Tuesday, November 15, 2011 – Tender Mercies

It was unexpected
It was overwhelming

I had put in a full day at the office, and had spent hours that evening finishing the second to the last chapter for the book I am writing on the transformation of Algodao de Jandaira, Brazil.

PJ’s on, ready for bed… later than I had hoped, but I was relieved to have finished another chapter. The crunch is on to finish this before I go to Brazil in December. I want to take copies with me… this is their story, God’s story, and they have been asking about it. I have faced unnumbered obstacles.

I had washed my face, the warm water felt good. I was drying my face with a towel when the words came at me out of the blue, “Look in the mirror. What do you see?”

The Lord surely knew that if He had given me time, I probably would have answered with some less than kind remarks about the man I would see in the mirror. I’m actually pretty good at not thinking much of myself. That’s one of the things that used to irritate Marilou so much. She used to say she could never figure out how I could not see the good in myself. She was my biggest supporter… well, here on earth anyway.

I am sure the Lord knew what He could expect to hear if He gave me the chance, but before I could even lower the towel from my face, He gave the answer to His own question.
Again, the words came strong and clear, “I see a faithful man.”

It broke me.

The love and the mercy in His voice, those simple words were more than I could have imagined.
I walked over and flopped onto the bed, and just began to bawl. “I want to be, I want to be.” was the only response I could utter as I took a breath between sobs. It has always been the cry of my heart to be found faithful to my precious Lord, and now for Him to say this, so unexpectedly, was mercy that was overwhelming to me. I could not stop sobbing and saying, “I want to be.”

He is now more than ever before my all in all. My companion of nearly forty years is gone, and now, essentially, it is He and I. So for Him to speak to me those five grace filled words was more than I could ever have imagined.

It was a special gift to me out of His tender mercies, at a time when I needed to hear them. They were  more than I deserved, but they were healing for me to hear.

Thank you, Abba, for this unexpected, and overwhelming gift of your favor that you have poured out upon me by your tender mercies. I pray it might be a continuing motivation to always walk close to you, and be faithful to your call upon my life. I will, by your grace and mercy, seek to be a faithful man.

… till next time

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November 9, 2011 – "Daddy and me"

How should I start this? 

The past week has been a whirlwind — I left last Wednesday for Santa Fe, New Mexico to teach our Journey to Transformation, “Beginner’s Course.” It was a wonderful time, the Lord touched each heart in special ways. The all day Saturday teaching took a toll on my voice and I caught a cold in that process. Got home on Sunday night and then began this three day marathon with the VA. Monday was my VA intake exam and from that the Dr. was so concerned about my left eye that he sent me to the emergency room where I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening. Tuesday it was another hours drive to an eye specialist, and then today I spent all day at the VA in Seattle. Outcome, I have cataracts, but also something the Dr. called “afferent pupillary defect.” I go back next week to see a optical neurologist. That consult before I can have my cataract surgery. Which because of my travels will probably not happen till next year.

That all might paint a bleak picture, but you know something? There is something that is even far greater that puts it all in perspective. I can’t tell you when it started, but somehow in the midst of all of this, within the loss of my dear, precious Marilou…I am experiencing the deepest and richest love relationship with my Abba, Father God that is beyond description. Somehow, I can’t say exactly when, but somehow I began to just cry out to “Daddy.” And as I did, the floodgates of love burst open from me, and from HIM, and it’s like He is closer to me than ever, ever before. And when I get on my knees and cry, “Daddy,” it’s like I melt in His presence. Even today, driving in to Seattle, and driving home from the VA clinic with all the traffic (you may not know how much I hate traffic), it was a wonderful time of sharing our love, one for another. He is my close companion, more than ever. My sense of His presence is keen, and I am so wonderfully open in my conversation with Him. I am flooded even as I write this with the waves of His overwhelming love and grace for me. The other day I asked Him what He wanted to say to me, and I heard, “Isaiah 43.” Which says, But now, this is what the Lord says – he who created you, o Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel; ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

Daddy and  me. It’s more precious and tender and deep and overwhelming than I could possibly describe. Into that place of emptyness, my Daddy stepped, and He is kind and tender, and we love each other more and more each day. I still miss her. But now, I just ask Daddy to tell her for me, then I cry, and then we walk some more together. I still cry, I still grieve, I still get my pillow and my sheets all wet with tears and snot, but I don’t do that alone. Yea, I know, I never was alone. But it’s just closer now, with Him.

