Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
James 4:14 NASB
You owe me $20!
We used to say that all the time when my husband was alive. We often ate dinner with my best friend, his best friend, and our kids. Those people were also his sister and brother-in-law, our nieces and nephew, and our girls. At almost every dinner, whether at home or out at a restaurant, someone knocked over a drink and it went everywhere. My husband would call out, after the initial shock, “you owe me $20,” and we would all laugh and clean up the mess together. For the longest time after his death, we didn’t say that anymore.
The other night, I was out with those same wonderful people. The youngest kid is now 19 years old and we were celebrating our last dinner of the summer before the kids go back to college. As we sat at our restaurant table, someone reached for something and, you guessed it, a drink was spilled. Both me and my sister in law said in unison, “You owe me $20”. For a moment, time stopped and we all looked at each other and almost simultaneously, we all smiled a secret smile as we each remembered the voice that was missing.
It has been almost six years since he left this place and went to Heaven with his Savior. 2,007 days to be exact. This grief journey has been one of the hardest roads I have ever endured. For some of the journey, I felt like my heart was missing. For some of the journey, my heart was beating again, but to a different beat, not as loud or as strong on some days. I’ve changed, evolved, grown… This is a messy journey that changes moment by moment.
At the five year mark, I was hit in the face with a huge grief wave. I am now starting to remember the sweet memories of him and how he made me laugh. He made everything okay. This makes me miss him even more some days. I miss his ability to make me funnier, sweeter, less serious.
There are days when I long for Christ’s return. I pray for it. I look for it. I weep for it. I’m so tired of this endless journey. I’m so tired of my heart hurting when I think about all the other family members who lost him too.
But then, I remember how he lived. When a “catastrophe” hit – like 20 ounces of fruit punch tipped and spilled over an entire family’s dinner – he made it okay and put it into perspective. From Christ’s view, it is all a vapor. A moment that won’t be remembered in eternity.
So, I have to turn my view to my Savior. I have to remember to view this journey from His point of view. He would not ask me to take this road if it were not for His glory and His purpose. On my very worst days, when I cry out to my Savior and ask for respite, He holds me in His arms and lets me rest there. He walks with me through the mess of this journey, and sits with me on the side of the road when I need to take a breather.
It gets easier to live with the pain of loss. I don’t hurt all the time like I used to. I’m not broken. I am a redeemed vessel.
Shattered into a million pieces and now glued back together with the Savior’s precious hands and love.
I still laugh at the kids’ faces when they were younger and we said, “You owe me $20.” We never collected. After my husband said that with his serious face, he would break into a smile and say, “Help us clean up this mess before my dinner gets cold.” And, together, we would make everything okay.
That’s how it is with Christ too! He can make it better, if you’ll let Him, He will clean it up.
Dear Lord, Thank You for Your loving arms that wrap around me and comfort me. I can’t imagine this journey without You. Amen
Sherry Rickard is a writer/speaker with A Widow’s Might/aNew Season Ministries, Inc. Sherry lives in the Washington DC area of Virginia. She works in the professional community management industry and is very active in her local church. She has one daughter who is 19 years old and just completed her freshman year at college. She also has a dog, Sophie, and a cat, Brandon. Sherry lost her husband on February 14, 2011 to cancer after a bone marrow transplant did not engraft. God has called her to this ministry to share the Hope that only comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It is Sherry’s hope that Christ can shine through her and that Christ can minister to those who have a similar journey. She is still here, so God has a wonderful purpose to fulfill with her life.
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