Friday, August 14, 2015

I love you, Part II

My Lanny Love and I are in love.
With each other.
And each of us with someone else.
And we're both okay with that.

I suppose to many of you, my dear readers,
that sounds very strange.
Let me assure you, it's not!

We talk with each other about our loves -
both ours for each other,
and ours for those others that we love.
Just this past weekend, he talked about his Judy.
Because I asked.
And he wept.
And I wept with him!
And I talked about my Al.

You see, I'm glad that he is still in love with her!
Because that means he does not give his heart casually!
He didn't to her -
and he hasn't to me!
His love for her is deep and abiding.
It will last a lifetime.
As it should!
And his love for me is deep and abiding.
It will last a lifetime.
As it should!
Once a person has truly loved, it is always there!
Falling in love with another is in addition to,
not in place of!
His deep love for Judy,
his grief over the loss of her,
gives me security.
It is the same in reverse.

I know someone who thinks it's disrespectful
of the new love to talk about the other love.
Believe me, it's not!
Judy is part of who my Lanny Love is!
I want to know everything about him!
That includes her!
My Al is part of who I am.
My Lanny Love wants to know everything about me.
That includes Al!

I haven't always understood this!
"Before", I knew a widower who had remarried.
He loves his beautiful, gentle, second wife so much!
And he loves his first wife still, many years later.
He would sometimes talk about her.
There were pictures and memorabilia of her around.
I used to feel so sorry for his second wife!
I used to say, "Not me, baby!"
Now I understand.
His second wife does not live in the shadow of the first,
she lives in the shade!

Now lest you think we spend all our time talking about our pasts,
we don't.
Shade is only enjoyed when the sun is shining.
Without the sunshine,
it is not shade, it is shadow, darkness.
The sunshine of our new lives
is warm and healing and wonderful
and where we spend the majority of our time.
But there will always be moments of shade.
Needed shade.

So why am I talking about this?
During our conversation this past weekend,
it occurred to me that there is a great parallel here.
True love does not die!
It is eternal!
No matter what!
When they were difficult,
we loved them.
When they were easy,
we loved them.
When they were dull,
we loved them.
When they were exciting,
we loved them.
Now they are gone from us,
and we love them.
No, love never dies.
Except it did!
While we were unlovable,
Love died for us on a cross!
Jesus' undying love,
was so deep,
that He chose to offer Himself
a physical sacrifice for our sin!

Of the many lessons of grief,
The lessons in love are my very favorites!

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
                                                                                                    ~~ John 15:13 NLT ~~ 

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: 
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 
                                                                                                  ~~ Romans 5:8 NIV ~~ 

Friday, August 7, 2015

I love you!

I learned of a new widow today.

I also had the opportunity to minister
to a man whose wife of many years
received a terminal diagnosis today.

My Lanny Love has been out of the country
for 15 days.
He is on the way home and is,
this moment,
on layover in Paris.
Why that bothers me is irrelevant
outside of the fact that
it brings up great loss for me
which has made me even more anxious
to have him home,
more eager to look into his face to say
"I love you!"

These three things,
and a comment someone made to me a while ago,
have made me decide to talk about saying
"I love you!"

I say "I love you!" a lot!
I say it to my Lanny Love often throughout each day.
I say it to my kids every single time
I see or talk to them.
I say it to my grandchildren every single time
I see or talk to them.
I say it to my siblings.
I say it to my best friend.

And I like to hear it!
A lot!

I have someone in my life
who thinks I say it too much.
I'm not sure why they think that,
there was no explanation offered
and I didn't ask.
I tried to cut back saying it to that person though.
It hasn't worked out very well.
Because I really love them.
And I have to make a conscious effort
to not say it so often.
Perhaps they think I say it casually.
Or out of habit.
Or just as something to say.
I don't.

When I say it,
I mean it.
When I say it,
I am feeling it.


So, I've been thinking about it.
And today, as my heart hurts for these two individuals
who are grieving the loss of their spouse;
as I wait for my Lanny Love to return to me;
as I think about the loss of my precious Al,
my mother-in-law,
my grandma,
and others over the last two years,
I have decided that I won't cut back or stop saying
"I love you!"
to those I love.

Here's the thing.
Never once have I thought to myself,
"Gee, I really wish I hadn't told Al
that I loved him so often!"
"Golly, he said that a lot!
I sure got tired of hearing it!"
But a million times in the last 2 1/2 years
I've wished he could hear me say it one more time,
that I could hear him say it one more time.
Just once more.
But once more wouldn't be enough!
I'd want one more after that!
And one more after that!
So say it I will!!!

And I hope you will say it too!
Because one day, you'll wish you could say it ~
just one more time!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

58 and still learning

I am in my 59th year.
It is less than two years until my 60th birthday.
I used to think that was old.
Really, really old!
I no longer do.

Oh yes, I feel a few more aches and pains than I did in my younger years.
I have developed a few lines I didn't used to have.
My hair has grown some, ahem, natural highlights.
But I am not old.
I aged a lot in the last just over three years.
Grief does that.
Still, I look decent for a 58 year old woman.
I feel wonderful most of the time.
And my mind and heart are still 25!
So even though I am 58, I am not old!

I have discovered the fountain of youth!
The anti-aging treatment to beat them all!
No, it's not a cream!
Or a pill!
Or a diet!
Or an exercise program!
It's something that happens inside of you.
It's probably a little different for everyone -
though the foundation is the same.

You may remember that in January,
I decided to begin choosing joy.
That's not always easy!
And I did a LOT of self-talking at first -
still do from time-to-time.
But God and I have returned me to my joy.

It is not the same joy I once had.
Innocence has been lost.
We lose innocence often throughout our lives.
But with the loss comes gain:




Personal growth

Spiritual growth

I am a different person today than I was three years ago.
A much different person!
And that is neither good nor bad.
It's just different.
Everything is in a constant state of flux,
including us!
Some changes I have embraced and welcomed.
Others, I have fought, pushed away, run from, ignored.
But nonetheless, I have changed.

I often hear people wishing they could go back in time.
I don't wish that.
Would I change some things if I could?
In my humanness, certainly!
I wouldn't have any losses or the resulting anguish!
But that would have put me in a different place than I am today.
And that would mean not having the growth that has resulted!
While I can't say that I've always enjoyed the journey,
my location is good,
and I am certainly looking forward to where God is taking me!
I miss the people that I've lost and
I still don't understand!
But I love the people that I've gained!

I guess I am truly learning, as Paul admonishes,
to be content in all circumstances,
to accept God's will for my life even when it feels unpleasant to me,
to accept His wisdom in what He allows -
and disallows -
who and what He brings into my life -
and takes out.
It is not an easy path.
But then lack of acceptance wouldn't make it any easier after all -
believe me!

I know.
You say it's easy for me to be content right now.
I am in love.
But my Lanny Love is far, far away at this moment in time.
And, I still have life problems -
just like everyone else -
even though I'm in love.
And even in love,
I don't know what tomorrow holds
for loved ones are not here forever.

Here is what I know.
God has a plan.
I am living His plan.
And that is exactly where I want to live!

Fifty-eight years old.
It certainly took long enough for me to arrive at the obvious!

I have learned to be satisfied with the things I have
and with everything that happens.
I know how to live when I am poor,
and I know how to live when I have plenty.
I have learned the secret of being happy at any time
in everything that happens,
when I have enough to eat
and when I go hungry,
when I have more than I need
and when I do not have enough.
I can do all things through Christ,
because He gives me strength.
                                    ~~ Philippians 4:11-13 NCV ~~ 

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him,
and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise Him.

                                                                 ~~ Psalm28:7 NIV ~~