A few years ago, I asked the Lord to teach me how to walk with Him in the way that Jesus did, always aware, always listening, in the Father’s presence at all times in an intimate way. Somehow, now… that is taking on a new dimension. Thank you, Daddy, Abba… I love you too.

… till next time

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Thursday, November 3, 2011 – "Traveling Alone"

Today was two months since Marilou passed away. There are so many terms you can you for that. “Passed Away” is one. Left, Died (but in the Lord she only started living!!). But two months, it does not seem possible that it has been that long… it does not seem possible that it is only two months. Either one is right…because I feel both at the same time. It seems like a long time in a way. Life has moved forward…kind of… and yet it seems like I remember those last moments like they were yesterday. That moment when my index finger felt the last beat of her heart, and I said to everyone around the bed, “that’s it, she’s gone.” or whatever I said….gets all blurry.

This is also a “First.” It is the first trip I have taken since she left.  I think I actually felt that more yesterday, my day of travel. It’s the first trip I have taken where I didn’t have her to call, and let her know how things are going, let her know that I got here OK. As I was walking through the airport, I had no one to call, and say, I made it. And perhaps the biggest thing that hit me yesterday as I flew into Albuquerque, was that I didn’t have her back home praying for me.   I knew I could always know she was praying.  It was one of those security things that I just kind of, sad to say, took for granted. I mean, I could always rely on the fact that I knew she was praying, and she knew how to pray for me. I missed that a whole lot yesterday as I was traveling.

 Today was the two month anniversary – two months! The kids were so wonderful. Esther texted me, saying she was thinking of me, and Carol emailed saying that she was wearing one of Marilou’s neckaces. And told me that Jonathan prays often for me. That meant a whole lot to me. (oops, it’s the teary eyes again)

It wasn’t as bad as I thought today. I am here in Santa Fe to teach our Journey to Transformation Beginner’s Course, so I had a nice tour of Santa Fe today and then the afternoon of writing, and three hours of teaching tonight. So my day was filled. Esther and Tony and I decided that it was probably better for me than being home in that empty house today. I did have a crying time last night, in the apartment where I am staying, I just knelt down at the couch, and as I began to pray, I just told Abba, Father how much I missed her, and asked Him to tell her that I really, really miss her. That’s enough to get me going every time. The tears continue to flow in rivers, I get everything wet with tears and snot. Right now, even just calling out as I pray, and say “Abba, Daddy…” That’s enough to get me bawling.

Two months, on the road now traveling alone. Another paving stone on this new pathway I am walking. Traveling is a part of the ministry, I like it ok, but it will never quite be the same anymore.  Next month at the three months anniversary, I will be arriving in Brasil, and will honor her desire to scatter her ashes in those places where we prayed and met the Lord. But it will not be the same. I’ll be traveling without my  partner, my soul mate, my wife. It will never be quite the same. But, life goes on, I must go on. Adjust as I must, and seeking how to walk through this Land of Firsts.

… till next time

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October 29, 2011 – "Conflicting Realities"

“Conflicting Realities” – That’s about the only term that I can come up with to try to describe what has been racing through my mind and heart these past days. They are like parallel universes that I am supposed to be living in all at the same time.

