Sunday, April 11, 2010

To blog or not to blog...

Since Bob's death, many people have asked me whether or not we will keep the blog going. My first reaction was to say no. Bob was a unique, gifted writer. Neither I nor the kids could continue the blog in the same gifted way. Not to mention that the amount of time Bob put into the blog would put an added stress on an already stressful situation while I assimilate the role of single parent and missing my husband/best friend/partner in ministry.

But in this last week, I've been rethinking that initial response. First of all, Bob didn't start the blog because he was a profound, provocative, pithy, and poignant writer. He simply started it to stay in contact with friends and family when we moved to West Africa. The blog became an encouragement to him as he tried to see things through the eyes of folks back home. It made him feel close to people while being far away.

I could use that feeling of closeness right now and I believe that many of you would like to stay in contact with us as well. And if it is an encouragement to me, I know it will become a priority to find the time. It probably will be therapeutic for me as I will probably spend a chunk of time processing Bob's death.

But I continue to struggle with the question of whether I'm able to write or keep people interested. And then I hear Bob's voice, "Stop apologizing. You're a good writer." He said those words to me a week and a half before he died. I had written the two blog posts while he was in Nigeria. In that first post, I gave a disclaimer for my writing. He chastised me for that on the phone that week and told me I shouldn't do that again for the second blog. So, I hear his voice encouraging me to do this. Of course, I would want to remind him that I usually edited his writings, as he did mine; posting something without his filter will make me a little nervous. [Side note - the night he came home from Nigeria, he took issue with me for the titling of that first blog, "What is Poverty". We spent about 1.5 hours that evening debating this - he said that question was akin to asking "Who is my neighbor?" in the sense that it could be viewed as a way to get out of our responsibility by trying to define it too closely. He was thinking of writing a blog on it, so I thought I'd pass that on. I will miss those daily debates but have learned to look at word choice very seriously.]

So I will try to keep the blog going - the kids promise to write now and then as well. I know that this change of writers will mean that some of you will move on - I fully expect that and it is okay. The truth is that the Reeds have been shaken violently by the Wind...but there are three of us still desiring to follow that Wind, blowing where it will.

Bliss, Michigan - Wednesday, April 7, 2010: A place by Mackinaw City where Bob spent many of his summers growing up. As a family, we spent many summers camping at Wilderness State Park and visiting Bliss. Bob's Uncle Lloyd has a place there in an open field that Bob loved. Near to this field is a batch of trees, full of birds in song. He had said to me many times that he hoped that some day we could live in one place long enough to watch a tree grow. So we decided to plant a red maple tree in that field and bury his ashes there. In this picture, Hannah, Noah, and I get to work on digging the hole for the tree, while Bob's brother Don and brother-in-law, Dave, watch while willing to give wise guidance.

A picture with the tree. Bob's mother is holding the picture; Pastor Dave is behind her, and the surrounding people are members of Bob's extended family. It seems a little odd that we are standing there with such big smiles, but Carolyn (in the burgundy coat) had a tough time getting the camera timer to work, so we had a good laugh. I think Bob would have chuckled as well.

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Chuck M said...

Renita -
I'm guessing that most of us aren't so focused on the artistic style of your writing but just want to keep informed and hear your perspective on how it's going.... even if the reality is that you're not able to do this as often.

However when you can use four "p" words in a row to describe the type of writer Bob was... we know you're a terrific writer as well. Thanks for keeping us informed!

Anonymous said...

Dear, dear Renita, Hannah and Noah~
I am so proud of you. Thank you for being willing to keep this "work of art" going. You will do a great job and we, your friends, appreciate you very much for doing it. I truly believe that some day this needs to be a book.

You come to my mind and my prayers ofen. There are so many things I'd like to share with you.... someday. As you're on this difficult journey of grief, I pray that the God of All Comfort will overwhelm you with His wonderful Peace and Love as He brings healing to you, as well as wisdom and direction.

You and Bob, Hannah and Noah have lived lives that count. Thank you. I so admire you for the wonderful work that you are involved with.

With love, hugs and prayers, lori lee

mindbodymaths said...

Thank you, Renita.

First, all three of you remain in our thoughts, through all the hard grieving and adjustment and missing.

I would so appreciate your continuing this blog, as and when you can. For me it is a connection to West Africa for however long you are there (I live in the south of the continent); and still somehow to your husband, whose ideas and views have made a lasting impression on me.

It is also a connection to a family I've come to care about, whose joint actions, and whose take on life and faith provide a valued voice and perspective.

God bless
Elizabeth in South Africa

mindbodymaths said...

And I like your writing, very much.

Unknown said...

Renita, thanks so much for this post. It ministered to me as I read it. And it brought a smile to my face imagining the dialogue on choice of words you had with Bob. You have a beautiful "voice" and like Bob said you should write and not apologize for it. More than the writing style I'm eager to share these upcoming days with you, Hannah and Noah as much I can from a distance. So no pressure to post often but your blog will definitely help us to feel connected to you as you feel connected to us. Love you so much.
Nana Yaa

Lorraine said...

I'm still reading . . . so please don't stop.

The Googeg's said...

I started reading this blog when you were in Liberia. Our family was adopting two children and it was our tie to the children we had met only in pictures. The blog made us feel a connection to a land we would not get to see, but I knew my children were there.

Now my children are with me, but the blog is a reminder of a world away -- a life they came from, that I will not likely ever know -- but one which shaped the beginnings of their lives.

As I read your post on blog or not -- I was so touched. Writing ability is certainly not your concern! Blowing in the wind is something our family discussed in our homeschool resources the other day. We talked about the resilence of palm trees, which can be blown almost down in hurricane like winds and because of their flexibility, recover.

The wind is blowin' mighty hard your way -- but you appear to be bendin' well.

God Bless you.


Anonymous said...

I have only recently started reading your blog - I believe it was the last time you came home for a visit and I was newly back to Madison, and I talked to Bob at length one Sunday evening after the service. He told me about the blog. I thought the name was awesome! Reeds in the Wind!

I have that fabulous picture of your sweet Bob up on my computer desk (the one that was on the flyers from his service at Madison). Just looking at the picture encourages me. Please don't take that wrong, God is in control of my life!

I pray that God will continue to be in control of your lives Renita, Hannah and Noah.

In Him,
Marti B.
Madison Square
Grand Rapids, MI

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for continuing this blog. There's many of us that feel so connected to your family and we want to keep hearing about how you all are doing and about your work. You have a great style of writing as well and I cried reading Hannah's and Noah's writing about their father. I think the three of you will do a great job. We pray for you often as you continue on without Bob.
Linda Pringle

Marianne Bailey said...

I think you are a very honest writer and many blog followers would love to see this continue. In the face of such loss you are back at work. I continue to uphold you all in prayer.