How long is your Saturday?

I’m not asking how much you can accomplish on your first day of the weekend. How many chores or ball games. How much work or play you can squeeze into your day off.  This Saturday is the dark space between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Between death and new life. Between reality as you knew it but can never experience again, and life as it will be.

Saturday is the place of death, of tears and loss and emptiness. Where hope does not glimmer around the edges. Nothing is like you thought it would be. Everything has come to a standstill.

How do you live through that long Saturday?

How do you climb through to glistening morning dew, faces you don’t recognize, but quicken your heart? A life you never planned to live?

We don’t get there by pretending it’s not dark.

That life before Friday didn’t matter all that much.

That it doesn’t hurt now.

Hollering in the graveyard may make small boys feel brave, but it can’t wake the dead.

And it won’t wake us.

We must wait. Live in the Saturday. Even if that living is slow motion, muted, arduous.

caterpillar under leaf
caterpillar under leaf

Until the sun rises.

I know some who have taken up residence in their Saturday. That’s no place to dwell.  If that is you, please, take my hand and walk with me toward the sunrise.

Leave your chrysalis and stretch out your wings.

butterfly on flower
butterfly on flower

Wait for the deeper reality, flowing through and behind.


Monarch Butterfly
Monarch Butterfly
butterfly in flight
butterfly in flight

When the time is right, we will fly.


“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God’s Decree.“I’ll turn things around for you. I’ll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you”—God’s Decree—“bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it.” Jeremiah 29:11-14 The Message



All photos property of Jack H Thompson

Content of this blog is property of Jane Foard Thompson and may only be shared in its entirety, with attribution.

Needing a taste of heaven

a taste of heaven
Mom singing
Grief is a strange bedfellow. One moment I’m hugging a family member and celebrating the knowledge that my mother is now free from the prison of her mind and failing body. The next, I’m struck with longing for one more chance to spend an afternoon with her, even with her dementia-tortured mind.

It’s the little things that tear me up.

I pass the ice cream shop where I took her the last time we went out, my grandson grinning across the table as they smacked their lips over sundaes. She loved being with family, and was crazy about ice cream. Why didn’t I take her more often?

I leave an appointment and cringe at the “right turn only” sign at the end of the parking lot, the road leading to Mom’s place. Instead, I head the other way, aching over the number of times I turned that way, when I could have gone to see her.

There was so much more I could have done to make her last year better.

But I didn’t know it was her last year, her last month, my last chance to love on her.

So what do I do with my tears? The heavy weight of “if only” and “I wish I had…”?

My brain says she is happy now, so much better off with Jesus.

But I am here and cannot stretch to heaven.

My heart sleeps with grief, walks with loss, and aches with the hole torn asunder by her death.

So I cry.


And even before I blot those tears, my brother calls. Love soothes through the air waves, tender encouragement, and even chuckles when he says, if she could, Mom would scold me for feeling badly. He says I did enough. Time to let go.

To recall the last time we were alone, hugging her and praying with her and singing, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day.”

It was fairly easy this past month, surrounded by loved ones. We are family. We share relationship and the thread woven through our lives by that unforgettable lady.

Now that we’ve gone home, “back to normal” life, I limp along, alone.

But not alone. That’s pity-party stuff.

My husband’s hug, my brother’s call, a sweet text from my daughter, a blog post from a dear cyber sister, Healing, like grief, comes in waves remind me that we are meant to connect, to share our hearts, and to reach out.

Hell is isolation, going it alone.

I believe God created us to need each other, to live connected.

To reach out to each other when we need a hand, to offer a hand, and when the moment arises, to share a taste of heaven.

But when I come to the end of it all, there is only one place for my soul to find rest.

This side of the curtain, I taste a bit of heaven when I splay my soul before my Lord in worship.

Since music touches me where thoughts don’t walk, I love many songs. But this is without a doubt my favorite modern one. I leave myself, my “should-a , would-a, could-a” self behind, and listen to the angels cry, His Glory Appears.

I’m sure my Mom is singing that now.

And because of the faith she shared with me, I sing, and I look forward to the day when we’ll sing it together, with all the angels and archangels and all the company of heaven.

We are all wonderfully unique. When you are down, what do you seek?

Where do you go for a touch of heaven?

Until the sun rises with healing on its wings

As I sort through my mother’s boxes, filled with letters, notes and cards, old announcements and playbills and church bulletins, I see a thread of grace running through the piles. As I shared right after her death, the watershed moment was my brother’s funeral, when Psalm 27 was read, specifically the last verses.

I am certain that I will see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord.

Psalm 27:13-14

For me, the life changer was a few months after Mac died, when I stayed with my mother’s mother in NJ. A woman of deep faith who prayed for me every day from the time I was born until she took her last breath, Grandmom took me to Ocean City Baptist Church every Sunday and weekday, morning and night.

There, in the midst of her faith and prayers, I responded to the mysterious call of God on my life.

Many months later, when I was baptized in Christ Church, Oswego, NY, though no physical signs or emotions marked that event, I see now that my life was never the same again. I received a means of grace, the physical overlapping with the heavenly.

winding road NC mountain © Jack H Thompson
winding road NC mountain © Jack H Thompson

Thus began a long, circuitous journey. Many times I eased toward the light, and other times I stumbled in the darkness, but with a sense that, no matter what, the sun would rise with healing on its wings.

Now, still in that alternative reality that comes from experiencing the slow death of a dear loved one, so much of what I usually spend time and energy on seems just a shadow. Dark images on the wall, created by hands in front of a light. Tiny, one-dimensional signposts pointing to reality.

Everyday actions and objects have taken on greater meaning, become symbols mediating a deeper reality.

We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment.

Col 1:15-18

At this writing, I am in the Smokey Mountains.

Maggie Valley, NC © Jack H Thompson
Maggie Valley, NC © Jack H Thompson

The great vistas speak strongly of a great Creator. Wildflowers, colored leaves, even lichens on tree bark tell of His creativity and imagination.

wildflower © Jack H Thompson
wildflower © Jack H Thompson
white wildflowers
white wildflowers
tree bark © Jack H Thompson
tree bark © Jack H Thompson

yellow wildflowers © Jack H Thompson
yellow wildflowers © Jack H Thompson

As the pain of a homeless man wrings my heart as we must wring His, feeling our pain, even when self-inflicted, a curly-headed girl dancing in front of the restaurant speaks of His delight in his children.

And each new day assures me that the sun rises with healing on its wings.