Loss – No matter how anybody puts it, the reality of the sense of loss is everywhere. Every part of life reflects this sense of  loss. The simplest things are constantly overshadowed by the reality that the one that I should be sharing this with, or talking to about this is no longer there. It’s kind of like the character in the Charlie Brown cartoons who always had this cloud hanging over his head. That is about as close as I can get to trying to describe it. It’s not something I “wish” to have there. It’s not even something I “intend” to have there… it’s just THERE! I get to the point where I wish that cloud would just go away, but it doesn’t. It’s not that I “conjure up” this cloud over me…but from the time I wake up in the morning until I lay myself down again alone at night, this reality of loss is with me.  I don’t know if you ever get over that. I suppose it is just like a ill-fitting pair of shoes,  you get used to them hurting, and just keep walking. The “gaping hole” that I described at an earlier time… I suppose it’s always a hole. I just have to learn to live with this hole in my side. I am reminded of it every day. I see a couple walk into the store together and I remember. I get mail addressed to her… the insurance salesman comes to the door to talk to her about medicare…. OH MY GOD!!  I really was nice to him… he had no idea, until I told him. I thought I let him ease out of the situation nicely. But it’s just another reminder of what I don’t have anymore.

Life – The other reality that I have to live in, is that life just keeps on going. Days start, work demands, people live, days end and life goes on. At this point in the journey, it is still a bit difficult for me to keep up with the pace of things. I still feel like I’m going in slow motion. My mind is clouded and my thinking processes are not as fast, so when some “issue” comes up, I am not able to handle it like I used to. That happened this week. Something that I probably could have at least handled more easily, became a virtual knock out punch. Life goes on, but my ability to deal with the other issues of life are weakened.
There’s another part of this “reality” of life that is hard to describe. I feel like, by now, everyone is really tired of all of this and they just secretly wish I’d get over it and move on. HA! That’s how I feel!! I am tired of my living in all of this, and I wish I would just get over it and move on!!!  But I’m trying to figure out how I can live successfully in these parallel realities. Life just goes on whether I’m ready to keep up or not.

 Lessons – I’m not sure how else to name this third reality I’m supposed to be living in. It’s related to what I just said. Somehow, I am supposed to, and I want to… learn “valuable life lessons” from all of this. It almost makes me laugh to say it. Like the real “spiritual” thing to do is to develop from this time, some great, deep and insightful things to share with others.  Now, don’t get me wrong. I actually really want to learn from the things that the Lord wants to teach me. I actually started doing a study from Scripture of what kind of man the Lord would want me to be as I walk ahead with Him. So, I want to learn, I want to grow, I want that perhaps some of these things could be a help to others. It’s just that right now, I feel like it’s way too early,. Today was seven weeks since Marilou died… right here in our house…forty-nine short days ago, she slipped out of this reality, and from my life, and that may seem a long time to some folks, and it’s kind of hard for me to grasp, but maybe, just maybe I’m not ready for any deep spiritual lessons. Maybe I’m still trying to figure out what the questions are!

So here I am… trying to live in these parallel universes of reality. How am I doing? I think I’m doing OK. For someone who is straddling three mutually exclusive, yet intertwined universes. Figure that one out! I suppose given the fact that I wrote all of this without my eyes welling up and overflowing with tears is a good sign. I guess.

…till next time.


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October 22, 2011 – "Bigger Things"

It was an interesting night tonight… One of those “encounter” kind of things.

The day was great. Esther and Tony came over, we had lunch together and walked Steve the dog… yea, their dog’s name is Steve…. then we came home and had some hot chocolate together, and they went home. I am so very, very glad they are close… it would be a lot harder if I didn’t have any family around here. I can’t imagine how that would be

Evening came and I have been trying to make it a habit of attending the Saturday evening worship with the folks of Monroe Community Chapel. Then I can be free to visit with the other churches on Sunday mornings. I like having the “bigger” family of God in the city.

Pastor Scott McClure has been preaching on our seeking after the Father’s heart. At the end of the message he challenged us to surrender to Christ. And it was like the “raindrops keep falling from my eyes” theme all over again. The Lord was speaking so clearly to me in  all of His gentleness, grace and love… “Steve, you have to surrender to me  your wondering why.” It was the theme of the GriefShare group on Wednesday, and now here it was again. Only now, with infinite mercy, the Lord was asking me if I would surrender to him that great big lump in my chest… the thing that makes me cry out in agony more than anything else… “Lord, I don’t understand what’s happened… I don’t understand!!!”

