Greeting to all! Man this week has flown by its hard to believe we are up against the weekend again, but I am very grateful for it at the same time. There was nice breeze put back into our sails this week due to an overnight excursion that Ali and I got to take last weekend! Yes, we got to get out of our house and away from our crazy children for a night! It was spectacular, we knew we had a limited amount of time so we chose New Orleans as our destination because it was close. Because we were staying one night I decided to pick a nice hotel for us to stay in. When we arrived at the hotel Saturday around one in the afternoon and I ask the manager what the next room upgrade would cost me. He said, “Sir, it is already taken care of, I have put you in the nicest suite our hotel has, I have gone up and inspected the room myself, I also put a bottle of wine for you and your wife to enjoy.” I literally had to pick my chin up off the counter, I looked at him and said buddy, you don’t know how much that means to my wife and I. We got up to the room and to say the least it was phenomenal next to the bottle of wine there was a handwritten note from the manager welcoming us to the hotel and letting us know that if there was anything less than exceptional to let him know and he would take care of it. WOW! How does God take care of His children uh?
Ali and I partook of New Orleans to the fullest! It was the first time in what feels like a very long time that we just fun together. There was no schedule we had nothing to do so we laughed, we sang along with the bands, I even embarrassed myself by attempting a little Karaoke, with the emphasis being on the word attempt and an even a bigger emphasis on the word embarrassed. We woke up the next morning had breakfast at one of New Orleans local hang outs and then headed home to pick up our kids. After we pick them up, the noise of life returned quickly, but there was a difference in the air. There was a breath-ability about life again, I don’t know how long it will last but I will take it as it comes!
Well, this week made three months since our precious Cate departed this earthly life. The pain, the hurt, the tears, the snot, the anger, and the loneliness all seem so overwhelming at times that we are not sure how you will make it through the day. We all have plans of what our life will look like and we all work very hard to design our lives, our futures, our marriages, our children, our friendships in order to move us in the direction of that plans. When our designs get tossed out the window by this thing we call “life,” it truly puts us into a world wind of confusion, desperation, and even hopelessness. There are plans that we have, though we may never say them out loud, the “in case of emergency” plans, the how we will react plan, what we will do plan, the who will be there plan, the who will do what plan, can often get thrown out of the window because life is not always as we design it, though we think it should be and we try to buffer ourselves as much as possible in order that we may live safely within the lines of our design.
Over this past week I have been reflecting on the people who have pushed through the awkwardness of grief to be close to us, to reach out to us, to take their place in a design that was not mine and probably was not theirs, but God has surprised all of us by HIS design. I have reflected on people who we have never met who have sent cards, gifts, sweet comments, and prayers our way. On people who have left dinner on our doorstep in a Styrofoam ice chest with a pretty red bow rapped around it. People who have called to go run errands, grocery shop, take the kids for the afternoon and I stand in awe of the design that God has been orchestrating through this catastrophe we find ourselves in. To be real honest with you, I think I got so focused on my design and my emergency plan and saying, where is so and so, why aren’t they doing whatever, that I have truly failed to recognize that God has been trying His best to provide for our every need. The other night as I reflected on what “I” thought should be happening and “who” should be doing it, I truly found myself being surprised by God’s design. All the phone calls, emails, comments on the blog, cards came flooding into my mind and God just said I have been trying to provide for you all along.
So, I have decided that my design for my emergency plan may not have been the way that it was supposed to work and that once again I need to sit back and allow God to be God. I need to ask Him to make me more aware of His designs and how they are playing out in our daily life on this road we find ourselves trying to navigate. A good brother of mine has a ministry that is centered the paragraph from the Catechism of the Catholic Church number 2097. The last sentence of this paragraph says “The worship of the one God sets man free from turning in on himself from the slavery of sin and the idolatry of the World.” When we fix our eyes solely on ourselves and our designs and life doesn’t go “our” way our hearts can quickly be filled with jealousy, angry and resentment, but if we can keep our eyes on God and His designs our hearts can remain grateful, joyful, and hopeful. We ask that you pray that we may be aware of and submissive to God’s design as we continue this journey of grief and we thank all of you from the bottom of our hearts for accepting your role in God’s design for our life. May we all continue to be Surprised by Design. Much Love, The Cantrells
And by the way I met with a counselor last week and have another appointment next week thanks for the prayers and keep praying!