Thursday, December 11, 2008

Snowmen Chalkboards

Greetings to all. Wow, it has been a long time, I know. The months immediately following Cate’s death were very slow, painfully slow at times. Our weekends were not committed to anything or anyone just because we could not make commitments. Well, as we have begun to make our re-entry back into society our calendars and lives have filled up rather quickly. It has been nice though to have “stuff” to do and to interact with other families. I feel as though I have been in a place of progress, moving forward, not moving on, simply moving forward and in a good way. I found that I had not been crying as much, yet still missing her. I truly believe having my counselor to work through these issues has been very helpful.

Before I get started with what I want to share with you all today I want to tell you a funny story. Living here in South Louisiana our winters are mild. We will get a few cold days here and there but rarely see snow. I remember growing up it snowed once when I was eight or nine and there was only enough snow to make a pathetic snowman about two feet tall and that took every flake of snow that had landed in our yard. Well, we had a strong cold front come though two nights ago with a lot of precipitation. Last night the weatherman they said that there would be a possibility that we would have some flurrys in the early morning hours before sunrise but nothing would stick because the ground was too warm. Around five o’clock this morning my phone starting beeping like crazy with text messages. It was friends and neighbors sending me messages to tell me that it was snowing. My first thought is WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE! and then I quickly fell back asleep.

Well, when Dude and I rolled out of bed a little after six thirty and I looked out the bedroom window and sure enough it was still snowing. There was snow on the ground and snow on the rooftops. As Dude and I stumbled our way downstairs I told him that it was snowing outside he quickly slide down my arms, ran to the front door and pulled the curtain back. He stood at the door just staring out at the white world that he had never seen before. I told him that if they wanted him and Ella could put there shoes on and go in the backyard to see the snow. They started screaming as they franticly ran around the house looking for their shoes. They located their shoes, half way put them on, and headed for the backdoor with lighting quick speed and in a single motion that I couldn’t stop Dude ripped his diaper off threw it on the kitchen floor and ran out the back door into the snow covered yard. As I watch my half naked son and my beautiful daughter experience snow for the first time I knew that it would be a good day. Boys, what do you do with them???

Now, on to why I write today after a long hiatus from writing. Over the past few weeks I have noticed a regression in my feelings about Cate’s death. I feel like we had been moving in such a positive direction for quite sometime but over the past few weeks I feel like I have been taking three steps back. I find myself sad more often and missing her almost every minute of everyday. As Christmas quickly approaches as Christians we find ourselves in the season of Advent, a time of expectant waiting. Unlike the season of Lent where we take an active role in offering sacrifices, Advent is simply a time of waiting. I think that is exactly where my heart is right now, it is in a time of waiting. I am waiting for the pain to subside, I am waiting to find the new “normal” that we are now beginning to get glimpses of, I am waiting on the day when Cate will be reunited with our family and we will be whole again.

Waiting, it is such a hard thing to do when we desire something so much isn’t it? As Christmas gets closer Ali keeps asking me what I want for Christmas and honestly there is nothing that I want that anyone can buy. What I want cannot be bought, it must be given and there is only one person who can give it to me. What I want does not come in a pretty box with pretty paper and it does not come all at once. It is a big gift that comes in many small and often inconspicuous packages over time.

As I read the readings from daily Mass the other day it talked about the gentleness of our God. All I keep hearing in my heart was, “Charlie, be gentle with yourself, I am being gentle with you.” In a culture of cell phones, drive thrus, and microwaves, waiting is not something that we do very well and gentle waiting is not even in our vocabulary at times. Gentle Waiting is what I want for Christmas. I want to gently wait as my wife and children’s hearts mend and I want to gently wait as my own heart mends. Just as the Jewish people waited and longed for their Messiah, I too wait and long for my Messiah’s healing touch. There was nothing they could do to make Him come any quicker and there is nothing I can do to make this come any quicker. There was already a plan in place, a plan that God knew from the beginning of time. I know that He has a plan already in place for me and my family, the question is will I gently wait on Him? It is so difficult not find comfort in the things of this world but instead to say, Lord, I know your word is true. I know that you will be faithful to your people and I WILL wait on You.

Unlike the snowman chalkboard that hangs in our kitchen counting down the days till Christmas there is no chalkboard counting down the days until healing, wouldn’t that be nice? All of us are waiting on something, whether it is healing with our parents, reconciliation with our spouses or children, the healing of past hurts from friends, the healing from the death of a loved one, or the healing of our 401K, just a little economic humor for you. We all find ourselves in our own personal Advent. We all find ourselves waiting just as the Jewish people did over 2000 years ago. The question is how will we wait? Will we wait with an eager gentleness or will we grow weary and simply give up and give in. I want to choose to wait with that eager gentleness but I need help. I ask that as the holidays grow closer and we prepare to celebrate them minus one, that you, our many, who Cate has brought into our lives pray for our family, that we continue to gently wait on the healing touch of our loving God and as we wait on that special gift, that we be gentle with ourselves and each other as our God is gentle with us.

Much Love,
The Cantrells

22 comments:

Jolene said...

Charlie,
I know God is working on you. Your writing seems to have changed from sadness to an acceptance of some sort. I love that y'all are on a forward progression. We should all be moving forward toward's God anyway. God bless you and Ali, Dude and Ella during this Holy time. Y'all will remain in my prayers.
Love to all,
Jolene

midwestmom3 said...

