About this Blog

The purpose of this blog is to encourage your personal, daily walk with Jesus Christ, by seeing Him through the eyes of Mark Rodriguez. Updates will be made regularly so please subscribe. Most posts are taken from Mark's private journals or written by his mother unless otherwise noted.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Nutella Pancakes and a side of Sadness...

You would think I would know how to do “this” since I have been the subject of terribly bad news before. But I don’t. I’m winging it just like all of you. The “this” I am talking about is how to handle someone else’s very, very bad news while living my fairly normal day.

When you have experienced something horrible happening (spouse leaving, bad diagnosis, or death of a child) you wonder how life can go on for other people. How can the sun even rise and set? The shock you have experienced on an individual level certainly can be felt around the world, right?  You can feel the world tilting and you know it will never be the same. 

I remember when my Great-Aunt Dorothy called.  She had never called before so I knew the minute I heard her voice something had happened to my grandfather.  Instinctively I walked to the large window that overlooked a beautiful blooming dogwood tree.  I knew that when I heard the news that he had died, I needed to attach the memory to something beautiful. 

The sun does dare to rise and set, and the holidays refuse to get cancelled and the pantry does get empty and life invites you to engage.  And what choice is there, really?  My favorite alternative is to curl up in bed, which is why I got a puppy so that I can’t. 

So I was having a morning recently where I did engage with my life. Joy was present this particular Saturday morning. I had promised the kids we would experiment with nutella pancakes so I was pulling up my facebook to see the “how-to” post.

Then I saw the news. A far away friend had lost her daughter the night before. It was sudden and with no warning. I thought it was a mistake. But multiple posts from reliable people verified the awful truth. 

I had this surreal moment, that on a similar Saturday months before, someone else had been looking up a recipe and instead ended up reading about our loss. Someone had found out about Mark’s death the way I was finding out about this sweet girl’s passing. I was reading about it, not living it.

Being the receiver of the information rather than the subject made me think, “What do I do now? How can I possibly make these nutella pancakes? How can I enjoy my kids eating them? How can we ever even consider eating nutella again in light of this horrible news?”  Nothing felt right and I stood frozen in front of the computer and the hot griddle, listening to the tears sizzle. 

I don’t know if there is a right thing to do, but I made the decision that morning to make, savor and delight in the eating of the nutella pancakes. I made that decision because for that moment I had three sleepy headed children waiting expectantly and I don’t know how long I will have them.  I don’t say that in a fearful way, it is just the truth. 

I felt extreme sadness on behalf of my friend and what I knew she would be facing, but in a weird way, because of her loss, I felt even more fully the beauty of the chocolate all over my children’s faces. It isn’t fair how that happens, but I do think it brings meaning to something so incredibly sad. It honors the beauty of the life that has been lost because we live that moment “extra.” Fully experienced and appreciated.  Not in a thoughtless, insensitive way, but with the greatest care. 

When the inevitable pain in life comes, we can’t help but long for heaven.  But until the day of our own last breath we can seek beauty in the sadness, even it is means there are tears in the pancakes.  

Psalm 27:13 "I remain confident of this; I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."

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