|purchased at Kirklands |
earlier this year
will find good, and
blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.
Another week has gone by, reminding me of how much time has passed since Beloved was taken to Glory. I can hardly believe it's nearing eleven months and yet I have to truly marvel that things are so good for me.
the grass has not died
my sprinklers are working
bills are paid up with some to put into savings
the car's recent maintenance check was good
updates on my iPhone were successful
my physical health is very good
nobody has checked me into the Funny Farm
... listing just a few of my blessings.
I remember last November when Beloved's doctor began to hint things were not going well, I was in the yard angrily pulling weeds out of the rock bed next to the house. Hot tears were streaming down my face as the very beginning thoughts of what it might be like to go on living without my husband began to break my heart.
Shortly after that, the news seemed better, but that turned out to be what I can now label as a "false positive" report. My worst fears suddenly slammed me like a hard gut punch and I've been reeling to one extent or another ever since.
of the one who delights in Him.
But even having said that, as I review the past months, it is clear the Lord has been with me, protecting, enabling, speaking, comforting. One example is baking cookies. My GriefShare counselor told me when my mind is stuck on something that produces profuse tears, I need to busy myself with something that requires concentration. She said a walk is not the solution because one can continue to ruminate over the sadness with walking. Do something that needs focus, like baking from scratch.
|peanut butter cookies|
for the grandkids
That helps. It does. When one reaches the place where they are tired of the perpetual tears, focused concentration on something that requires accuracy to be successful -- that's a good option.
Trying new things is suggested often in grief counseling. I found that to be a challenge for me. My "want to" was sorely lacking as I've learned I'm much more of a "fraidy cat" than I knew before this all happened. But again, as time has worn on, and dwelling on the sad was becoming an odd sense of comfort and seclusion, I made myself try new things.
I signed on to be a greeter at church, something I've wanted to do for a long time but always had other responsibilities that required me to be in other parts of the building than the doors of the church. Of course this particular avenue of service requires a smile and a cheery greeting for all who come by. I'm managing to do that and it's fun being a "doorkeeper in the house of the Lord." (Psalm 84:10)
|trying out our new Culver's|
I've become more brave about dining by myself, although I continue to be very selective about that. I eschew sit-down restaurants with menus because I feel like I stand out all by myself in a booth (although some of my widow friends like that). I choose casual dining where you order and then sit down, always locating a table for two tucked into a corner or up against a wall. My companion is a book to take the place of conversation.
Mornings typically are the hardest part of the day, as my single friends have agreed. Thank God, the early hours are much better than they were. I start by kneeling beside my bed the night before to sincerely ask the Lord for good sleep, restorative rest, and to go before my first-of-the-morning thoughts.
Then as I get out of bed, I have automatic habits requiring some physical exertion to warm up my brain, so to speak. I make my bed, prepare a cup of green tea (followed by a cup of coffee), and spend as much time as the day's schedule will permit reading scripture and praying.
Lately I've been following advice by Christian TV host and author, Sheila Walsh, who says reading ALOUD three Psalms is very helpful. Simple enough. Hearing the Word, as well as reading it, buoys the spirit in surprising ways.
For the LORD loves the just and
will not forsake His faithful ones.
After time in the Word and always praying the Lord will prepare me for whatever I'll see when I turn on social media (as we all know, ugly surprises are not unusual these days), I enter the kitchen, turn on the computer and my phone, allowing them to warm up while I make my breakfast.
Habits are helpful. They help us gauge where we are in our day, telling us if we need to pick up the pace or slow down, plus they just tell us what to do.
On weekends, which can be another very difficult time for the lonely, I'm setting in motion special habits to encourage cheer.
On weekend evenings I turn on the white twinkly lights on my fake tree in the family room. They say "party" to me and although I am not feeling like a celebration, there is reason to be cheerful for another week of survival. I come up with something fun to eat for my supper and (more often these days than before) will turn on a pleasant movie for entertainment before bedtime.
In grief there are many of those hard places but to trust the Lord to soften those edges is a huge comfort. I've seen Him do it for me time after time after time.
The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD;
He is their stronghold in time of trouble.
The LORD helps them and delivers them;
He delivers them from the wicked and
saves them because they take refuge in Him.
The days are getting a little easier with each passing month. I didn't think I would ever see the day.... I really didn't. Friendships help so much. I am meeting them at coffee shops, Bible studies, outdoor walks, and such.
While I don't have conversations with the dead (the Bible is very clear about the sin of that; see Deuteronomy 18:10-13), I do nod at Beloved's picture from time to time in acknowledgement of some private joke we had and thank God for having given me such a good man and a successful marriage.
I also ponder about that "great cloud of witnesses" in heaven (see Hebrews 12:1) who can see what's going on down here. I am not alone. Not by any stretch of the imagination.
Grace and peace to you.