When I started this blog soon after Les’ death, it was to share my journey toward healing and wholeness, but also to share the life lessons God is teaching me along the way. For quite a few years now, I have make it a part of my daily life to ask God to reveal His hand at work around me and to teach me how to be more like His Son Jesus. Sometimes, those lessons are hard. None of us like to see the ugly sides of ourselves, do we? Some of the lessons have been very personal, only for my growth. But sometimes, God has shown me things that apply to all of us on some level.
Recently, I’ve had something on my mind, but I have written about it because I’m not sure how it might be received. It was laid over on a shelf in my mind, not to be disturbed, but it just won’t leave me alone!!! It keeps reminding me of its presence just like those cookies in the cupboard that call my name every time I walk by. Let me say this as clearly as I can: this lesson is for ME as much as it is for you. This is absolutely not a finger-pointing post. A lesson God taught me some time back is that I can’t be critical of others when I am just as guilty of the same offense. SOOOO, I am simply sharing this lesson for the good of ALL OF US. Are we all clear on that???????
The week before Les went to be with Jesus, our home was bombarded by friends and loved ones who came to see him for the last time and to just let us know of their love for us. Honestly, we had a week of “wake” before he even died. The visits and food meant so much to us. Les’ graveside service was attended by around 100 people who stood around us as we said our good-byes with remembrances, scripture, prayers and singing. That night, over 350 people filled the church and shared in our celebration of life service for Les. It was an anointed time of fellowship that honored both God and Les. I cherish everyone that came. Les was truly loved.
Six months later, I find myself struggling with the ups and downs of grief. These past two weeks have been extremely hard for some reason. Thursday was 1 year since Mama died and perhaps that has affected me more than I realize. A friend shared this with me just today. (Hope you don’t mind, Susan) ” Someone just told me last weekend that their grief has felt like the waves at the beach. You can get in the water and it’s as calm as can be, then a huge wave comes out of nowhere and it hits you down so hard you can hardly get up again. Then it calms down again, then BAM, another wave hits and this time you can hardly catch your breath. ” This really does describe how I feel.
Where am I going with all this? Well, here goes. We are just not here for one another!!!!! (Remember, I’m including myself in this.) Since Les’ services, I find myself alone a lot. Now sometimes that is by choice, but not much. I’ve heard other people make bitter remarks wondering where their friends are in these type of situations. I am so determined not to allow a root of bitterness over any feelings that rear their ugly heads at me that I have people specifically praying for this. However, let me say that I can see how easy it would be to become bitter and hurt. A little “root” emerges when you’re home alone on another Saturday night because it is assumed you have something to do. “Pop.” Another little “root” struggles to grow when your phone rarely rings. “Pop, pop.” Your “friends” haven’t shown up at your door since the funeral. Now, I can only tell you what’s happening to me, but I bet my experience isn’t much different than others who are hurting in some manner. The huge support system I was so sure I had can actually be counted on 1 hand. It is hard to find your place after your spouse dies. Nothing is the same. Things you did together (church, eating out, etc) are now different. None of us knows, unless we ask, how a person is truly handling their difficulties. We should never assume things are a certain way, because they probably aren’t.
Being on this side of grief has opened my eyes to how we let one another down. We get busy with our own lives and although we don’t plan it, we forget to make that call, invite that person to dinner, or to just show up at their door to spend some time loving up on them. It’s not intentional, it’s just life as we’ve come to live it. How about taking the time to check on that person God lays on your heart. Even on His way to the cross, Jesus took time to reach out to those around Him. Isn’t that what He’d have us to do?
I hope you read this with the love with which it was written. I don’t want this to be about me, but about US being the hands and feet and voice of Jesus. Excuse me, but I have to go make a couple of past-due phone calls!
Lots of love, Sharon