Monday, January 26, 2009

Famous Last Words

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)

It’s with some trepidation that I write this week’s column. There’s just no easy way to say this: After five and a half years, I’ve decided to discontinue my Reflections column. I may still submit a poem now and then or a periodic story about someone else’s interesting life, but in my heart I feel it’s time for a change.

I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing my thoughts, poems, and faith, along with the lessons learned from all the ups and downs of our lives, with all of you. As you know, I love to write, so writing will always be a big part of my life. I simply desire to free up some time and space in my brain to branch out into new and different areas of self expression.

My friend Kat includes the following inspirational quote with every email she sends:

"If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes."
~ Andrew Carnegie

I have many more thoughts, ideas, and stories to share – more dreams and goals to achieve – and with God’s help, I will have the opportunity to do just that.

I will always be grateful to Joann Kahnt for taking a chance on this housewife and mom. I know she probably lost a few subscriptions as a result of giving me space in The Prairie Post, but hopefully she picked up a few, too. Thank you, Joann, for allowing me to share my fears, dreams and memories from days long past and recent. Thank you for helping me work through unexpected setbacks, illnesses and deaths of loved ones. Thank you for allowing me to share the joys of new daughters-in-law and grandbabies. You have helped me process the journey of life. Through this column, I have found the courage to take chances and risk public ridicule. I have learned that I have a right to my own thoughts and opinions – regardless of whether anyone else agrees with me. In the process, I have found my way to the real me – not the person I wanted everyone to think I was, but my true self, with all my faults and imperfections. I have become comfortable in my own skin. I’ve been vulnerable and real in hopes that others would know that they are not alone. If there’s one thing I know for certain, it’s that none of us has arrived; we are all a work in progress.

Thank you also to everyone who has read my column over the years, and especially to those who have offered positive feedback and encouragement. I will miss you. And please remember that God loves you and Jesus died for you. He will forgive anything you have ever done if you will only ask. Then you can look forward to an eternity in Heaven where there will be no more sorrow or pain or tears.

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” ~ John 14:1-3 (NKJV)

He Who Believes

By Eileen Umbehr

I have a friend
Who lost her son
In a tragic way
At age twenty-one
"Do you believe in Heaven?"
I asked her one day
She shook her head no
Then turned away.
"What do you believe happens
When we die?”
"I think that's the end,"
Was her reply.
I said, "When I lost my mother
Seven years ago this May
It brought me great comfort
To know I'd see her one day."
"If you believe that is true
You surprise me," she said.
"It just makes people feel better
To think that in their head."
“Well, I know the Bible says
That he who believes
Jesus is the Son of God
Will live eternally.”
So my friend and I
Will agree to disagree
But I'll keep on praying,
That one day, she'll believe.
Then maybe someday,
We’ll meet again in the sky
Where we'll continue our visits
In the sweet by and by.

“Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” ~ John 11:25,26

In closing, I’d like to share a poem I wrote in 2004, shortly after I began writing my Reflections:

Unknown Reader

By Eileen Umbehr

Unknown reader

Who are you?

You who read my deepest contemplations

All my joys and sorrows

You know me, but I don’t know you.

No matter.

I don’t have to meet you to know

You laugh.

You cry.

You bleed.

Just like me.

Unknown reader.

You are my friend.

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.”
~ Numbers 6:24-26