It’s not like I have been holding this against God. I’m not angry. It’s just that everything happened so fast, and whizzed by like a shot, and now I’m 42 days from the time she left. It seems to long ago, yet so fresh, so new, so unknown. There are times when I can hardly grasp that she is not here. I miss her so, very much, and now…

After the service was over, Pastor Scott must have seen I was in distress. Of course I was crying and blowing my nose through the whole closing prayer… that’s kind of a dead give-away! And then,  he asked how I’m doing. I just could not hold it back. He was very kind and prayed with me. It was a tender moment. I needed that. Thanks Pastor Scott.

There are two things here that now I’m trying to get into my “being.” First, I know I will not  have the answer to my question of why. I know that. And even in those moments when I am tearfully crying out to Him in the darkness of my alone-ness, I really don’t expect Him to tell me why. But here it was, the question, “Steve, will you surrender your ‘why’ to me?”  Yes, Lord… the best I know how, I surrender my “why’s” my “I don’t understand” to you. Help me to leave it with you.

The other thing that I was struck with this evening, even before the end of the message, and all the “why” stuff. It was like the Lord reminding me that as big as my grief may seem right now. As “in my face” as the loss is at this point in time, there is something bigger. That something bigger is…Him, His love, His plans, His will.
 It’s kind of like when you have something that is right at the end of your nose…your hand or whatever… at that moment it takes up all of your vision. You can’t see anything else except that thing that is right in your face (remember what I said earlier?) So even when the dark shadow of grief is “in my face” there are bigger things. I just need to be able to recognize that truth, count on it in the “in your face” times, and remember that His bigger things are far greater than I can imagine, if I will surrender myself to Him, His purposes, His grace, His love, into His all-knowing, all-loving hands.

The tears tonight at church, and even as I write (it’s hard to see the keyboard through the tears you know)  were not only about the surrender of the “why’s,” but was also a response to how gently and tenderly He asked me. How can I refuse you, Lord? Your love and mercy are overwhelming even in this time, and yes, I surrender to you my “why’s” and my lack of understanding. I surrender all of this to you so that you can use whatever of this you want for your… BIGGER THINGS.

And Lord… give me strength to surrender it all again…. tomorrow.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011 — "Good Days – What they look like"

Good days…

They are what we all want. But what does a good day look like from this perspective?  A good question.

My immediate answer would be to say that a good day is when you don’t break down and sob somewhere embarrassing.  A good day is when you only cry a couple times. For me the hardest time is at those dark hours before going to sleep, when the house is dark (to conserve on electricity I walk around at night with my flashlight to avoid turning on lights – crazy?) and your thoughts turn to what isn’t anymore. That’s probably the lonliest time of the day.

But, back to good days.

A good day is when you feel like you are starting to feel that you can make it like this. It’s a strange kind of realism. You sense that if you can keep pushing ahead and keep your thoughts under control, things will get better. It’s hard to describe because it’s a combination of a feeling of hope, mixed with a feeling of anticipation and at the same time a feeling of guilt. Guilt that you might not always be feeling these depths of grieve all the time. And somehow you’re supposed to. You know that’s not true, but the thinking is still there.

A good day is when you successfully manage to get everything on your shopping list and don’t start tearing up when you start to think about what she would tell you to buy. She had diabetes, so rightfully so, all our menu was built around a diabetic diet. Well no more, baby! Well, maybe without the exclamation point. It means that I learned a lot from her about how to eat healthy, and I still am trying to do that.. but I do get to treat myself once in a while.

Admittedly, a good day is one that is full of activity and busyness, so that thoughts don’t wander much. But that’s ok too. At first, it’s just so hard to focus on anything for long, so to spend a whole day when you are focusing on duties and job and activities really is a first in this Land of Firsts.

