|Lilies along golf course|
Beloved and I moved to this neighborhood in the spring. This is my third season to see these flowers alongside a golf cart path as my car exits the community. Last week I left my car in the sales center parking lot and walked to where I could snap some pictures. If you can believe it, these lilies looked more promising from the road. When I got closer it was clear the blooms were past their prime, not as impressive as I had anticipated.
I was disappointed but also had the thought these fading blooms illustrate how I often feel these days.... trying to look my best on the outside but not feeling normal in my thoughts. This is to be expected and admitting it is healthy.
Figuring out what to do with myself as the emotions heal is a conundrum at times. Sometimes the day just seems to stretch out in front of me with nothing to do.
Well of course, there is always something to do: wipe down the kitchen counters, clean bathrooms, laundry, vacuum, dust, pull weeds. I read a lot and watch Youtube sermons by my favorite speakers. All of that is helpful to an extent.
Note: watching Hallmark is pretty much at the bottom of my list these days. The kissing is hard to take. You get it, I'm sure.
Weekends are the hardest since that's when most people break away from the daily routines and often that time is spent with families. Finding somebody to have Sunday lunch with after church got to be a real problem and became a breaking point for me.
I came to the realization that asking somebody to lunch after the church service was not realistic. People already had their plans. So then I began asking a couple of days before. One weekend I was turned down by three different people! I couldn't take it personally -- I knew they weren't disliking me. They just had other plans or did not like the type of restaurant I had suggested, or other reasons.
Eventually Blondie suggested I return to a former church where I knew for certain a family would include me in their habitual Sunday lunch plans. It's interesting what dynamics are at play in the decisions of where we choose to worship! I made the change and am glad I did.
Gifts have been sent to me during this time of grief. One of the most practical was this envelope of vintage hankies from Parakeet. They will be used, I assure you.
Back to the topic of church -- I can walk into the worship center feeling pretty good, but when the music begins, so do the waterworks. Music touches the deep, deep recesses of my soul and I absolutely cannot put a cap on the tears until the sermon begins. According to the instructions on grief, tears are helpful and should not be suppressed. (at least it's a silent process when in the company of others and the music drowns out my nose-blowing) 🥲
While my preference is often to stay at home curled up in my weighted blanket in a dark room hoping to sleep my way through this difficult season of my life, the Lord enables me to do the hard things that are helpful.
Jersey gets me out walking the neighborhood about 4 afternoons or evenings per week (depending on the heat). That is good for human interaction, exercise, and sometimes we see interesting things like this Great White Egret that accompanied us for quite a while on the grassy lawns and then decided to fly to the pinnacle of a neighbor's garage. I had to smile at that.
|our swimming pool|
This past Saturday I ventured out to our community pool. I haven't been over there since before COVID hit, and even before that, when the weather was warm. Now you need to know swimming (or even being seen in swimwear) is not my sport of choice. But the point in going over there was to get myself out of the house to enjoy fresh air, sun shine, and to read from the comfort of a lounge chair in a pair of modest shorts and a decent top.
As it turned out, I got all those benefits and met some new friends. I overheard voices talking about GriefShare, caught the name of my church and also the name of my GriefShare leader. I turned to see the source of the conversation and decided to get brave and go introduce myself.
It was a good decision. Three friendly and kind ladies welcomed me to sit with them. I learned one of them is a recent widow like myself, and the other two have had their own share of hard times along that line. Not only was that a good interaction for me, but today I met Angel-Friend for lunch. We picked up where the conversation had left off at the pool.
I'm learning that people want to help, they really do, but it is largely up to me to take the initiative, to speak up, to invite myself because others who are not hurting like me are often unaware of the depth and needs of my pain. This is a fact of life.
I am hoping my sensitivity to the hurts of others is increasing with this experience in my life. You just never know the suffering people may be enduring behind their pleasant faces. We need to be kind, gentle, patient, and good listeners. We need to let the Lord deal with any of their faults and just do our best as ambassadors of lovingkindness.
|Grandson #4 and me|
One really bright spot in my weekend was a few hours spent with Surfer Girl's family. I promise you, Grandson #4 was not taller than me five months ago at his Grandad's funeral. Life is moving forward even when I have a tendency to get stuck in my grief. Good times are ahead of me. I need to do the brave things by taking advantage of the blessings the Lord places in front of me.
One of Beloved's favorite Bible passages was Proverbs 3:5-6 where we are taught to trust in the Lord with all our heart. I am learning to take a harder look at the words, Lean not on my own understanding. In all my ways acknowledge Him and He will direct my paths, making them straight and plain.
Yes, Lord. Thank You for sticking with me through all of this. You are faithful and although progress seems painfully slow, You are with me. It's good. It is.
Until next time, grace and peace.