May 26th

>> Monday, May 29, 2017

I had regarded the approaching month with foreboding.  And now it was here, May 1st.  I felt a heavy cloud descend on me. Two years ago this month my beloved had died. When I awoke at 5:00 that morning, I felt tears hanging on the edge of my consciousness.

Can we just skip May?

The days crawled by…2nd, 3rd, 4th.  The hours leading up to the 26th grew darker. And the time – 11:20 am – loomed large. That was the day and hour that he drew his last breath…at home…in our bedroom.

I can’t do this every May for the rest of my life. 

Early on the 26th I needed my village, so I dressed and drove to Starbucks. These wonderful people had been there for us every day as we faced the inevitable. And then they formed a wall of protection around me as I grieved, available to help me in any way they could.

I just needed to see their faces.

I did not want to be at home at 11:20. I felt the urge to drive…my ultimate therapy. So after gaining strength from their love and camaraderie, I headed to the highway.

Thoughts tumbled in my head as I drove. 

Boy, there sure is a lot of traffic.  Oh yeah. It’s the Friday of a holiday weekend. I better pay attention to my speed.  There will be a lot of Highway Patrol on duty today.

Music has the power to soothe me, so I turned on the radio. The song Just Be Held came through the speaker. The words “your world’s not falling apart, it’s just falling into place” turned on the spigot and the tears fell. It sure didn’t feel like it was falling into place. I turned the radio off. It wasn’t working this time.  

I missed John.

I felt for my necklace, which held John’s wedding ring. That one moment was forever burned in my brain…removing his wedding ring from his dead finger. I remember thinking I can’t do this.

Lots of big sighs filled the car. But I drove on. I began to talk…out loud…to John and God, probably in that order. I spoke of our wonderful memories…the fun we had together.

God, I need to figure out a way to handle future May 26th.  

As the miles passed and my thoughts were verbalized, I felt the cloud lifting. No more sighs. Soon the sign said Ritzville next two exits. Taco Del Mar and Mexican food were just down the road.

I could make it. 

I had taken a notebook with me. As a writer, I never know when the words may start pouring out. Be prepared is my motto.

I ordered a burrito combo with chips and a drink. The time stamp on the receipt was 11:14. Only six more minutes and it would be over for a year. 

God, I need ideas to use next year. Let me have a different perspective. I’m not used to negativity.

As I ate, my pen moved across the page. I wrote these words I’ve just typed. But then ideas began to form.

When my kids moved out after graduating from high school, they were leaving for the next chapter in their lives. I did not mark the day and hour and grieve every year at that time. I was happy for them and their accomplishments.

So why couldn’t I see John’s leaving as the same thing?

More thoughts.

This is just the first in a trifecta. His death May 26th. Our anniversary June 1st. His birthday July 3rd.

I counted the days from May 1st to July 3rd. 63 days.
What if I wrote up 63 wonderful memories of John and made a calendar. Like a Rolodex. Each day I could turn over a new and wonderful recollection of him…one that gave me warm fuzzies. No more dark cloud.

The heaviness was gone. I climbed in the car and headed home. And, yes, there were patrols everywhere. I didn’t speed.  But my heart was light.

My world was falling into place. 

“Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.” Isaiah 41:10 (MSG)


John Did

>> Saturday, May 13, 2017

1:45 this morning and I’m suddenly awake. My nights usually consist of lying down, closing my eyes and waking up in the morning. So what woke me up?

John.  John did. 

I could almost feel his body beside mine. Since I was laying on my right side facing what used to be his side of the bed, I cautiously reached my left arm out to drape it over his body and pull him close. 

My hand landed on the cool, smooth sheet. No John.

And then I cried.

(Just a little peek at what grief is like. Moments like this are few and far between.)


It Just So Happened

>> Thursday, April 13, 2017

It just so happened that my father died within hours of my birth. I was the ninth child. My mother was 45 and really didn’t want me. Her concept of religion was warped and oppressive. So my younger years were spent alone…reading and thinking.

Where was God in all of this?

It just so happened that my marriage was arranged when I was 15 years old. My solitude training came in good stead, as I never left my home. Within five years I had three children to care for. My rigid religious teaching spilled over onto them.

Where was God in all of this?

It just so happened that he left me. My solitude training kicked in. My love of reading led to a study of the Bible that told me things my church had never mentioned…like the love of God. I corrected my behavior toward my children.