A good day is when you can sit across the desk from the gal at the bank and not get tears in your eyes as she reads the death certificate, and closes out her bank accounts. When you can sit there and make conversation with a smile on your face, and try real hard not to have a “victim” look on your face.  Don’t knock it ’till you have to try it!

A good day is when you can get through a long Saturday of doing laundry, and vacuuming and crushing to bits all those pills that she never used. Disposing of them actually in some way feels like you are throwing away a part of her. A good day is when you can remember giving her those meds without losing it because they remind you of what you lost.

A good day is when you take that bag of clothes  you were going to take to Goodwill out of your trunk and take them back inside the house, and hang  up one of her favorite t-shirts and her ball cap… just to remember…and you ONLY tear up a little.

Yea, a good day is really a matter of perspective. But the Lord says that His mercies are new every morning, so you count on that. A good day is when you are receiving more strength from the Lord than you could have imagined, and it makes you feel like, “Yea, we can do this.”

A good day is when you have those little feelings that people really do survive and even thrive in this Land of Firsts, and that with the Lord’s help you want to walk strong, and keep true to Him.

There have been some good days since my last post, and that helps realize that you can have more good days ahead.

….till later

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Friday, October 14, 2011 – I Don’t Understand!

Last night was a first… in this Land of Firsts. Wednesday and Thursday were busy days… busy at the office, busy at home trying to keep up with preparing the Journey to Transformation Beginner’s Course materials, trying to work on my book and trying to get “Thank You” cards out. Fixing meals, and keeping up with bills. Last night I even gave myself a treat, and went to DQ for a small hot fudge sunday… with extra hot fudge (That was one of her favorites!) But Thursday night… after those two busy days, as I prepared for bed, now the house dark and just the closet light on, this gigantic wave came over me. The expression was simply, “Lord, I don’t understand!” “I don’t understand, why this has happened, I don’t understand why you let this happen! You know I love you, you know I know you are good and faithful, but I don’t understand why this happened!”  And it began.

Wave after wave of weeping, and sobbing. Not the neat gentle kind… the wrenching, nose dripping, unstoppable kind that come from so deep within, you’re almost astonished at where this is coming from.

And then, the thought again… “She never said “Good bye.” “She never said anything to me.” It was that great sense of loss, that things happened so fast and she was then so consumed with the tiredness and the lack of awareness, that she never really said her “Good bye’s” to me. She never had a chance to just speak words of “Good bye,” and there was this overwhelming sense of loss from that. And so the crying out continued, on, and on…Loud enough, that behind all of it, my mind was hoping the neighbors wouldn’t hear it. Thankful that, if I had still been in the apartment, everyone would have heard!

About the time, my energy seemed to be sapped completely, and there was a lull in those waves… I would no more than catch my breath, and it would come again… great, noisy, messy, loud cries from the depth of my soul. It continued on, twenty minutes, forty minutes… over and over, they came.

It is not that my faith is being tested as such. My trust in God remains sure and firm. I am not having a crisis of faith. I know that my heavenly Father loves me, that he is good, and gracious, and loving, and will redeem all of this, but the question that screamed from deep, deep within, was simply “WHY? I DON’T UNDERSTAND!” As I lay on the bed, in the darkness, I wanted God to wake me up from this dream and bring her back from whatever vacation she is on.

This was a first. Not the wailing and crying… but last night was really the first night with such intensity that I cried myself to sleep. I know that the crying lasted a good hour, but I’m not really sure when I finally fell asleep. And when I awoke this morning, there was still that momentary sense that I need to not disturb her. But of course, she wasn’t there. What was there was this residue on my eyelids from the salty tears that had soaked my pillow and sheets the night before.

And so, another day in the Land of Firsts. Another day to try to accomplish what I can, knowing that I labor with a handicap. Trusting that my Father in heaven will be with me. He promises that he heals the broken hearted, and binds up their wounds. So, here I am, Lord. Give me strength to not have one of those fits in public, PLEASE!

