February . . .
. . . came in with a whisper. It's always been an eventful month in our house - a month much anticipated and lots of celebrations. I was gone most of January, arriving home on the 31st, ready for the new month. This year the month took on all sorts of new looks with the whisper, growing to yells before it ended.
The days of celebration were good and I enjoyed the happy memories they brought: the anniversary of our engagement and wedding five days later. Especially celebrated was Marty's 40th birthday. What fun it was to reflect on her life and all the joy she has given Tom and me.
Added to important events of the month are the anniversaries of Tom's death and memorial service. Those, too, were days of "celebration" as I gave thanks for the life we had together and for the beautiful, worship service that witnessed to his faith.
We will always remember February 10 as the "day of the tornado." Many lives have been turned upside down since that afternoon! Our church, Westminster Presbyterian in Hattiesburg, was heavily damaged and it will be a long time before we are "home again." For now we have been graciously offered a place for worship, Sunday School and other meetings at the Methodist church up the street. Theirs was only one of several invitations from churches in the area. People have come from both near and far to assist us. We've had people of many denominations and other faiths: Jewish and Muslim. All praise God that not one life was lost! It has been so encouraging to see the way people continue to help each other and the positive attitudes exhibited. Something I read last fall keeps coming back: "Change can be a catalyst for growth." That, coupled with some powerful words in Eugene Peterson's autobiography, has made me see "church" more clearly. We have no physical place that is ours right now, but are we any less a church? God's presence continues to be in our midst; we continue to be Christ's followers; we continue to be Westminster. My prayer is that we will be known not as the people whose church was destroyed or even the church that has been quick to help others, but that we will be known as those who show forth the life of Christ that is within us. We don't need bricks and mortar to do that. We need the Holy Spirit.
February has also been a month of wondering, where my health is concerned. The first week in January I learned that I had some sort of kidney problem and the oncologist sent me to have a workup by the urologist. All I really knew was that there was "something" pressing on my right uretha which was causing a problem. Two weeks ago I went for a renal scan which didn't identify the "somthing," but it showed that the right kidney is working at 11% and will eventually stop working and die. The good news is that the left one is fine. The question remains: is it scar tissue or is in a tumor? That brings another question: what, if antything, will be done? Tomorrow, I see the oncologist and look forward to answers that clarify. I trust that I will always be able to say with Paul that I am content in whatsoever place I find myself (very loosely translated).
So, I'm glad it's March! Spring keeps trying to come. There are daffodils on the roadsides, the fruit trees are blooming, robins are hopping all over the place, the roadside stands are advertising Louisiana strawberries and I know for a fact that crawfish season has started. One day soon, Spring will come and not look back.