Where was God in all of this?

It just so happened that I became a confident, strong woman with a deep-rooted love for God. My home was no longer a cave for me to hide in, but a gathering place for the teenagers that were now a part of my life. I learned to say “yes” to God, even though my heart was pounding at what He asked me to do.

Where was God in all of this?

It just so happened my “yes” answer led me to a church not of my choosing, on a Saturday morning…having volunteered to help them start a singles group. In jogged a sweaty, scantily clad man who sat down beside me. Mentally I scooted over. Men were new in my life, especially ones wearing shorts and a tank top.

Where was God in all of this?

It just so happened that man became my beloved husband of almost 35 years. Nothing…absolutely nothing…that just so happened in my life was by chance. I can look back and see His hand in everything.

So even though you may be wondering where God is in your life, I can tell you He is right there with you…walking beside you…caring.

“… lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28:20b (ASV)


Pockets in My Pants

>> Friday, March 31, 2017

When my daughter, Lyn, was young she had a penchant for collecting stuff…in her pockets. Before I allowed her in the house she was required to turn her pockets inside out. Bugs, rocks, nuts and bolts, pennies and an occasional flower would spill from her pockets. Years later, when I was sewing her wedding dress, she asked “Will you put pockets on it?”

It never mattered to me if I had pockets or not…until I bought an iPhone.

I tried carrying it in my purse, but it was way too inconvenient to answer. When I placed it in my back pocket and sat down it sometimes fell to the floor. I watched others wear a contraption designed to hold a phone on their belt…but I never wore a belt. My wardrobe diminished because I would no longer wear pants without pockets in the front.

The advent of the iPhone changed my daily life.

When that thought hit me, I wondered what else had changed me…either very obvious or maybe very subtle. The first time I wore glasses…as I walked home from the eye doctor…I saw actual leaves on the trees. Big change. Being able to drive a car affected my life greatly…and when I can no longer drive that will be another huge adjustment.

I could go on with my list.

But my bottom line question for me is: Has being a Christ-follower made an obvious change in me and altered my daily life? Can people with whom I come in contact tell Jesus matters to me? Or has the change been so subtle that it’s hardly noticeable?

Today I have on pants with pockets in the front…and I have Christ within. My deepest longing is that you notice Him.

“The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you…..” Colossians 1:27 (MSG)


Blinking Lessons

>> Wednesday, February 1, 2017

My eyes have been very dry.  Let me explain.  When I awakened, my first action was to place a finger on my eyelid and lift up, unsticking it from my eyeball.  At least my eye was open, but painful. As I shuffled to the bathroom, I kept ahold of the footboard because I was still not seeing clearly. Then I placed one eye drop in each eye, blinked a few times and my world showed up.

Once my glasses were placed on my nose, I could see. 

It seems the optical field is just now discovering that having dry eyes is a major problem in the world. So much so, that it was recommended to me that I attend a Dry Eye Clinic.  For two hours I was tested with various machines and instruments. As I placed my chin on the indicated cup, I looked through to a screen. The technician continued to make adjustments to the machine, so we just kept talking.

“Ok, that’s all for that test. You can set back.”

What test?

Pictures had been taken of my blinking. Guess what? When I blinked, my eyelid did not go all the way down to the bottom lid. In that lid across the bottom of the eye is where the moisture resides for your eyeball. I had already been tested to see if I actually had moisture in the tubes.  I did.  But because I did not blink all the way down, the liquid to moisten my eye stayed in the tube.

Thus, my dry eyes. 

She asked me to blink. Easy, right? Wrong. My eyelid action was called partial blinking. I was given a course in blinking exercises, to be completed as a regular part of my day. Another type of blinking activity included exercising during commercials or at the end of a chapter when reading.

I now know how to blink correctly. My eyes have improved dramatically. 

But I have a question. How many activities in our life are completed by rote and we have no idea we are not doing them correctly. Who knew I didn’t know how to blink? How about the task of studying? Not all children learn the same way. Is it possible the child who struggles needs to learn a new way of studying? What about the way we show love to our spouse? My husband and I had to learn what spoke love to the other.

Then there is the subject of Christianity. Is the way we do God working? Maybe we need some God lessons.

“So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet!” Philippians 3:15 (MSG)


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