Yup, it’s a land of firsts. T
I know there is a glow on the horizon, it is the glow of a new day, new experiences, new mercies, and new depths in my walk. I know I am not alone in this new land. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff comfort me. (Ps. 23: 4). Yet I walk now with a limp.

… till next time!

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011 – THERE’S A GAPING HOLE IN MY SIDE!!!

Tuesday… for some reason, today was a “weepy” day. It seems like I could hardly go an hour without the tears flowing. Kinda like that old 60’s song, “it feels like rain drops, so many rain drops. It feels like rain drops, falling from my eye-eyes, fallin from my eyes.”

Some days seem to be like that. Yesterday I made it most of the day, except in the evening, writing “Thank You” cards. Today? All day it’s been feelin like rain drops, fallin from my eyes. Twice now I have described it this way: Now, more than ever before I understand what the Lord means when he says that in marriage, “the two shall become one flesh.” There are dimensions of that not many people talk about the other side of the grave. On the living side… we say it, but we don’t know the depths of that truth. And now? I HAVE A GAPING HOLE IN MY SIDE!  OH, it’s not a neat, clean surgical cut of some extremity, oh no! This is like someone stuck his hand in your gut and just ripped it all out, leaving all the jagged edges, and bones, and blood vessels and nerve endings all just hanging there. And then of course, your supposed to walk around like everything is ok. Can’t they see it? It’s horrid, it’s aweful, and painful, and it all just hangs there. Sorry to be so graphic…well, not really. You’re reading this, you might as well know it the way it is. I’m not going to try to sugar-coat it.

People talk about triggers. You want to know some of my triggers lately?
Worship! Yea that’s a trigger… I’m in church, in worship, and I begin to think, and to wonder what it’s like for her there, in His Presence… what kind of joy she must have. How her face must just beam with adoration. How her longings to be with Him are fulfilled now. And I have a connection there. I’m glad for her, but it’s hard on this side.

Another trigger – clouds... yea clouds. The beautiful clouds that fill the sky here in Washington, and then I think how we would be driving together and both of us commenting on how we love the clouds…then it starts raining… hey, what’s that salty water doing in my mouth?

Grocery shopping... I almost didn’t go into the Albertson’s tonight to do my shopping. Those rain drops were showing up again. Remembering going together up and down the isles, a chore we did most of the time together. Ha! now it takes me half the time and one third the bucks, but what I wouldn’t  trade to have it back the way it was.

Triggers… they are those loose nerve endings that are still dangling from this gaping wound in  my side. Now, imagine trying to go about your regular work and routine with such a gaping hole in your side… now you know why I might be a bit slow, or not be keeping up, or not “with it” like I used to be… don’t you see this hole in my side?

Oh, yea…. sorry, you can’t see it… probably from the outside, I look pretty normal… eyes are a little red, but I’m looking to everyone else like a fairly normal guy.  Except for this massive, open wound.

Oh well, I have to go put the groceries away, and finish that sermon for Sunday on “Patience, waiting for the return of Christ…”  Oh,oh… there comes the rain again. Have to work on the book tonight too, then finish up for the “Renewal of Vows” for Friday night… yup, life goes on.. gaping hole and all…

…till next time…

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Friday, October 7, 2011 – Questions

How do I even begin to describe today?

Where did all those sore muscles come from last night? I could barely sleep for the pain, and it hurt to just move. I discovered last night, that the water heater was leaking and needed to be replaced. So no shower this morning as I pulled myself out of bed and got ready to drive to Mt. Vernon for my first VA Medical appointment. I think this will work out OK. Then I got back just in time to make arrangements for the replacement water heater to be installed to the tune of $1,049.00. Great! How long will it take me to pay that one off?

How long does this mish-mash of emotions go on? One moment I am saying to myself, “OK, we are not going to be the victim here, time to get it together and move forward!” The next moment, wondering how long I’ve been in this “fog?”  I know this journey gets easier with time, but how much time will I need? What does “moving on” look like? How long will it seem like the whole world is just whirring in front of me, and I’m living in slow motion? I WANT to get  control of my life, but why does it seem so hard? Things that were so easy before, now seem to take so much extra energy.