Our family is still praying for yours everyday.
We wish you joy and peace this Christmas and pray that you feel God's arms around you through your days.
The Andersons

Anonymous said...

Lovely story as always...I am so glad that you share them with us. Y'all are still in our prayers.

Love and prayers,
Christie, Jason, and Leon Noel

PS--For the record, WE WERE NINE last time it snowed! Wasn't it awesome?

Anonymous said...

still praying every day...will keep praying every day...your prayers are our prayers...we love you all and are especially lifting you up this season

the bermans

Landreneau Family said...

Praying for you every single day...

And it was on February 5th-7th, 1988, that it last snowed. My ninth birthday was on the 8th, so I'll always remember it.

Aimee

Bonnie said...

Charlie,
That was beautiful. It was so good to read your blog again. We will continue to pray for you and your family during this holy season. We to enjoyed the snow, our six yr. old son was a bit disappointed that he did not see a snowflake falling like the ones on Frosty the snowman. God Bless
Bonnie

Crystal said...

HEY CHARLIE,

SO GLAD TO SEE YOU WRITING AGAIN. I PRAY THAT YOUR HEART WILL HEAL. AND I HOPE THAT YOU AND YOUR FAMILY HAVE A GREAT CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY. AND OF COURSE A HAPPY NEW YEAR. I WAS SO GLAD TO SEE YOU GUYS FOR THE PARADE WITH SUCH SMILING FACES. I HOPE YOU HAD FUN!!!


GOD BLESS
CRYSTAL

Lila Lambert said...

Keeping the vigil with all of you...waiting....with eyes and hands lifted up in prayer, supplication and thanksgiving that we have Him to turn to. Knowing that when all else fails, we are HELD, it's His promise...

Sherrie David said...

It was awesome and refreshing to hear from you again. Like I said yesterday you guys were on my mind and in as always in my prayers. I was a little worried about you when we hadn't heard from you in awhile. I am relieved to know things are well. And by the way I have the Santa Chalkboard...LOL
The Davids

Anonymous said...

Charlie,
Somehow God always pulls me to your blog within two days after you post and just when my heart needs it the most. Our family continues to pray for you and ya'll are always in my quiet prayer that is sung in my heart all day every day. Your words are beautiful and this world is blessed to have you in it. Merry Christmas from my family to yours. God Bless, with much love and many prayers. YSIC,Melanie

Anonymous said...

still praying for your precious family each and every day...

Anonymous said...

We will wait with you as long as you need, Charlie. We love you all so much and, although selfishly we want to be a physical part of your lives socially...we realize that we have to wait as well. Continuing to pray....Jane W

Julie said...

Charlie & Allie,
You are in my prayers daily. I have not forgotten you. My prayer is for you to feel our Father's arms around you and for you to have strength and courage, along with peace. God bless you at this time of the year.
Love,
Julie

Anonymous said...

Charlie and Ali,very glad to read your blog again.As I sit here with color in my hair,(he he)thinking of your family,I know that God is working on your healing...Praying for you all..Have a very Merry Christmas! Kim Hebert:-)

Lila Lambert said...

"When the One you've entrusted with your family allows one of them to be taken, it would be easy to stop trusting, serving, and pointing others to Him; but you remain steadfast, trusting in Our Lord"...

Claire said...

Finally had time to sit down and read this one! So glad I did...love yall and miss yall...still praying for you everyday.

maureen said...

... still miss her too........

Tara said...

Thanks Charlie... I find I am waiting a lot, rather impatiently. Thanks for the gently reminder. Praying that you will have a blessed Advent and for continued healing in your hearts. Love you guys-Tara

Anonymous said...

we've missed your notes, and like so many things, this was worth waiting for! charlie, i know your heart aches and it is perfectly normal and expected, but i love reading your notes and seeing the guy who so many years ago was my mentor and protector (upon bens request) in mexico, and how God is making him more and more of a man daily..we love you guys...we join our hearts with you this day and always as we wait upon the Lord!

blessings!
maria

Anonymous said...

I was going through my email and found one that Marin had sent me about your daughter. I wanted to check the blog to see what had happened with her and I was saddened to see that she had passed. My own family has been dealing with several difficulties all at once and for some reason, it seems that more people I know have also had a bad year. I don't know if it's a sign of the times or what is happening. Reading your latest blog, though, makes me realize that we do need to hold strong to our faith now more than ever. And you were so eloquent when talking about praying for the grace of waiting for the stillness to come. You reminded me to wait for God's Plan to play out and to face this time with anticipation rather than apathy. May God comfort and bless you and your family this Christmas Season. He is definitely working through you.

Shalomi George-Zieser
Clovis, NM

Lila Lambert said...

Isn't it just like God to show us the true "miracle" of life in the closing chapters of scripture: "There shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain" (Rev. 21:4) In our deepest desires He proves that all darkness, disease, and death will be overcome...May the spirit of Christ reign in our hearts at Christmas and through the coming year!!!

Anonymous said...

Charlie and family,
How my family and I have missed your writing...you are such a gifted writer. I pray for you all every single day of my life. You are always on my heart. I loved the Christmas card!! Such a cute idea! You are such a wonderful family and I gain such strength from you all. Merry Christmas Cantrells...you are truly a gift to all of us who are honored to know you.
Love, Stephanie Johnson