Missed Anniversaries

head slap

September 18 and September 25 flew by this year.  I missed the anniversaries surrounding one of the greatest upheavals of my life.  I’m not sure how I feel about it.

The 18th was the twelfth anniversary of my friend Dave’s run from time to eternity.  As he ran around the track at our school his last stride left his body on the ground while his soul traveled onward.  Questions, tears, and efforts to comfort students and staff filled the afternoon.  We slept saddened by this sudden catastrophe and woke with it compounded by a coup d’etat progressing around us.

The 25th was the twelfth anniversary of evacuating our school, our homes, our lives.  Days before troops from both sides surrounded us and made us their shield.  On the 25th of September French troops rolled in, set up a perimeter, and started us on a long journey that would lead to a new–and at that moment–unwelcome life.

On that leaving day 12 years ago, I would’ve changed things so peace would triumph quickly and easily. I might have packed my small carry-on bag a little differently.  I would have said good-bye differently.  Back then, I would’ve turned back the hands of time.

For the last 11 years these days have sucker punched me again and again.  (You would think around the decade mark I might start to expect it!)  I missed the full impact of the punch this year.  I’m not sure why, but I have some suspicions.

This year I was in a new place with mostly new people.  On the 18th I was wrapping up my time as a speaker at a women’s retreat.  My heart was full from meeting and getting to know new people.  My body and mind were exhausted from the same things.  Saying good-byes in Belgium didn’t need to be confused with the good-byes from Cote d’Ivoire more than a decade earlier, and my brain left them very separated.  To top off this 18th, I was moving from one set of friends to another.

By the 25th, I was in Ireland exploring one of the places my DNA originated.  A quick glance at Facebook in the morning before setting out for an epic trek through Dublin reminded me of the significance of the day, but it didn’t do much more.  The punch I’d forgotten about glanced my psyche as I sipped my afternoon latte and scribbled some thoughts in my journal.  The palpable grief was gone before my scone.

Apparently I’m about as good with fleeting grief as I am with scabs.  It’s hard to leave alone. “Why was it gone so quickly?” I asked.

I wasn’t sitting in my office in Colorado missing so many people.

I love what I do and where I am/was–beautiful by-products of unchosen circumstances.

I had just spent almost two weeks with 20 people I would have never known if life had continued in Cote d’Ivoire.

I’ve experienced more profound and less shared grief in the last two years.

Healing happens.


Have you missed an anniversary you couldn’t imagine missing?  What do you think made the difference?


photo courtesy of taliesin on morguefile.com; edited at pixlr.com

4 responses to “Missed Anniversaries”

  1. Missed anniversaries…I recently heard Beth Moore say that, “Some experiences leave us with wounds. Deep wounds. But we know God is bringing us to fullness of life beyond those wounds when they start to become a scar. A wound you can see and feel and it hurts. A scar you see and touch but it doesn’t hurt. It just reminds you that something bad happened. But, God brought you through it.” I’m not sure that’s what you’re describing but I’m glad you had joy in the moments you were in on those anniversaries this year. I’m Glad your heart didn’t need to dwell. You may have years you need to dwell again but it’s a huge testament to God’s working in your life that you are healing. The wounds are becoming scars. That’s a big deal!

  2. Tirzah said it all, and beautifully. I’ve been able to listen to the story of leaving, and it brings tears every time. But I am so glad you are where you are. God is allowing you to touch so many lives all around the world. Your family is so proud of you, so grateful to have you. And you are constantly enlarging your “family,” sharing God’s love and compassion. The scars remind us of the hard moments, and remind us to trust the One who knows us best. Love you, dear friend.

  3. Tirzah! I love that! Yes!!! I’m scarring, and it’s good. Thank you for sharing Beth’s amazing words. I may have to print it out and add it to the cabinets above my desk.

    Ginger–I love you so! Thanks for being one of my biggest cheerleaders.

  4. Good news, Soul. You are healing, I think. And it’s a good thing. ‘ugs.
    This year, to my surprise, I totally missed the anniversary of Dad’s going to heaven. I only just thought of it a couple of days ago. Not sure how I feel about that either. He’s been gone four years…
    I love you.

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