This side of Eden we all are handicapped. Or if you prefer– challenged. Aches, pains, hurtful memories, debts, emotions louder or more muted than we know deep in our hearts they should be, anxieties about kids, finances, lack of spouses, fertility, jobs, coworkers, traffic, you name it. And if that weren’t enough, we are bombarded with lies about our bodies, our time, our resources, our value from every side.

The truest thing I read last week was from my friend Anne, mother of Isabel, in partial response to the post about her daughter.

I am numb–still hasn’t hit me that we are no longer neighbors.  I feel that I have a lake of sadness held back by a dam of tasks and the distraction of bodily pain.

Isn’t that so poetically, painfully, beautiful you need a moment.

I feel like I have a lake of sadness held back by a dam of tasks and the distraction of bodily pain.

Though I’m more a pre-griever and Anne a post-griever, I resonate.

Yes, yes, we are no longer in Eden, that much is painfully obvious. Yet, Got, in his mercy, did not cast us from the Garden without reminding us that there is a better way, the way of Eden. And you can live now, like you will live when you return to the Garden.

photo from Shelley Kiser

photo from Shelley Kiser

I love this sign! It invites us to use the ai xin tong dao, the loving channel.

You can use the normal channel, sure, but this sign reminds us that we do have some choice. It’s a trigger that we’re all handicapped and in need of the most excellent way – the loving channel.

How does the loving channel come up against a lake of sadness? Or the depth of grief? Or the agony of shame without sounding trite and Hallmarky?

One of the attributes I love about God is his complexity and made in His image, our complexities. The loving channel isn’t about just slapping a happy smile on and pretending life is rosy. In fact, that is the exact opposite of loving.

Instead, the loving channel embodies having patience with those we love. It involves being kind – a kind word, text, or prayer for the person. The loving channel is being in it for the long haul of the terrible independent three’s when “me do it!” or the frustration of wondering when a burden will be lifted and you are tired of praying over it.

The loving channel finds the lighter moments and gives them space too. On Anne’s lake of sadness, I am floating boats of happy memories. The lake wouldn’t be so large if we hadn’t meant so much to each other.

One boat is the memory of one of the first word’s Gabe learned to spell — “A*m*y.” As an active three year old I took him with me to the post office whenever I got a package. Without fail he believed the package would be for him. This is how we’ll know buddy. If it says G A B E, it’s for you. If it says A M Y, it’s for me. We practiced spelling those two words the entire taxi ride, until even the Chinese speaking driver could spell our names! Shock, shock, it was never for him. But that didn’t seem to matter. He got to ride in a car and see the outside world a bit. And return with a story of how, once again he’d gone to the post office, but the package was for A M Y.

Another boat floats the memory of Young Tommy who, in the early morning hours, ready to get out of his bed would yell …. Mom ….. Dad …. Amy. (Really, anyone, come and get me!)

Green yogurt floats by.

A treasure hunt resulting in ice cream in the garden.

Mike’s 40th birthday party and Anne laughing at my tears as we prepared for the party.

The lake of sadness is filled with a boat load of memories. Both are true. The sadness is deep and wide but so are the memories.

This is the way of the loving channel.

I love this sign! It might be one for you to print out and remember that you too can stand in line for the loving channel.

What loving channels have you been in these days?

Leave A Comment

  1. Connie Gibson August 19, 2013 at 6:51 am - Reply

    Thank you Amy for another beautiful piece!

  2. Kristi August 20, 2013 at 10:50 am - Reply

    Oh, Amy, truly beautiful! I am sure I’ll read this post more than once. I love how the lake and the boats show how sadness and happiness mingle and bring us to beautiful places. :) Thanks so much for this post.This was something I needed to “hear.”

    • Avatar photo
      Amy August 21, 2013 at 3:30 pm - Reply

      and your comment was one I needed to hear. Thanks back to you :)

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