Monday, March 07, 2011

Being Carried By God

On February 26, I lost Ceal, my beloved wife of 18 years, to cancer. It was barely a month between the time we found out she had cancer to her final day. Through that time, she was the same cheerful, loving person I have known for the past 25 years.

I know this is a time when people can feel angry, especially at God, for taking such a beautiful person from us. While I don't pretend to know how God does things, I think I tend to believe what I have heard Lloyd Lee Wilson say, which is that God is the ultimate opportunist. That is, we don't have to blame God for bad things, or assume that God wants awful things to happen in order to accomplish a grand plan, but we can look for God working in any situation, no matter how difficult.

Through the times in the hospital and at home, Ceal and I felt the presence of God with us very strongly. Despite some awful times, Ceal kept her sweet demeanor. She seemed so at peace, especially at the end, and never seemed to show any fear of what was ahead. I remember thinking back to that "Footprints" poem where a person is looking back over their life and seeing it as footprints in the sand, and during the tough times there is only one set of footprints, and when the person asks Jesus why he wasn't there during those times, he says "That is when I carried you". We experienced what it felt like to be carried, and I know I need a lot more carrying before I can walk again on my own.


At 6:18 PM, Blogger RantWoman said...

My deepest condolences and prayers.

May you continue to feel well held as long as you need it.

The Lloyd Lee Wilson quote made me smile which, from what you have said, sounds like not a terrible memorial at all.

In the Light.

At 6:27 PM, Blogger Liz Opp said...

I have been thinking so much of you and Ceal... Of you.... Of Ceal....

I am doing my small part of helping God carry you, by carrying you and Ceal in my heart.

Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

At 6:53 PM, Blogger Heather Madrone said...

Holding you and Ceal in my heart as you make this transition.

Thank you for sharing this with us. It's a blessing to be included.

At 5:07 AM, Anonymous Marshall Massey (Iowa YM [C]) said...

My heart is with you, Mark!

At 9:38 AM, Blogger Ladybelle Fiske said...

Dear Friend,
I am so sorry to hear of your loss.
I am seeking sheet music for a version of the 23rd Psalm that a friend who has just lost her husband sang in her Quaker School in her youth. Do you know of this song, or do you have any tips on where I could find it for her?
The service is on First Day, 1 PM, so time is short.
Thanks so much.
Ladybelle Fiske (Middlebury, Vermont Friends Meeting)

At 9:56 AM, Blogger Mark Wutka said...

Thank you all so much for the support and prayers!

Ladybelle, do you have any more information about the particular version of the 23rd Psalm? I checked "Worship in Song" and the version there was from 1990. I found a Friends' Hymnal on Google Books that has a version written in 1894. If you know any distinctive wording, that's probably a good thing to search on.

At 2:34 PM, Blogger Jan said...

Mark, it is so good to read your words and know you are feeling carried by the many prayers being lifted for you. May they continue to bring you comfort and support.

At 2:57 PM, Blogger Ladybelle Fiske said...

I am holding you in the Light and thinking of you.

At 2:59 PM, Blogger Ladybelle Fiske said...

Thank you for caring about my search! I found many versions of the 23d Psalm, and sent them to my friend. I will send her the one you gave me the link for, too.
Many blessings, Mark.

At 3:49 AM, Blogger Susan J. said...

thanks so much for sharing these reflections, Mark. You've been in my thoughts & prayers, and those of Charleston (WV) Friends, who were so recently blessed by your work on early Friends and the Light.

Susan J.

At 10:39 AM, Blogger anj said...

Carried by God. What a tender expression for what you and Ceal experienced during this time. I have been touched by your honesty and your ability to state what you want and what you need. I am continuing to hold you and Ceal in my heart and mind, thinking of God carrying you both into this transition. Much love and hugs.

At 10:25 PM, Blogger Kathy Summers said...

I am so sorry you lost your wife and pray that you will continue to be carried by God. Thank you for your beautiful faith and sharings. Kathy


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