Tuesday, September 22, 2015

"Like I'm Gonna Lose You"

We are driving down the road with the radio blaring.  It's what we do.  Loud music makes me happy. It always has.  "Like I'm Gonna Lose You" by Meghan Trainor and John Legend comes on and my girl cranks it up even louder.  We smile and sing along at the top of our lungs.  The words begin to sink into the broken places of my heart.  Each little crevice is filled with a beautiful memory of the love affair her Daddy and I had for two decades.    

[Meghan Trainor]
I found myself dreaming in silver and goldLike a scene from a movie that every broken heart knowsWe were walking on moonlight, you pulled me closeSplit second and you disappeared and then I was all aloneWoke up in tears with you by my sideBreath of a leave and I realized,No one will promise tomorrow
So, I'm gonna love you like I'm gonna lose you,I'm gonna hold you like I'm saying goodbyeForever will stay in, I won't take you for granted'Cause we'll never know it when we'll run out of timeSo, I'm gonna love you like I'm gonna lose you,I'm gonna love you like I'm gonna lose you
[John Legend]
In a blink of an eye,Just a whisper of smokeYou could lose everythingThe truth is you're never aloneSo, I'll kiss you longer babyAny chance that I getI'll make the most of the minutesSo long with no regretLet's take our time to say what we wantHere's what we've gotBefore it's all gone'Cause no one will promise tomorrow
So, I'm gonna love you like I'm gonna lose you,I'm gonna hold you like I'm saying goodbyeForever will stay in, I won't take you for granted'Cause we'll never know it when we'll run out of timeSo, I'm gonna love you like I'm gonna lose you,I'm gonna love you like I'm gonna lose you

Tears begin to form and a large lump resides in my throat.  The song ends.  I turn down the volume and it takes me several seconds to compose myself before I can remotely trust my voice will even work.  I turn to our gorgeous, nearly 15 year old daughter with tears slipping down my cheeks I tell her, "This is the type of love I want for you and your brother to one day find.  THIS is the kind of love your Daddy and I had.  It's an all-out, self-sacrificial, best-friendship with a deep, honest, living-large kind of total and complete love.  And it makes for a beautiful life."

Loving fully.  Not holding back.  Living in each moment and cherishing each other.  These are things you will never regret.  DO THEM.  

So friends, if you are blessed enough to have someone special by your side in this life...LOVE THEM LIKE YOU'RE GONNA LOSE THEM.  Don't miss an opportunity to show them you value and respect them.  Don't waste time focusing on the petty, let those things fall aside and JUST LOVE THEM.  Enjoy them.  Encourage them.  Be their biggest cheerleader and their best secret keeper.  Be their safe place to land in a world of chaos, stress, and pressure.  Be their 'home".   

I assure you, you won't regret choosing to love deeply.  I know I don't.  

What a pure honor it was to be married to my best-friend.  We loved deeply.  We didn't always get it right.  Who does?  But, it was good.  It was better than good.  It was a breath-taking whirlwind romance and it was worth it!         

Monday, September 21, 2015

Grief is a Messy Casserole (As Seen on A Widow's Might)

"I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy." Job 29:13 {ESV}
Grief doesn’t follow an outline or a formula. Sure, there are stages to experience, but I have found that even those are more of a jumbled mess than a straight line to follow or a checklist to complete.

Grief is as unique and complex as the individual experiencing it.
I thought I knew how this grief game was going to play out. After all, there are plenty of books and published steps or stages for us to refer to. We had a few years notice that death was coming.
Let’s be clear, I don’t believe we will ever be fully healed from our grief in this life until Jesus returns.  None of us. I do believe we will learn to live beside and around it, that somehow it is possible to not be consumed by it.  This is what I am referring to when I reference “healing."
As “prepared” as I was for my husband’s passing, I could never have imagined how jumbled and chaotic the grief process would be. I knew grief would be a heavy blanket in our home. I knew that we would alternate kicking off those covers with snuggling under the heaviness of them.

What I did NOT mentally process until we were in the middle of the mess was the individual journeys progressing at their own pace yet existing all under the same roof.  Nor the very real fact that we weren’t each experiencing grief stages individually or collectively.  It was a mish-mash of emotions in three individual lives interacting with each other.  And most days it was suffocating for me.

Instead of making our way through the stages at our own pace, it felt much more like we were being force fed a nasty, casserole-mix of all the emotional grief stages--huge, overloaded spoonfuls of the grossest hodge-podge of cupboard ingredients tossed together and set in the oven to bake at 350 degrees for an hour then served tongue-scorching hot.  I kept thinking in my head, "Where is my checklist of stages? How can I possibly minister to my children in their grief when I can’t even sort out my own emotions?"

I guess I share this with you ladies because just maybe, a few of you have found grief to be less textbook and more messy casserole. I want to encourage you that it does get better.  The grief does become something that we can live with.

It takes determination and bravery to step out from under the heaviness of grief's weight, to get rid of the nasty aftertaste that lingers.  We are approaching the two year mark and the kids and I are living proof that through God’s mercy and strength, it can be done.

We are not “cured."

We are not “healed” in the traditional sense of the word.

But we are on the journey to healing in the ways that matter.

We are striving to live beautiful and full lives in spite of our grief.

Do the work, sisters.  Whether your grief is neat and orderly, following the stages outlined or is a nasty clump of yucky casserole you are choking on.  Keep leaning on Jesus.  Keep processing the emotions as they come.  Keep moving forward.

Healing is possible.

Lord God, thank You that You long to make the widows heart sing for joy.  Oh what a marvelously tender and loving God You are to us.  Your love and grace are the sweetest tastes we could ever experience.  Thank You for removing the bitter aftertaste of grief's casserole from our tongues and freeing us to worship You for the healing found in Your presence.  Amen.