Matthew 6:25 - 27

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

Today is Father's Day. It is Sunday. Service started at my church about 20 minutes ago. I am not there. I feel guilty. I feel like this is just one more area of life that I'm losing control over. At 1:30 AM, our dog stuck her nose in my face and woke me up. The last time she did that, I took it as an act of God to get me up. This time it was just frustrating and annoying. Why did she have to go out at that hour? As I walked through the house to the front door to put her out, I realized the kitchen smelled like food - recently cooked food. Coming back in, I saw the dirty dishes on the counter and sugar crystals left there by my (other)"sugar-hound's ice cream snack. One was still awake with lights on, the other in a dark room that smelled strongly of gum - lots of gum! After cleaning the kitchen, bringing the dog back in, telling the one to go to sleep and checking on the other, I found it difficult to fall back to sleep.

Is is just a sign of this phase in my kids' lives that they stay up half the night, sleep half the day, eat in their rooms and don't help with much of anything to keep the household going? Or is it a sign of how we are all pulling apart from one another and into ourselves? Probably some of both. But I feel like I'm losing all definition of "family" and all control over myself and my household.

I don't know how long I laid there. The next time I woke up and checked the clock it was 6AM. Too early to get up. I didn't want to get up. I wanted to sleep ... and dream. Back to sleep. Back to dreaming. I almost never can remember my dreams, and rarely even have the sense that I've been dreaming at all. The last few days, I'm sure that I've been dreaming ... life dreams full of people and activity and emotion ... but still can't remember any part of it. When I wake up and move through the day, though, I have the feeling that my "real" life was more "real" in my dreams, and that my waking "life" is really a "dream". Anyway, I fell back to sleep and dreaming.

The next time I woke up, it was after 9AM! Church starts at 10:00. Not enough time to get done all of the things I needed to to get my household "up" and running for the day, get myself and my youngest ready to leave and drive the 30 minute drive to church. Decision time. I could have made it (albeit a little late, as usual) by throwing clothes on, leaving all the morning "routine" for after church, and with a lot of pushing and dragging. But at least we'd be there (we won't be the next 2 or more Sundays anyway). Tom would have gone. He would have wanted us to go. I feel like we're all losing our commitment and self-discipline in our relationship with the Lord and our church families. Everyone has given so much to help and support us, I don't want to seem ungrateful. Then I remembered that it was also Father's Day.

There would most likely be a lot of talk on the radio in the car on the way to church about it. I'm sure there would be some "honoring" of the fathers present in church. Families would be together and celebrating their fathers. And my kids would be continually reminded that their father was not here today. Their father will never be here again. We haven't talked about it. I realized that I have the same feeling that I have when it is another holiday that we don't celebrate ... I want to just lay low, stay home and wait for it to pass. It hurts right now to think about how this day would have been (should have been) different!

I didn't wake my sons up. We didn't go to church. I'm sorry. We miss you terribly, honey! We wish you were here so we could say "Happy Father's Day! We love you!"

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Oh no, You Never Let Go - Even through the "firsts"

I woke up at 3 AM today with the chorus of a song repeating over and over in my mind:
Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

(You Never Let Go by Matt Redman)

This doesn't happen to me very often and I wondered why this song, and why now. Immediately, the answer came to me. This song is so significant to my online friends, Maria and Cody, and to the sweet little daughter, Susana, that they lost to brain cancer just as Tom went into hospice. I prayed for Maria and Cody and their family.

I was wide awake. I realized that this was probably the first time since Tom was diagnosed with his brain tumor that I had woken up in the night with enough peace in my life to feel how alone I was. That thought made me think about Leah (another online friend), whose post about all the "firsts" that she was experiencing since the death of her husband in early May had been the last thing I'd read before dropping off to sleep in exhaustion. I've been through so many "firsts" in the past 3 months since Tom's death ... including his "first" birthday without him (he would have been 60 on June 6th), just two days ago. Three of his four children have had their first birthdays without their dad; so have I. Our first child graduated without his dad, and I held my first graduation party without my husband. Soon, we will take our first "family" vacation without him there, too. Yes, Leah, there will be many firsts. I prayed for Leah, too.

And through the time I was awake, I realized that I was not alone. I haven't really felt alone. I've had people around me and helping me through everything. A lot of people. So much so, that, at times, I longed to be alone. I'm actually looking forward to things slowing down a bit now so that I can spend some time alone. But there is definitely a difference between being "alone" and being "lonely". While I want time "alone", the feeling of "loneliness" is where I miss Tom. I miss his presence. I miss being able to talk with him. I miss being able to share life with him. I miss his wisdom, his stability, his optimism. I miss the way he always came alongside of me and helped me with the mundane and the demanding tasks of life. I miss dreaming with him. I wish I could sit on my newly remodeled porch and enjoy our newly landscaped yard and the quiet beauty of this first day of summer vacation with him. I wish he could be seeing the irises bloom and the first Peony open! I wish we could be looking forward to his retirement and our first years together after the children are all grown. Yes, I'm lonely. I'm lonely for him. This is when I feel sad and my heart is heavy. This is the work of mourning.

It will soon be the 3 month anniversary of Tom's death. Occasionally, people will say to me something like "Oh, that's right. You're still mourning." Like they forgot, or I should be over it by now. In some ways, I feel like I haven't had time to begin mourning; I don't think it will be over soon.

Yes, I can see a light that is coming
For the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You