Cast of Characters

She was small in stature and moved with unbelievable grace. Even at the ripe old age of six, I knew she was special. I didn’t actually want to be her…I wanted to be like her. I wanted to fly!

A brilliant thought occurred to me as I was sitting in that movie theater with my mom watching Peter Pan. To this day, my mother claims that she saw that thought wash over me and she warned me that I couldn’t fly. I never heard that. I think I tuned her out like any highly knowledgeable 6 year old would when I realized she was downplaying Tinker Bell’s aviation abilities. She was mumbling something about her being “just a character,” and I didn’t need my mom’s skepticism weighing me down. I had goals, dreams, and plans too big for my mom to understand.

I waited a couple days before enacting my plan. I was at my grandparents’ house with my sister when the opportunity presented itself. Several of the kids in the neighborhood were playing with us on the swing set in the backyard when I broached the subject of Tinker Bell. The other kids started pretending to fly by running around the yard with their arms outstretched or by laying on their bellies on a swing. They were so lame! I was embarrassed for them and their lack of adventure. Their actions were degrading to Tinker Bell and a clear indication that they did not believe in themselves. Someone had to help these people rise up!

I got everyone’s attention and announced my plan: I was going to fly just like Tinker Bell did in Peter Pan. To err on the safe side, I had my sister sprinkle some sand in my hair to mimic the pixie dust that my mentor TB had used, and then I climbed to the top of the ladder of the slide, stood up proud and tall, and leapt to my destiny . . .

I don’t remember much about the descent after I jumped off except that it landed me in the hospital with two broken bones in my left arm and a sandy scalp to boot. To this day, what really gets me . . . is that I believed! I actually BELIEVED I could fly, and I was shocked when it didn’t pan out the way I had envisioned. (Pun intended)

I started first grade in complete disbelief that things hadn’t gone according to my plan and sporting a cast on my arm that all my friends could sign.  Forty-one years later, I still can’t decide if the whole Tinker Bell incident was punishment for not heeding sound advice, the beginning of me doubting myself, or just a good old fashioned character builder.

In the weeks after Rhett’s death, I couldn’t get over the fact that my life had taken such a terrible downward spiral. Although I had always worried about losing a child, I never actually believed it would happen to me. I am still shocked by Rhett’s death and the fact that things are never going to turn out the way I had envisioned. After all, I had big goals, dreams and plans for MY life.

Since I was drowning in despair and heartbreak, I decided that I needed to find a professional counselor to talk to. That was not an easy task, and after a couple failed attempts, I gave up. Like only God can do, He connected me with an amazing woman of God who also happened to have her doctorate in grief counseling. She was a complete stranger to me, but she reached out to me via an acquaintance and asked me if I would like to meet with her at Starbucks. I agreed with some hesitation, but I followed through . . . and boy am I glad I did!

I only met with this precious woman two times, but the things she told me were of immeasurable value. I have gone back to her advice many times as I have maneuvered this path of grief.
No doubt, the most useful and important thing she told me was to “build a cast for my heart.”
I had no idea what she was talking about, so I inquired further.

She asked me what would have happened if I had been in that Polaris wreck with Rhett and had severely broken my leg. I shrugged and said that I would probably need a cast and lots of time to heal before I could walk again. She nodded . . . and slowly the words that I had just said replayed in my soul.

I did need a cast. I did need time to heal. And one day maybe there was hope that I would “walk” again. She told me that a broken heart needs even more time and care to heal than a broken bone. She also told me that like a broken bone, my broken heart would always have weak moments and ache at certain times; there was simply no way around that.

So far, she was speaking directly to my soul, and I was hanging on to every word she spoke. I understood most of what she was saying, but how would I find a cast for my heart?
That seemed unlikely and impossible.

She said I needed to ask God to help me build this cast. The purpose of the cast was to hold my shattered heart in place while it bled and tried to heal. This sounded so refreshing to me . . . like maybe the love of God and the love of my supporting cast could help hold me together and keep me from falling apart. I chose some of the people who would make up my cast, and some of them chose me. The Lord carefully handpicked a few of them for me as well. Love was the recurring theme for all of my cast members, and I am ever so grateful!

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God.” 1 John 4:7-8

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Luke 6:31

My “cast of characters” has been amazing. This cast has consisted of men, women, strangers and children from near and far who have loved me, supported me, and prayed me through the last fourteen months. My heart is by no means healed, but I am learning to lean a little less on my “cast” and more on God for strength. Eventually, I hope to be able to leap to my God-given destiny. That still seems impossible to me after losing Rhett, but God is rebuilding my character, and I will choose to trust Him and His timing.

One day, even though I cannot fly in real life, I hope that my heart can soar again. I no longer want to be like Tinker Bell; I just want to be the “Lorna” that God created me to be. I am trusting that He has goals, dreams, and plans too big for me to understand. I’m well aware that my broken heart and my own skepticism are weighing me down, but I will keep trying to BELIEVE that even after burying Rhett, I will one day FLY again because I have a God who makes all things possible.

Meet me in the confessional:

1. I am no longer a fan of Tinker Bell. I was an innocent child and I feel like that little fairy misled me, and that is unacceptable!

2. My other childhood fascination was a super hero. I spent hours spinning around in circles hoping to morph into Wonder Woman and save people . . . mostly I just wanted to be beautiful and wear a tiara. How fun would that be?
I’d like to say I only wanted to be like WW to fight evil . . . but I am trying my best to keep it real here! 😬

3. I confess that before losing Rhett, I did not understand the importance of being a “cast” member for the broken hearted. I am sure that I let many people down because I had no point of reference for comprehending or dealing with grief. I often found myself thinking “get over it already.” If you happen to be one of the people I hurt, I’m so sorry. I pray that I will be better equipped to love and serve the broken hearted in the future.

