Tuesday, January 31, 2012


"What am I doing in the meantime, Lord? Hoping, that's what I'm doing—hoping… Psalm 39:7 Msg

I had one of those moments this week- a moment when I had to starkly face and move past Peter’s home-going. There is the saying that it gets easier over time. But it doesn’t. It’s never easy. You just get more used to it and you get better at handling it. But it is never easy.

To many it won’t seem like a big deal, but it was. This week I took Peter’s 5 foot basketball hoop to my school. We donated it to the physical therapy program. The amazing therapist there worked with Peter for 6 years. Peter loved working with her and responded well to her fun and creative ways to challenge him and maintain his abilities as long as possible. Now teaching there, I see her work with other students with the same success. She will put it to good use in helping and blessing others, and I know it will make her heart smile as well in remembering Peter.

What made it a big deal was the role that basketball hoop played in Peter’s life. This was actually his second hoop. He loved the life out of his first one. Playing basketball and shooting hoops was always an integral part of life for Peter. He shot hoops with his walker as part of therapy the first time he had a mito crash and had to relearn how to stand and walk. He played with it for hours with friends, with Dad, with me, by himself. We took it outside on the patio, played with it in the family room, accidentally slam dunked it on top of ourselves in his bedroom. He and Gramma enjoyed it in a special game all their own. When mito forced him into the wheelchair, it was wheelchair basketball that brought him sanity and purpose and self esteem. When he couldn’t make the practices in Baltimore, I hopped into an extra chair and we played at home.

This was a treasured life-long part of his childhood. Like any mom we had to decide is this toy one we store in the attic because of all the memories attached? Or is this one we pass on to bless another? Every mom reading this and anyone who saw Toy Story 3 understands. But what made this harder was the reason this toy lost its usefulness. Peter didn’t outgrow his hoop. He was no longer here to use it.

After delivering the hoop to its new home, I sought out my friend on staff and cried.

This week my bible reading came from Psalms. That day as I left my friend, who graciously validated my pain, I remembered a verse that stood out to me. In pursuit of the proper perspective of life, the writer of Psalm 39 asks God to show him the number of his days, how fleeting is his life. Then in understanding of its shortness, he states, “What am I doing in the meantime, Lord? Hoping, that's what I'm doing—hoping… “ Verse 7 MSG

That needs to be the essence of our life here. Trials come. Hard times are guaranteed. But through it all we have hope when connected to Christ. In him, there is hope that no death is truly final - beauty will come from the ashes.

Psalm 42:6 NIV states, “My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you.” When the moments come, I have to remember to regain perspective. The Message paraphrase says I must “fix my eyes on God – soon I’ll be praising again.”

Friday, I had a choice. I could focus on the fact Peter was no longer here. Or I could be thankful for all Christ did in Peter’s life – through the basketball hoop, and so much more. He brought him safely home and one day we’ll be shooting hoops together again.

In some ways Peter did outgrow that basketball hoop I guess because now in heaven, healed and whole, it would be too small for him. He needs a real one now.

I’ve learned over the years the importance of validating my pain when it comes. But then I must look at it through the perspective of Christ. When my soul is downcast, I must remember God, fix my gaze on Him. For only in Him do I see reality in truth.

I know the basketball hoop won’t be the last “moment” I reface my loss. But I know that as each comes, God’s taught me the best method for handling each one. In Him there is always hope, and in hope I will live out the number of my days.

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