Grief, Music, and Weeds

Clearing out Crud

Yesterday would have been my mom’s 74th birthday. I miss her most on her birthday, when I’m honoring her memory instead of baking her a cake.
The week had brought sadness even before her birthday: News that a dear friend had died. News that another dear friend’s brave battle against cancer appears to be all but lost. News that yet another friend would spend the day in a hospital waiting room, waiting for surgeons to confirm his worst fears about a loved one’s abdominal tumor.
Crud. It had been The Week of Crud.
Driving to work yesterday, I leaned hard on God, asking Him to carry me through the day’s challenges. A moment later, my favorite radio station played this comforting song by MercyMe. I pictured my mother, dancing for Jesus, and I smiled. Then an image of Mom doing the Hokey Pokey came to mind and I laughed out loud.

As I walked through the parking lot, I studied a stand of weeds that had grown alongside the walkway leading to our company’s front door. My boss had commented how cruddy they look, and she was right. Some of the weeds were taller than me. Apparently the gardeners never made it back to our little corner of the business park.

As the morning passed, I found myself unfocused and preoccupied. I prayed for comfort and concentration; “Lord, just let me get my head into a project and do something worthwhile here today.”

The answer surprised me: “Clear out the weeds.”

A quick trip to a nearby store yielded pruners and a pair of gloves. As I hacked down the ugly weeds, my heart lightened. Just as I was finishing up, a coworker emerged, leaving for lunch. “Sheila, this is so much better!”

She was right. It was better.

10 Hear me, Lord, and have mercy on me.
Help me, O Lord.
11 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
12 that I might sing praises to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give You thanks forever!
Psalm 30:10-12 (NLT)