It’s Raining Tears as I learn to Walk and not Faint…
October 16, 2019
We just celebrated Thanksgiving this past weekend. I can’t say it was especially horrible. Honestly everyday feels like a victory when I make it through to the end. Yet with the end of each day comes the going to bed part. Going to bed has always been a bit of a difficulty for me because I have SO much trouble sleeping so why go to bed? Flawed logic I am aware, yet I dawdle even more now at bedtime than I used to. When Glen was here he would call from bed very patiently, “You planning on coming to bed soon sweetie? I’ve got some kisses for you.”
Of course that got me to bed with a little more speed. But really, what’s the enticement now? Glen isn’t on his side of the bed anymore. He’s in his room in the mansion that God prepared for him. I’m happy for him. I’m just so dang sad for me…
So this Thanksgiving I was teary. I don’t think that anyone else has noticed but I notice. My boys and me spent Thanksgiving not only without Glen but also without any of our extended family. My Dad and Step Mom went back to Manitoba because she’s not doing very well… My brother lives on the Island and is coming in November (when I’m back from my trip to Greece!) so I’ll make a turkey then even though I don’t feel like cooking… Glen’s family is in Alberta and Saskatchewan… so we had a very pleasant Thanksgiving Sunday lunch at our long time friends Rob and Iona Snair. We weren’t the only extras but it was so lovely to be invited and included. I do have so much to be thankful for it’s just hard to see it when I miss my Glen so very much and feel his void so deeply.
There has been a lot going on with many compounding losses in my life and God has had to lead me through to a place where I can still say, “It is well with my soul.” Why is it well? It is well with my soul because I am choosing for it to be well with my soul. I am choosing to believe truth. Truth that God is in control of everything including the good, the bad and the ugly. I am believing the truth that I can trust God even though I don’t understand and I certainly don’t see the big picture. I am believing the truth that Satan continues to try to mess things up and that God does work all things for good according to His purpose, yet that doesn’t mean that we see that good immediately. That good may not be seen until we too are called by God to come home.
The loss of a spouse is one of the more devastating losses to move forward from. (Notice I said move forward, not move on because we do move forward, yet we always grieve the loss because the loss and the love do not ever go away.) With “God is in control” in my mind I also know that He has numbered each of our days.
Psalm 139:16 “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” (NLT)
And… Isaiah 57:1-2: “The righteous pass away; the godly often die before their time. And no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from evil to come. For the godly who die will rest in peace.” (NLT)
I know that God has numbered Glen’s days and that I heard what I wanted to hear. I also know, and I don’t say this tritely, that I heard God’s whisper into the deepest part of my spirit, “I’m calling him home child.” I didn’t want to hear that. I didn’t want to write about that. In fact I renounced it because I was so stubbornly hanging onto the miracle that I wanted for Glen – healing on earth. God did give Glen and me exactly what I asked for – healing. Whole and complete healing like we can’t possibly experience here on earth. Healing that only eternity can bring to us mortal souls. And it is in that healing that I rejoice for Glen, and am so bitterly in a state of tears for me, the one left behind. We all long for a miracle, yet we don’t recognize when that miracle actually happens. Glen got a miracle. Did you know that God takes his beloved to spare them from more suffering just as he did for Glen? And I ranted and raged against it begging God for more time, not comprehending that I will get more time eventually – I will get eternity with Glen and Jesus and all my loved one’s eventually. Though that “eventually” seems to last FOREVER here on earth, once we get there, to eternity, we will realize that life before, life on earth, was just the beginning chapter, or even perhaps just the introduction to our lives. (As CS Lewis points out in the last Narnia book). It is then that we go, “Oh!” for all the things we just don’t understand now.
Right now, God is telling me to live part two. And I am. I am choosing joy every day, even when I am not blessed with sleep and wake up in massive pain. Yet joy does not equal happy. I have happy moments, yet I also have sad moments because I don’t ever stop missing Glen.
This quote from the book, Let Me Grieve, But not Forever by Verdell Davis, might sum it up just slightly. When we are looking for the big miracle we miss the small one…
“Then there are those times in life when there is nothing we can do to change the situation, nowhere we can go to get away from the loss, no one who can make things better. The darkness engulfing us makes it impossible to see a way out. All we can do is survive the empty moments as best we can and keep putting one foot in front of the other because we can do that automatically. Whether there will be a tomorrow is inconsequential; indeed, death often seems like a welcome end to the pain of living with the hole in our hearts, or with the guilt, or the shame, or whatever abyss the particular loss opened up. Then we look in vain for a miracle….
