Keeping One’s Stay Short in the Home of the Bewildered

Dear Reader:

All day yesterday I had my mind on a special friend’s birthday coming up Thursday…I was wrapping and packaging and getting the birthday gift ready to send. I was just waiting for it to stop raining before running to the car…it was very cool, chilly morning.

By afternoon the skies were brightening…I grabbed my jacket and the package and headed out the door. I have discovered that Ace’s Hardware store is the place to mail packages…the line isn’t so long and you can get in and out in a flash.

By the time I got home the late afternoon sun was really out…the sun’s rays reflecting off pools of water throughout the yard and garden. It was a little cool but just drop-dead gorgeous… the entrance to my garden was calling me.

I checked the extended forecast…a few chilly nights but sunny days and no rain…Hallelujah…I took the sofa pillows, chairs, and decorative flags back out in the garden to put up.

Today is supposed to be near 70 so if anyone stops by…just walk around to the back yard and garden…that is where I will be…for several reasons… besides planting.

Today I need to be somewhere special to have some quiet reflective time. It is the anniversary of my brother David’s death when he was only 21. I think how gracious God has been to me, even with tricky health problems…extending my life while David’s was cut so short…actually over before it got started.

Don’t we all have lists of questions ….those profound “why” questions ready to discuss with God when it is our turn to leave?…David’s early death is certainly high up on the list…right beside daddy’s early demise and mother’s loss of her hand after losing her husband. Why God? Why?

Author Barbara Johnson calls this visiting the Home of Bewilderment. She observes:

” When you’re in pain because of a loss or because someone is driving you into the Home for the Bewildered, you think you will never be normal again.

A heavy mantle of grief may enclose you in the thick  fog of despair, but tears, talking, and time will work wonders. 

One morning you will wake up and realize suddenly you’re not thinking about your pain. You will actually be able to hear the birds sing or see a fluffy white cloud drift across the sky. 

On that day you will have a glimmer of hope and begin to realize there is something more to life than your specific problem…as terrible as it is to you. 

To put it another way, the night of grief will end and as Psalm 30:5 promises:


The intense pain will ease up. flatten out, and not be so encompassing. Scar tissue may remain from the hurt you suffer, but your deep wounds will heal.

So until tomorrow…

When someone says, “Life is hard,” ask him, “Compared with what?”

Reflection Moment:

Today is not just the anniversary (March 4) of when our family lost David…but my daughter-in-law Kaitlyn and her family lost her older sister Amanda on the same date.

Kaitlyn and I both lost our siblings…gone before their time…or perhaps more correctly…gone before our time to let them go.

I am sure, Kaitlyn, like me….has her list of questions too that she would love answered…those incredibly tough questions that always start with “Why God…Why?”

I hope both of us today can focus on the good times we spent with our siblings, not just the tough ones, and also be thankful for the time we had and the gift we were given.

Amanda and her two precious daughters… and the Swicegood family.

So until tomorrow…

This old slave spiritual still speaks to us when it asks….

” Lord, How Come Me Here?”

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh




About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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3 Responses to Keeping One’s Stay Short in the Home of the Bewildered

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    Thank you…needed to hear this today….


  2. Lynn Gamache says:

    A beautiful and comforting devotional today. At age 74 I can echo your words of encouragement and insight. My life has been hit by a number of tough times and tragic losses. Never easy. Always the questions. But I’m slowly learning to ask, “What next now, Lord” or “How can you bring beauty from these ashes of pain,, Loss. Death. Disappointment. Despair.?”
    Loved the water colour painting that you began with too…and that verse, “Joy cometh in the morning”…SO VERY TRUE!


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