Dear Sister,

Before you read on…I’m considering a new series called “Dear Sister,”. I love letter writing–I believe it to be a lost art. For years, my sister and I (sometimes while living only 90 miles apart) have been writing letters to one another. Specially selected stationary, stickers–sometimes, words from the heart–always. We both find we express ourselves well in written word and have loved the idea of chronicling our journeys (literally, at times from Germany to Holland to England and figuratively through some of life’s toughest terrains).

I’d like to write to you, Dear Sister, the way I often write to my sister, Amy.

PS- Write back (leave a comment). One of the most anticipated elements of letter writing is sending the letter off and awaiting a reply.

Dear Sister,

The day is dreary and this morning gave us a surprise. I can only stomach a smoothie.

Do you know the type of day I describe?

It amazes me how much has caught us by surprise. How a manner of things we have dealt with, elements that would shock, rather than surprise, have become, somewhat, sadly, common. I still wonder when things will seem normal. But what is normal? And, “seem” never was solid. “Seem is,” synonymous with “appear to be” and “pretend.” It would appear that we can’t seem to rely on anything short of the Lord. And, I do believe that is exactly what these long years have taught us. We love. We lose. We cling. We carry. We drop. We drown. We catch our breath. We let go. We let God.

We let God be. Our mother. Our father. Our grandparent. Our husband. Our home.

Our Everything.

It is the afternoon, now. The sun has peered and peek-a-booed and decided to shy away from today. I’ve resigned to droplets of Vitamin D from the cabinet, the one above the microwave. I am embracing the moody clouds that seem to match the mood of the day. You know I’d be quite content to curl up on the couch, the old green one that doesn’t fit in the family room, with my Yorkshire tea, kitty, and a mystery. But it seems I needed to pour from my soul, rather than the kettle, Sister. I needed to solve a few things stirring in me, rather than a who-done-it-on the TV.

I haven’t solved anything. Only resolved once again to surrender what I think I need. What I feel is best. To let God, again, be my everything.

I’m listening to that song, again. The one, that undid me walking, with a childlike gait, in Aberdeen.”You always had my back . . .” (from the garden to the cross…from here and beyond!). The computer is crooning. The Spirit is comforting.

Isn’t it amazing how the Holy Spirit gets all the way under the rubble–to the crushed dust, the ash, the soot? Not a speck gets swept aside. Each piece and particle inspected and sanctioned for beauty.

It’s a bit dusty, at the moment, but I can see beauty. The ash that smears between my fingers leaves a stain of loveliness to come.

There’s a smidgen of blue, now, pushing through above the pines. It’s a baby blue. Soft like a lullaby and yet as bright as a new box of crayons. I hope you are seeing this hue above you, wherever you are today, too.

__

In yoga class, the teacher shared an analogy of letting go. “Imagine a tennis ball in your grip,” she said softly. “If I asked you to let go, it is likely that you would envision throwing the ball, tossing it, dropping it. But look at it like this: Letting go is simply loosening your grip. Uncurling your fingers. Unclenching your muscles. Relaxing your hand. Not concerning yourself with the ball. Letting the ball do what it will do. Only concern yourself with you”

Letting go must simply, then be, not holding on.

Are there things you thought you had let go of? Only to find you are still holding on? Not relaxing your hand?

I’ve been holding things that don’t even fit into my hand, Sister.

I resign again (as many agains as I must) to let God be. My mother. My father. My grandparent. My husband. My home.

My Everything.

Loads of Love,

Trina

PS- Should you wonder what smoothie I’ve doubled down on today, Here is my current favorite concoction:

Chocolate Date (Soothing Stomach) Shake

1 banana
1 Tblsp. of cacao powder
1 scoop of Vital Proteins Collagen Powder
1 scoop L-Glutamine powder
1 Medjool Date
1 tsp. honey
1 cup (ish) of coconut milk (or any nut milk)
1/2 tsp. ashwagandha (if you are feeling shook)
ice cubes to thicken (if bananas aren’t frozen)
sometimes I add in about Tblsp. of wild blueberries or a handful of spinach

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By

Responses

  • Michelle
    Commented on May 30th, 2018 at 12:02pm

    It’s the end of May… and just like the sun rises every morning, the sting of loss grips my heart. Oh how I miss her…

    Each May, I’m reminded of some part of me that will never be the same. once I imagined May as an onion.. each layer peeled brought tears and struggles.

    Our kids were so young when she went home to Jesus. Our boys were to start kindergarten that September. She almost made it to see his cheesy toothless grin.

    This year… this year our boys will begin high school. I can’t even believe I just wrote that. I WILL HAVE A HIGH SCHOOl BOY! My heart hurts thinking I watched our boys grow and now begin the journey into manhood. And she was not here…as a mother and precious friend.