Little do we know that the greater miracle in the midst of our grievous storm is when God gives us what we need to simply “walk and not faint.” At first glance this hardly seems like a miracle at all. But then we realize that soaring is out of the question, and there is no more running to be done. The only thing left is the helplessness of a reality that has forever changed the shape of life as se have known it and loved it. Now come the “keep on keeping on” stage, when all we want is to go somewhere so we can coddle the gaping wound we have been left with and trying to survive the unbearable pain. In the darkness of the tunnel, merely “keeping on” becomes a miracle.” Pg 59-60
So perhaps, right now, in this stage of grief that I am in, the miracle is that I am keeping on. I am keeping on in the midst of not only losing my Glen, but also other devastating losses that cause me to rethink my life and what it will look like. Losses that compound the main loss – the loss of Glen.
In the week before Glen passed from here to eternity I was sitting in one chair and him in another in our living room. I honestly don’t remember the conversation that we were having but I know he asked me something and I gave him a short remark that was tinged with anger. I had not done that at all through our marriage and I was as surprised as he was.
“What’s going on?” he asked. “What are you angry about?”
I didn’t know what was in me was going to come out…but it did and I’m glad that it did so that we could grieve him going together.
“I’m watching my husband go to skin and bones in front of my eyes! I’m watching the one I love the most in this entire world die in front of my very eyes and there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it!” was my response as I burst into a flood of tears. “Of course I’m angry!”
Glen burst into tears with me and told me to come sit on his lap. I shook my head no and kept crying. “I don’t want to hurt you more than you are hurting already Mon Cherie.”
Glen would hear nothing more about that! “Come!” he ordered gently. “I don’t care if it hurts!”
I needed no more invitation and slid onto his lap – him holding me while he was literally a skeleton and me holding him with both of us sobbing tears of deep heart wrenching anguish.
I am so thankful that we could cry together and spend time together in the last months of his life. I am so thankful that we were able to go to Mexico and Santa Barbara for treatments for him because then we had time to just be us…and it was precious and treasured time that no one, not even the devil, can steal from us.
When we were home, again around a week before he passed, he said to me, “I can’t do this much longer.”
I looked up at him and said, “I know….I know. This too shall pass Mon Cherie.”
He looked at me in complete confusion so I continued.
“We know that either you will be healed here on earth, or you will be healed in heaven. Either way we know that you will be healed.”
He smiled. It brought him hope. What I didn’t say out loud because I wanted to be encouraging to Glen was this. If you are healed here on earth, we will both rejoice. If you are healed in heaven you will be happy, though I think in some different sort of way you will miss me too… if you’re healed in heaven I will be devastated and for the rest of my days I will be tinged with sadness living out my life without you. Trusting that God has this yet grieving my loss …
So what am I learning in this rant that is hopefully understandable to those of you who read this? I am learning that my trust in God is chosen. My trust in God is because He has proven Himself over and over and He knows what He’s doing. My trust in God doesn’t depend on my limited understanding of the situation or situations but rather on my “willingness to believe when all the evidence of the moment asks, “Why should I?””
“We can pour out our screams of unfairness to God until we are empty enough for him to begin to teach us his absolute faithfulness.
We can come to see God, ourselves, and our faith journey with new eyes as we simply hold out our hands and allow him to lead us into a greater awareness of his wisdom.
We can allow him to teach us from the depths what we could never learn in the ecstasy of soaring or the exhilaration of running.
Truly, “to walk and not faint” may not only be the greater miracle, but it may well be our greatest discipler.” (Verdell Davis, pg 62).
So with God carrying me I am learning to walk and not faint. (And if you know me at all you will know that I am more naturally a sprinter through life!) I am learning to trust Him again and again as from day one I chose to say, “I glorify You God and I trust You even though I don’t understand, nor do I like this plan…I trust You. Thank you for walking beside me and allowing me to “walk and not faint.”
Honestly I feel right now like throwing my fist in the air and shouting, “For the KINGDOM!” I’d say that’s a win.