Esther, through her work, made some wonderful “Thank You” cards. They came today. So now I can begin to send “Thank You’s” to so many wonderful friends… And to be honest, even that is a mixed blessing. It is so over-whelming to think of all those who sent cards and checks and notes. There is the challenge of trying to know how to even say, “Thanks.”  Then there is the reality (and please don’t take this the wrong way) that most everyone else is now just going on about “life.”  An it should be that way. That’s part of the cycle, I guess.

Then there was the task of bagging up all those beautiful flowers that are now wilting and need to be thrown out… another reminder of the truth of Scripture that our life is like the grass that grows up, then withers and dies. Another step in “moving on” I guess. Anybody need some vases?

Then, there was that reminder today that the Lord really is watching out for me. A friend from Romania called on Skype. Said that I had been on  his mind for some weeks, and then he talked with a mutual friend and heard from them about Marilou. His wife has been battling health issues for years. My eyes were so full of tears at how wonderful it was that the Spirit of God would touch him to pray for me half-way around the world, when he had so clue what was going on. Even writing of it now brings tears to my eyes.

And so, things move on… I want to move on, I don’t want to be “stuck” here. And I suppose I am not really “stuck,” that all of this is indeed part of the “moving on.” I know that Marilou would want me to “flourish” and grow in this new stage of my life. I want to as well. And I know the Lord wants that. But there are still a lot of questions, a lot of “unknowns” that hang in the air like a thick fog sometimes.

Am I depressed? No, I don’t think so, I think this is just grieving, and there  is no shortcut. I wish there was, but there isn’t. “Even though I walk through the dark valley of death, because you are with me, I fear no harm. Your rod and your staff give me courage.” Ps. 23 4, God’s Word version. Yes, Lord… Your rod and your staff give me courage. And so, despite the questions, You and I will walk through this valley together. And you know the reason there is a shadow in this dark valley? Because there is light on the other side. I say, “YES” to you, Lord. P.S. You did see that water heater bill didn’t you? (and we both chuckle together).

Heading out to prayer meeting tonight. It will be good to be with friends.

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Wednesday, October 5, — Some Good Firsts

Today was actually a mixture of whirring thoughts and emotions. Have you ever seen one of those commericals, or scenes from a movie where the person is standing still, and everything around them is going by in a blur? That’s what it has been feeling like lately. Part of the reason for that is that everyone else has now gotten back to life as usual, the usual pace and things to do, the usual demands and expectations for productivity…. and yet in my own existence, I feel like I am standing still watching it all go whirring around me. And then again… for me in this new land… what IS productivity?.

Now, that does not mean that there are not good things. How I appreciated the prayers of the pastors of Monroe as we met this morning, and they prayed for me. It was the first meeting where I have joined them as a group at their twice a month meeting.

It was a good time at the “GriefShare” meeting today. Our topic today was “when your spouse dies.” But it was a good time.

It was a productive day, and that is a first in this new land. It was productive at the office. It was productive at home as I read over the edited edition of my coming book, and made some progress on some home projects.
It might be hard for you to understand if I tell you that even though there were many times during the day when my eyes filled with tears, it was a good and productive day.

It was a day when I again felt like I wanted to find who the “New Me” will be in this Land of Firsts.” I’ve had some ideas, but there was a little tinge of excitement in my to find out what that might look like. I fought off the tinge of guilt, that tried to creep in to say I should not feel excitement about that… somehow I’m supposed to stay moody and sad. HA!!!  How Marilou would be mad at that one!! I have that picture of her with the whisk in her hand!!!

So, today was a good day… Maybe the “first” pretty positive day in a while. So, knowing I am on this roller coaster… I’ll take this good day, thank the Lord for those who helped to make it a good day, and head for bed thanking the Lord…

That in this Land of Firsts…. this was a pretty good day!  And that makes me smile.  Hey another little first!

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