Thursday, January 28, 2021

Today I smell like chocolate...


I am wearing a fragrance that makes me think of chocolate.
It is not one of my favorites,
but it was one of his.
 
I am wearing jewelry I don’t often wear anymore
because he gave it to me
and it seems disrespectful to my current life.
 
I am, as I write this,
lunching in a restaurant I no longer frequent.
 
I drove through the old neighborhood earlier.
And I went to the cemetery to change flowers.
 
Eight years ago today he went home.
 
I no longer grieve in the way I did on that day
and those anguished days that followed.
It is different now.
 
I think grief is much like marriage itself.
In the beginning, marriage is new and exciting,
filled with passion and emotions,
fluttering tummies and anticipation of
the end of the work day
when you are together again.
 
Over time, the passions, the high emotions
become calmer,
the love becomes quieter
and acquires depth and a lasting quality
that is missing in the beginning
before it has some wear.
 
And when your love is completed
and one of you celebrates the ultimate homecoming,
the whole process begins again,
but with grief.
 
On this day of Al’s homecoming,
I feel as I did on our wedding anniversaries
during his life –
a renewed sense of “honeymoon” then,
a renewed sense of grief now.
 
I want to briefly share a couple recent conversations.
I share them because today,
eight years later,
happily remarried,
is hard.
And people don’t understand why.
And most still won’t.
But I just need to say it.
Again.
 
As most of you who are regular readers know,
I am joyously remarried to my second great love.
A friend, recently widowed, asked me with a mix of dread and anticipation,
when I stopped loving Al.
The pain of her beloved’s death
is so intense that she wants it to stop.
Her love is so deep and she fears it will.
 
I answered emphatically –
NEVER!!!
My love for Al is complete.
It is no longer a growing, vibrant thing.
Neither is it dead.
Love is eternal!
I do not simply have a new great love,
I have two.
 
The second conversation is specific to Christians.
1 Thessalonians 4 tells us that Christians
are not to grieve as others do
for we have a hope, a sure knowledge,
that we will meet our Christian loved ones again
in Heaven.
This passage refers to our spirits,
our trust and faith in God.
It does not refer to our emotional response
to the earthly loss of a loved one in death.
 
Recently, someone intimated
that my Lanny Love and I still grieve the loss
of our first great loves
because we aren’t, or they weren’t, Christians.
That opinion was reiterated over several weeks in letters.
This person has never experienced an intimate loss.
His wife is living.
All his children are living.
All his grandchildren are living.
His parents are both still living.
His siblings are living.
My heart is heavy for the crisis of faith
that I fear he will experience
when his emotional response to the death
of one of these people
is grief.
 
So today, on this eighth homecoming celebration,
my grief has become noisy again, new and raw.
It will quiet,
but until then,
I lean into God,
I lean into my Lanny Love –
who sadly understands.
And I grieve the amputation that occu
rred
when the two that became one
once again became two.
 
I miss you, Alfie.
Happy homecoming day!

 

 

Now is your time of grief,

but I will see you again and you will rejoice,

and no one will take away your joy.

 

~~ John 16:22 ~~


Sunday, January 3, 2021

Love is a many splendored thing…

And a LOT of hard work!

 

I have loved many people in my life.

I love my children!

I love my grandchildren!

I love my sisters and brothers!

I love my parents!

I love my friends!

 

I love my husbands!

And that is the kind of love that has spurred this post.

I love deeply, passionately.

In all my relationships,

but most especially in my romantic ones.

 

I have been engaged four times.

Three of those times, I was deeply in love.

Two of those times, I married the man.

Of those four engagements,

twice, I was the one who loved more

and twice, I was the one more loved.

I will not say which was which because it doesn’t matter.

I will say that both sides created difficulties for me.

 

When I was more loved,

I felt guilty.

I should love more, try harder.

And I was right about that.

But you know,

I was never able to outlove those two men.

Because their love for me wouldn't allow it.

 

When I loved more,

it was hard to know that I was not the most important thing.

Sometimes it flat out hurt!

Sometimes, it would have been easier to just say,

"Fine!" 

and withdraw.

But despite my sometimes hurt feelings,

I worked all the harder to love well.

I pampered, spoiled, catered to, wooed.

I pursued ardently.

Because I so greatly desired to be wholly loved,

the most important.

 

Just as God's love for us

won't allow us to outlove Him.

Just as He desires to be wholly loved,

the most important to us!

 

Finally we get to it!

 

I believe that the marriage relationship

most closely emulates God’s relationship with us.

Most people think it is the parent/child relationship.

I disagree.

 

You see, we raise our children –

rightfully so –

to become independent of us,

to need us less and less as time goes on,

to eventually fly the nest

where we lovingly protected them when they were young.

 

However, in a good and loving marriage relationship,

we become more and more dependent upon one another,

our need for the other grows and deepens with time,

we nestle more deeply into the protective wing

of that person we most love in the world

and cannot fathom a life apart from them.

 

This is how our relationship with God should be!

Ever more dependent!

 

Recently, it occurred to me to wonder.

Does God sometimes feel pain and hurt

at the knowledge that He loves us more,

that we love Him less than other people or things?

Does He grieve that we take His love for granted?

Is He jealous of those things that come first,

those things we rank ahead of Him?

Does He sometimes weep

in wanting our complete devotion to Him?

Does He grow weary of

pampering, spoiling, catering to, wooing us

only to remain in second or third or fourth... 

or anything but first place?

Do we break His heart

by not loving Him best?

 

May I never hurt you so, Lord God!