    I think I have done a great job loosening my grip of the tennis ball.. most days. But when I see our boys, her husband, his NEW wife (that’s not my friend) it hurts so much that I want to run. Distance myself…. but like a body guard, I’m watching those boys.

    I used to love photography. I hD my own business. My best friend even asked me to take her family photos. She wanted pics before lost her hair again. She wasn’t sure if she would get it back the next time.

    After she passed, I put my camera away. Everything beautiful turned grey. Even after I had more kidos, I used my phone and other things.

    This weekend I finally picked it back up. I have just started reading your book and have decided to embrace beauty in the broken. Because my reality is ….it will never be the way it was. And I need to capture the beauty I’m missing in the now.

    God’s timing is perfect. A new friend just had her first son. We met for coffee last week. The doctors are not sure how long the little boys heart will last. He is 7 weeks old… I’m headed to her house now to help clean, let her nap and do what ever I can.

    As I write this, there is a tug on my heart. I think I need to bring my camera…and capture the beauty in the brokenness. Maybe his story will be one of a miracle… only God knows how this little boys story will be written.

    In the trenches
    Xoxox
    Michelle

  • Trina
    Commented on May 30th, 2018 at 12:48pm

    Dear Michelle,

    Thank you for your beautiful letter. I’m so sorry you have had to experience a brokenness like that. So close to her seeing the cheesy toothless grin. I know you were not able to experience her reaction to a gap-tooth grin, but I have a feeling she saw….she sees–from Kindergarten to High School to forever.

    Who and what we lose may vary, but loss in and of itself is felt very much the same. A sting, a slap, a gasp for breath. A memory of “what was” as well as the ache of “what should have been” arrests our attention, often at the most inconvenient of times. As you’ve experienced, the world keeps spinning, and even when we do our best to loosen our grip, there are some days it feels as if the sting returns to strangle us and we are left to peel that onion (as you beautifully described). I’ve found that it’s best to attend to the onion, to peel it down to its bottom-most layer. Maybe this is another way of letting go (as many “agains” as we must) one layer at a time. Peel and release. Peel and release.

    I hope you brought your camera, today. I know your friend will feel loved, not only for your hands that are helping with the cleaning but for your heart that is able to see beauty within the broken. I’m not sure how far you’ve read in my book…but I say that “our healed hurt is another person’s hope.” Maybe you don’t feel healed of your heart but I can tell from reading your letter that you are on the healing journey…and your friend may very well receive hope through your lens.

    Carry on, Sister, and don’t put the camera down. Beauty is an answer to our ache.

    XO.Trina

  • Michelle
    Commented on June 10th, 2018 at 11:47pm

    Dear Sister,

    Tonight I finished your book! Wow, so much good stuff! I had to take a few days on and off to digest and really reflect on your letters. Some of your thoughts brought me right back to some of my most painful deep memories. Many of which I nevigated alone. I love what you said about being alone, “turn loneliness into alone time with God….” when I had nothing left to give…grief had exhausted me, I turned to the word. God walked me through Jerimiah, Isaiah, which seems crazy to most, but in a time of great brokenness, o needed to be reminded of who God is…

    It’s one thing to read something and feel confirmed, challenged and maybe on mission. But when opportunities to apply what one has learned… now that is a challenge. I had that very oppertunity today.

    A situation happened in which someone reacted out of hurt and anger in front of many, causing division and confusion. It was really ugly. When I got home, I took a shower and my introverted self was maxed out from emotions. I shit my door, and climbed into bed… hoping to take a short nap (which would be a miracle because I too have 4 kids… lol but the ages are 5-13…) anyhow, my mind would not shut off. I had a few chapters of your book left. I decided to read it, curled up in my cozy bed, shut out from the world. After I finished, I payed there and wrestled with the thoughts of “what in the world was beautiful about what happened… during…after ect. How could I find beauty?

    As I prayed about it… I was reminded of a moment, one I was t thrilled about and didn’t understand. Which lead me to the word… and there I found the beauty in the moment.

    I want to thank you for putting words to the struggles so many of us have. I understand the spiritual attack we endure when God calls us to something. I run a non profit for teen mothers and my husband is an associate pastor to youth and families. You confirmed so many things and helped me see my struggles differently… wrestling with seeing the beauty in yesterday and today.

    Maybe someday you will be called to speak in the NW… lol… we have coffee shops on about every corner, but I know a great one

    Anyhow, I look forward to hearing about your journey and your decorating tips… just a small confession… lol I LOVE DIY

    Oh… and yes, I did bring my camera…and I’m so thankful I did ❤️

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