33 thoughts on “Cast of Characters

    1. I specifically thought of you when I was typing that God selected some of my cast members. Your love and experience of walking this path before me has helped hold me together. Thank you! ❤

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  1. I love you! You are destin for great things! God has a plan and I will get to watch it unfold! I’m so excited to see you fly! ♥️♥️♥️

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  2. I think you underestimate your impact. Your destiny wasn’t to be TB or WW, but look at the countless lives of children you have have nurtured, impacted and changed. Even now you continue to inspire many, and even in your own dispair, you lift up and love others. I am so sorry that your destiny is marred with the agony of losing Rhett, but you have done far greater than a flying pixie or spinning woman with a whip. You were able to soar without ever lifting off.
    P. S. I once lept off the top of a public playground, but I can’t even blame it on trying to fly. I just figured the easiest way to get down was to jump.

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  3. Your words are a balm to my soul. Thank you for giving us glimpses into your sacred space of healing. You are changing lives one word at a time.

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  4. In the last 2 weeks two friends have asked how I was coping with my son’s death. One had lost a son several years ago and still has very difficult times and said I was very strong. I told her I have my days, some tears over different things and sometimes I can talk about him without tearing up…. even though I am going about my daily life, I still have my down times…Lately looking at his FB comments, and friends comments, I sat there amidst the tears, but I am very glad for the memories…. and he will be having a birthday soon..

    The other friend lost her son several months ago and was wondering if I still have THOSE DAYS…
    I think it is ok to cry and laugh about our losses…for as long as we need to. There is no time limit…..

    Thanks so much, Lorna, for sharing with us, because when we read how others are coping, it helps us, too

    I have been reminded when people talk to me about my loss, nearly everyone has a loss that is very dear to them.

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    1. Thank you! Another thing that sweet counselor told me was that the worst kind of grief is “your grief”…meaning that everyone hurts the most over their own grief. We must help heal each other through love and prayer.

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  5. I’m confident that your heart will soar again. You will make Tinker Bell and Wonder Woman’s flying abilities seem lame! 😉 In my opinion, you have already surpassed WW’s skill set for sure! You are (and have always been) a super hero kind of friend to me! I’m grateful.
    ❤👑💫

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  6. If I ever do fly again, you can bet the farm that your love and outrageous support for me will be the wind beneath my wings.
    But…if that doesn’t work out, let’s be Catwoman and Spidergirl!!

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    1. ❤

      Oh yes! I’m open to both plans.. your heart soaring… or both of us as soaring superheroes! Hoping and believing for the first option because really I’m kind of nauseous at the thought of actual spinning and flying like a super hero.. I might not be successful.. but I would be willing to give it a whirl with you!😉

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  7. The wonderful cast encasing your heart is made up of people you don’t even know, or ever will know. But God does, and He put them there for you. Keep writing!

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  8. Powerful and impactful. Your self reflection and the narrative that accompanies it is a work of art. It’s good for the heart, good for the soul, and gives anyone who reads it restored hope and renewed faith on many levels. Keep going!

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  9. Absolutely love ❤️ You have always been a Wonder Woman friend to me! Super Hero you are! God is working and speaking to so many through your wonderful words. You are soaring already! Love you 😘

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  10. Just beautiful. A cast for your heart. I love this! ❤God definitely puts people in our lives to help carry us through the hard times. You, my dear friend, are that sweet blessing to so many in more ways than you know. Please keep writing. You are helping us all to heal. Praying your heart continues to heal and you soar again! Love you dear friend. 😘

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  11. Keep sharing your gift and your heart. You are beautiful from the inside out and it’s ok to be broken. Our perception that we must be perfect is undo stress on us as mothers, women, children of God.
    Love you ❤❤❤

    Mel

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  12. Thank you Lorna for your beautiful words! I woke up today not knowing how facing my first birthday without Hudson would be, I’ve been off of FB for lent, but gave myself a free pass today. Glad I did! Your words speak healing & hope!!

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  13. Thank you Lorna for your beautiful words! I woke up today not knowing how facing my first birthday without Hudson would be, I’ve been off of FB for lent, but gave myself a free pass today. Glad I did! Your words speak healing & hope!! So in addition to my own little cast here at home, she feel surrounded & blessed by your post! ❤

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  14. Oh my goodness! I could hardly believe my ears as I literally heard you tell the Tinker Bell story! Anyone else could tell that story, and I would have questioned their intelligence! But coming from you? Nope! Somehow seemed downright normal! Of course Lorna thought she could fly! And I would bet that everyone who watched you attempt to fly, deep down in their hearts, thought, “This girl right here just might do it!” Lifting you up is a blessing beyond measure to every single soul who is counted in your cast of characters. You do things far more amazing than flying every single day!

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  15. I loved the story of your Peter Pan and Wonder Woman adventures. I also have a Peter Pan story I will leave for another time. I loved that you were able to find a grief counselor that could help you with your grief. Grief takes time and we all move through it at our own pace. Take care and stay strong!! I know that you are a Wonder Woman and can help others that are in pain, so use you inner Wonder Woman and do good things for you and others. I love your writing and you.

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  16. Each time I read your blog, my heart is full. Your words are powerful and you are truly touching the lives of so many.

    The one about the cardinal and the snake has me chuckling. I know Rhett and Cade are laughing at this scenario for sure.

    Love you, sweet friend! You are the main character in the cast and I support you always! I look forward to each new read!

    Keep writing!

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