Just a couple of years ago a friend of mine lost her husband unexpectedly. My husband drove us to the memorial – a short drive across a short town – not a lot of time to prepare words. I had only seen her a few times since returning to my hometown. I spent the night at her house once or twice in middle school We laughed as we spied on her sister kissing her boyfriend in the driveway. I remembered that silly youthful moment as we pulled into the funeral home. Who was I to now approach her in her deepest sorrow…the loss of her husband?
In line to approach her, I wondered again what in the world I would do or say. She was sitting because she couldn’t stand. The sitting made it all the more challenging. What do you say to someone so distraught that she must sit? I did the only thing that felt appropriate and what is appropriate in these circumstances? I knelt down in front of her. There was never a moment to wonder if it seemed strange. She grabbed me and said my name through tears. After my feeble attempt to say, “I’m sorry”, she grabbed me hard and shook me a bit and got very clear and serious. She said strongly as if she were begging me, “Love him. Love your family.”
How does one give at a moment when it would feel is if they have nothing left to give? Where does the strength come from to shake another to make sure they know not to waste a moment with the precious ones in life…to see their life with new eyes.
Haven’t we all been told to cherish our moments and hasn’t that advice been from those who have lost someone dear to them? I have been told that the pain is so great in loss that you want to make sure others don’t experience some of it. And some of that is the loss of moments. Moments that can’t be brought back that were not cherished.
That is the goodness in the midst of the terribleness of it all. That suffering brings with it new eyes. The gift of new eyes to see how precious life is.
I have been so thankful for my friend who gave me a fresh perspective on my life and kids that day…the day she shook me. Because during that season I wasn’t taking great joy in the day to day duties of caring for my family.
I still need to be shaken once in a while.
The daily needs of homemaking and homeschooling add up and sometimes overwhelm…and sometimes they outweigh the thankful moments.
Last night was one of those moments on one of those days where the needs outweighed my praise and thankfulness. The kids were at the table making crafts and I was washing dishes. Ruthie, my 3 year old said, “Mommy, do you think sometimes…” She stammered and I knew when she started it and as I waited for the rest that the Lord was going to use her to speak something into my life. I waited for the other shoe to drop and then, “Do you think sometimes you are unthankful?”
My heart melted and I was in awe that she had insight into the root of my problem at that moment. I asked her why she would say that and she answered, “Because you don’t seem happy.” I asked her who might have told her that unthankfulness makes people unhappy and she answered, “You mama.”
This always strikes my heart hard…when my child can speak into my life because of what she sees. So I will do as a friend once told me to do: BEGIN TO BEGIN AGAIN. And maybe it has only been a week or so since I’ve gotten sidetracked but…a week is full of thankful moments and a week without thanks can feel like a season.
So I begin to see with new eyes again…the way people see when they’ve experienced loss and know what it means to cherish a person and the good things in life. I will begin again to give more thanks in more moments because each moment and each breath is a precious gift. I will do it for my friend who begged me to. I will do it for my family. Most importantly…I’ll do it for my God…because He is the giver all of this.
The living, the living – they praise you, as I am doing today; fathers tell their children about your faithfulness. -Isaiah 39:19