This morning, as I was sifting through all the morning stuff on the internet, it occurred to me that I hadn’t been here in a little while. Nothing personal, I’ve just been busy. So logging in the blogs I like to follow popped up and I saw that on one of them, she wrote about her niece’s husband dying in a car accident a couple of days ago. 3 years ago, I would have thought “oh that’s so sad” and moved on. Possibly saying a prayer for her family, but not much more.
It’s strange how life affects a person. After reading what she wrote, I dissolved. Anytime someone I know, whether in person or virtually, suffers the loss of a loved one, it throws me back 2-1/2 years and I know what they feel- for the most part. Everyone’s reaction to an extreme loss like that is little bit different, but the mental and emotional chaos that results, all that “what the hell just happened” and “God, make it stop” is something I can relate to and there is nothing quite like it. Remembering weeks and weeks of “please let this just be a dream”, of people’s sad looks and offers of help (that I rarely accepted, being all Tough and Independent and such), all those things I never thought would happen.
One of the best comforts when I was trying to wrap my head around what happened with Himself, was the presence of other people who’s been through a similar circumstance. I was told that it didn’t matter how a beloved dies- whether it’s in an instant, or over a long period of time from illness, it is still a shock, still something to wrap your mind around, and you still need people. There was a woman in our church who’d lost her husband a few years prior, and she held my hand for weeks after, constantly reassuring me that I would live through this, even when I’d forget to eat or sleep or breathe, and look what happened: I lived through it. It sucked. I cried, slept, threw things, insisted God got this all wrong and I was meant to be half of a pair of old people, started to think maybe God knew what He was doing even if I didn’t agree with it, got things worked out (for the most part) and now, even though occasionally I disagree with God about the wisdom of putting me on this path, have started to accept that this here is the path I’m on no matter how much I still hate it.
The fact is, being a widow stinks. It’s a label no one wants to have, for a club no one wants to be in. It’s sometimes very lonely, often frustrating, and in the long run, forces you to grow up in a direction you’d never anticipated. Sometimes it’s really hard to sit in church and see the older couples who’ve been together forever. I resent it. It’s not fair. (says my inner entitled self). But then, was it fair for Jesus Christ to be punished for what everyone else in the world did? To my knowledge, he only complained about that once, and only briefly. In Luke 22:42, as He was praying in the garden of Gethsemane the night before he was crucified, He said “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” . That was something I had to remind my self a LOT. I said, freqently “It is what it is”, and “God knows what He’s doing, even if I have no clue”, and Hebrew 12:1 helped me plow ahead: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”
My widow friend told me that one early on, when I was missing Himself so deeply that I couldn’t think straight. Himself is a part of that cloud, cheering me on as I blunder my way through the rest of my life. Perseverance is a necessity born out of need to live, and desire to flourish. Seriously, if the only thing good that comes out of losing Himself, is the ability to help someone else (however feebly) who’s lost their beloved, then I will have made something useful out of the event. I will never be able to say I’m glad it happened. I don’t know if I’ll ever fully be able to “Thank You God, for this path You planned out”, or quit getting dizzy and sick when I read about someone else being forced onto this road. At this point, I’m starting to be able to say “you can do this.”.