Grace for the Journey

In my post last week, “41st Anniversary: Not What I Expected” I shared the news that my life has greatly changed, that my husband and I have separated. Since then, I’ve been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from my family, friends, and readers. This time in my life has reminded me of the shock of having breast cancer, struggling down that path of loss– stepping through the grief, and realizing God’s provision for my needs each moment, each day.

In the post, “Manna,” I recalled how I received support to help me along that difficult journey of cancer. Months before I was diagnosed, I’d read in Exodus Chapter 16 how the Israelites traveling on their wilderness journey had received manna, ‘bread from heaven’ on a daily basis. It was just enough nourishment to sustain them each day. During my cancer wilderness I received encouragement through cards, calls, and meals that helped me deal with long days of appointments, feeling sick after chemo, and fear about the future.

IMG_1680

Path I walked at Artcroft in Kentucky, July ’16

Since telling others what is going on in my life, I’ve received manna; this time in the same forms as when I had cancer but expanded by my contacts now, nineteen years later. They’ve included Facebook messages, Twitter direct messages and tweets, record number comments on my blog post, and text messages.

Last week, my schedule was filled with support. There were dinners with friends, cousins, and my sister, and two of those meals were accompanied by thunderstorms that seemed to be the soundtrack for my life. One night while I walked, I had a long conversation with a family member. My friend who was in our wedding, called me from her vacation in St. Lucia.

There have been parts of all of my conversations that have stayed with me and I’ve had to work through– some with thorns of regret and recognition of truths I hadn’t seen. These interactions have been both supportive and exhausting. I’ve found rest in silence, avoiding the sound of my television or computer, choosing to sit and watch nature and listen to chirping birds and dogs barking in the distance.

The silence has reminded me of my solo journey to Kentucky three years ago. There I stayed for for a two-week writer’s residency at Artcroft in the countryside. Since I was the only participant, I had that house to myself; there was no television, no wifi. At first I had the impulse to go home because I didn’t think I could stand the silence. Eventually, I learned to live into that space, renewed by the solitude and silence.

IMG_1684

My two-week home

On my walks at Artcroft in the cool of the early morning and at dusk, I collected the abundant thistle to make an arrangement for the kitchen table. I purchased garden shears to cut the thorny stems. I loved the form and pinkish-purple blooms.

IMG_1626

This past Thursday, after my friend treated me to lunch and her listening ears, I stopped in Whole Foods and stood in front of the flowers, absorbing the color of the blooms. The bouquet that caught my eye was like the Kentucky thistle, surely in that same plant family. I loved the form and their heather blue. I didn’t consciously remember the arrangement on my table in Kentucky.

But looking at them now, I realize they called to me and are a reminder of the value of silence and space– the rest and renewal that was Artcroft.

IMG_3512

While this time is painful with lots of prickly thorns, there is also beauty inside of that, like the pinkish-purple of the Kentucky thistle. The time at Artcroft was very productive, giving me what I needed to rewrite my memoir, which has now been published. The days in that house of silence were part of the transition to my literal and figurative next chapter.

May it be so now.

 

Referenced Blog posts:

Manna

The Rhythm of the Day

My Memoir is Available in Paperback and Ebook at Amazon

 

11 thoughts on “Grace for the Journey

  1. Oftentimes I wonder why and what the purpose is for many of the hardships and trials we go through. I’ve come to realize that even though God is not the creator of illnesses and heartaches, as we’re going through the rough times, He prunes us and allows us to grieve so that healing can take place. As if cancer wasn’t enough, God knew that journey through grief and healing would be needed in this season. How courageous you are to minister to others through such personal stories, with gentleness and love.

    Like

    • Hey Karen,
      Thanks so much for your kind words and wise counsel. I agree that God doesn’t cause the hardships but will bring beauty from those ashes– ‘pruning’ as you say to make us more like God. Sharing my stories helps me to try to make something of beauty out of my sorrow. I do hope it brings help and comfort to others who see their struggles in my words.
      Best to you, Karen, and thanks as always for your support.
      Connie

      Like

  2. I’m ‪so glad to read that you’re getting support and finding ‬rest in silence, Connie – and that you are finding what you need for the transition to a new chapter. Your warm writing has helped you through difficult times in the past, and I’m sure it will continue to do so. Sending much love. ❤️

    Like

    • Hey Julia,
      Thanks so much for reading and sharing your response. Yes, writing is my creative outlet and you are a Fellow-Creative– so I know you understand the value of releasing your feelings through your work of art.
      I am receiving a lot of support and I’m grateful.
      Best to you and hope you’re still going down to the River Thames to enjoy the light on the water.
      Connie

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Connie. I’m so sorry to hear about your separation. I would have responded sooner but there really isn’t anything I can say to make you feel better, although I wish there was. You’ll get through this. You’re just that kind of person, strong & able. My thoughts & prayers for you & your family. I’ve been divorced twice & broke off an engagement after that & it was just as hurtful as if she had split with me. I like to think that everything happens in my best interests & that God is not finished with me yet. That helps me get through the sad times. Take care Connie. Your friend forever! Mike

    Like

    • Hey Mike,
      Thanks so much for your kind and supportive words. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers for my family. I’m sorry you’ve known this pain and hope you’re at a better place in life now.
      My morning and evening walks have helped–as always, and I believe from the pictures you post on FB, you enjoy the early morning quiet, too.
      You are my Forever Friend, our ties from Jonesboro lasting for a lifetime.
      Best to you,
      Connie

      Like

  4. Hi Connie, You write so eloquently and although I have not been a close follower of your blog, I did feel compelled to read this one. The title drew me in. Just recently I had come across a small card that you wrote to one of my sons to tell them that you would not be their Sunday school teacher anymore. It was a blessing to read it, as well as to have had your presence and touch in our lives. I am in shock to hear your news of your separation after nearly 41 years, and my heart goes out to both you and David, and your sons. You are in my thoughts and prayers, always. I would love to get together since we live so close to each other! I am looking for employment these days….still. Much love, Sandra

    Keep a song in your heart always, Sandra Stott Benavides

    On Sat, Jul 27, 2019, 16:57 Connie Rosser Riddle wrote:

    > conniesedona317 posted: “In my post last week, “41st Anniversary: Not What > I Expected” I shared the news that my life has greatly changed, that my > husband and I have separated. Since then, I’ve been overwhelmed by the > outpouring of love and support from my family, friends, and re” >

    Like

    • Hey Sandra,
      Thanks so much for reading and for your kind words of praise. I think of you and your family and I’m glad to know you live nearby. Email me at connie@connierosserriddle.com and perhaps we can find a time to meet.
      I remember the days at Evergreen with fondness as a chapter in our lives that served our family, and hopefully others, so well.
      Thanks for your prayers for all of us.
      Best to you and your family,
      Connie

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.