Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you will come often. It is my hope that these stories and reflections will be helpful in your spiritual journey. I look forward to your thoughts, questions, or suggestions. Please leave your comments and join as a follower so I will know you were here. It is a privilege to share the journey with you.

If you wish to know more about me, spiritual direction or retreats visit my website. www.bunnycox.com. Blessings, Bunny

*See first posting in January, 2011 to learn why this blog is called "From the Big Red Chair."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hope in the Wilderness - Part 2

Continued from Part 1:
“Tears crept into the stillness as raw and real as first-loss. . . My eyes fell upon a verse in the middle of the page. I gasped. The words seemed meant for me. Tears came once again, but they were tears of gratitude, not of sorrow. I had discovered why I had come.” 

On a retreat years earlier only weeks after Tara's death, in the garden at Grace Church near Montgomery, I was blessed by the presence of Christ, by Tara, and by loved ones lost, and I stumbled upon a grave marker etched with the resurrection promise, “Your daughter lives.”* Now, the words of Jesus leapt from the pages of Matthew, Chapter 9, to assure me my beloved daughter and the love between us exists for eternity:

“Why all the commotion and weeping? The child is not dead: she’s only asleep.” 

How could I have missed the signs of grace that surrounded me: A butterfly tapped into tin reminding me of Tara’s words, “through the cocoon of the tomb Jesus took flight and gave us life everlasting;"** The chance occurrence of choosing a room with a name and number pointing to the words of Christ to comfort a mother's broken heart? 

Quietly, like a deer slips through the forest, a whisper, soft and gentle, entered the silence. 

“Will you let me come in? Come into your life? Into your heart?”

Darkness broke open to reveal the place within me where grief stood sentinel, forbidding entrance,  lest opening to love might wound again.

Grief is like a terrible fire—consuming, devastating--but when the time is right, when the question is posed, if we choose life rather than destruction, if we say yes to love rather than despair, the fire becomes a creative force.  What remains when it passes is purest silver wrought by the hand of God through faithfulness and unconditional love.  Yet, it is always important to remember--though redeemed by grace--the silver never forgets the flame.

Soon my retreat would end. The crackle of the Advent fire and the shuffle of silent footsteps would no longer be heard. I supposed I might become weary of the quiet over time, but in the moments remaining I vowed to savor the last drops of its sweetness. On that night, in a place named Dayspring, during a retreat called “Hope in the Wilderness,” I experienced the miracle of rebirth. A stone of resistance rolled away, love walked in, and from the cocoon of the tomb of grief, my heart, at long last, took flight. 


"And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper."~1 King 10:12 

"Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."~Isaiah 43:19

"When love awakens in your life, in the night of your heart, it is like dawn breaking within you. . .When love awakens in your life, it is like a rebirth, a new beginning."~John O'Donahue

-What signs of grace surround me?
-How would I answer the question, "Will you let me come in?" 
-Is there a hidden place of resistance within me?
-What are my thoughts about this statement: "If we choose life, rather than destruction, if we say yes to love rather than despair, the fire becomes a creative force."
-Has there been a time in my life when I experienced "rebirth?" If so, what happened?

Precious Lord, may the sufferings of your children lead to healing, wisdom, renewed appreciation for life, compassion for others, deepened faith, and the knowledge of your ever-present faithfulness. Give me eyes to see the surprises of your grace. May I give thanks for faith renewed, hope restored, and may the fruit of these gifts be used for the consolation of others. Amen  

*"Gift in the Garden, Part 1 and 2"~From the Big Red Chair, October 20 & October 27, 2011
**"The Greatest Gift"~From the Big Red Chair, April 21, 2011

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