaded was a real gift

Ten days ago my Dad suffered a seizure. I remember standing in the ER and learning he would be admitted for testing. It felt in that moment like we would have answers soon as to what was unfolding. Days came and went. I found myself battling frustration that at the end of each day we did not have new information. It has been 10 days of waiting. Tomorrow my Dad has an appointment, and our waiting will come to an end as we learn what the next steps are.

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The waiting, although frustrating in some sense, again has felt a bit like a gift.  We have had time to be together, to talk and wonder, to pray and laugh and hope, to feel the love of our “village” and to receive words of kindness and grace. This past 10 days has given us time to get used to the idea of what we may hear tomorrow and allowed us to catch our breath after the events of that Monday night only 10 days ago. We have been witness to my parent’s commitment to each other, their deep faith, their vulnerable spaces and their incredible strength. At the end of this day, as I anticipate tomorrow, I am thankful, once again for the waiting. lg6dBy46QwittwpJ1Qw6oQ

If you and I  were together as you read this, I would ask you about where you have had to wait and what have you taken from the waiting that speaks of God’s goodness and provision. I believe we all have waiting stories. It is my hope and prayer that at the end of each season of waiting, you can also name some of the goodness that was birthed in a time that initially felt like nothing good could come from it!

You’ve got a friend in me…

Q“I need a little help from my peeps” were the words that came from the third seat of the van on our ride home today from Wisconsin. Johanna had been charged with finding the Q in the alphabet game, and it didn’t take long for her to employ the help of the others in the van.

It was a sweet reminder to me that those good words extend an invitation for others to join in. Perhaps finding a Q in the alphabet game versus asking for help in life are requests of different caliber, but the reminder remains the same to me. How clear are you and I when we long for others to come alongside us and offer us some aid?

As they were searching for the Q and I was driving in Chicago traffic, I remembered this clip from YouTube by Claire and her Dad.

I want to be a person who demonstrates to others that “you have a friend in me.” I want to be a person who has a village of people who say back to me, “you have a friend in me”, so if I am asking for people to help me find a Q or needing support in a valley of life, I know that when I call out for a little help from my peeps, I will experience the goodness that true friends bring.

I encourage you to practice saying I need a little help and inviting others into your life who can offer you a hand. Ask clearly, receive graciously and celebrate God’s provision through those who support you when you stand in need of a little help from your peeps!

 

In Christ alone…

Today I was rereading a post I wrote in 2013 during Easter weekend. I read it and smile as  I remember Johanna’s proclamation of excellent news! Following the post, you will see how this same dear child, now 8.5 years old reminds me again of all that is good!

These were the words echoed often from the back seat of the Van by my 3-year-old niece as we traveled this past week….

There is just something about a 3-year-old’s voice…

Johanna in pink sunglassesThe energy, The happiness, The innocence…

Her excellent news was always about how we were almost there….

Her words were often sparked because she could see the flag on the GPS indicating our destination was close…

Almost to Missouri…Almost to the Cave…Almost to the Train ride…

 

Almost home….

I hope to carry her sweet voice in my memory for a long time to come….

I thought of it on the way home from Church last night….

As I reflected on Christ’s death, I was thankful that my faith story does not end with Jesus death on a cross….

The cross reminds me that I also  have excellent news…..

May I share it with the same energy, happiness, and innocence until I too arrive home…..♥

Easter Ressurection

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_7895.JPGToday this same child brought my eyes to the true meaning of Easter again. As we sat in Church and my mind felt full and my heart tender and my concentration short, Johanna said Aunt Trish, look, we are going to sing my favorite song.

In Christ Alone began to play, and I could feel her heart swell. The clarity of her words and the sweetness of her tone invited me to join her in the proclamation of what is true about Easter. For those few moments, my heart felt fully engaged with the beautiful truths that are echoed in this song. As I joined Johanna at this moment, I could feel the power of the resurrection. I could feel the flood of hope, I could rest in all I know to be true. The song quickly came to an end, but the truth’s remain!

Grateful tonight for the truth in these words!

There in the ground, His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave, He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His, and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

Happy Easter to one and all. It may be the end of the celebration of Easter Sunday, but we can celebrate this miracle every single day!

That beautiful scandeolus night

It has been a week that has rocked my world. On Monday I was planning for a very reflective Holy week and the day started well. And then so much went awry. My Dad had a seizure, and we met up at the Emergency Room. As we waited for some tests, we wondered if it would be a few hours, maybe an overnight admission perhaps? Then the Doc mentions his labs are good, but there is a mass in the brain. Life changed at that moment, and 5 days later we still do not understand precisely how. We are awaiting biopsy results, and today he moved from the hospital to rehab for a few days before coming home.

My admiration and love for my parents have grown significantly this week. Their ability to journey this week with deep faith, peace, and honesty has been poignant I am not sure I have the words that explain the sweetness we have experienced as a family in the difficult spaces. There has been time together, laughter, tears, prayers, and hope.

grateful.pngAnd so this morning as I put on my Grateful — Life is Good shirt I thought twice. Am I grateful in the midst of this week? I did not hesitate long, because I am grateful, even during difficult seasons. I am grateful for the presence of community, the kind words of friends, the power of prayer and the assurance of God’s presence and provision in all things.

One lesson we learned in our home was to never lose perspective to what is happening beyond our immediate reality. It has taken me time to learn to develop the art of holding what is real within my heart and keeping the bigger picture of looking out with a compassionate heart as well.

Tonight this means standing in the sacred space of Good Friday. It wasn’t a typical Good Friday for us. But it is Good Friday and no matter what is swirling in my head and heart, no matter what I fear or worry about, no matter what, on that beautiful scandalous night I/we were delivered and set free.

I will admit, my heart is aching, and my body feels the impact of a life-changing week. And yet,  I am grateful for so much but most of all, on this Easter weekend, I am thankful for that beautiful scandalous night!

 

The cost and the love…

Both of these things hang in my home. This week I hang them together.

deeply grateful

It is my favorite reminder of both the cost and the love that was demonstrated for all people in this holy week.

I don’t want this week to be like just any other week. There are opportunities for gathering at Church on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. I find those reflective, meaningful and powerful, but I also desire for my own engagement with Holy Week to be thoughtful, meaningful and compelling.

As I think about The Upper Room, The Last Supper and The Garden of Gethsemane, I think of all that was unfolding. The words of mystery, betrayal, saying goodbye, pleading with God, disappointment in friends (disciples), sorrow and surrender all come to mind. I wonder how these words resonate in your heart as you consider Jesus journey. I wonder where these words resonate in your own story?

I invite you to listen and watch this version of Were you there. The questions that are offered as the music plays can guide your heart to new and more profound spaces during this Holy Week.

 

It is my hope and prayer that as we reflect this week on God’s amazing sacrifice, love and promise, to us, His people, we will anchor our souls in profound gratitude and hope until the day He comes again.