Saturday, August 17, 2013

Day 73


August 17, 2013

Day 73

Some church men are outside digging out  our basement.  I feel so humbled to know that they are giving up time with their families in order to do some really hard work on my house – and that I’ll never be able to re-pay them for their time and efforts.  Will is hanging over the levers of the borrowed bobcat, looking a little green around the gills.  He came back from camp yesterday and has some sort of virus – probably the flu, I’d guess.  Our pastor even came out for a couple of hours just to observe.  I’m ever conscious of the fact that I don’t live close to anyone.  It is a half hour trek for nearly everyone to come out to my house.

I am being suddenly struck anew with the realization that I am now a single parent.  This summer was kind of a flux time.  I missed Paul, but I didn’t feel quite terribly alone.  I was being carried those first terrible weeks.  Now, though, I am preparing for a new school year.  I am beginning to make some mental organizational plans for how the school year and days will go.  I’m organizing my entire house – the paperwork, Paul’s things, even my menus.  My feet are slowly beginning to test out the ground again. Yesterday I packaged up the contents of Paul's pockets…as I commented on Facebook, it’s funny how something so important to a man can take up such little space in the end.  All it took was a quart sized ziplock bag.  In it went his keys, his wallet, his pocketknife, wrench, and some thingy Will said is for valve stems on tires.  His little plastic box that he kept his drugs and herbs in – it’s all in this bag now.  I put it in my cedar chest.  I was practical enough, however, to pocket his change and dollar bills!  He had $18 in his wallet, which was unusual for him.  But anyway, it’s all part of the organizing of my new life, which brings me to the single parent thing.  It’s just really hitting me that I am on my own.  And I have – count them – six children!  I could do one, maybe two – but a whole half dozen, by myself?

I struggle with this because I know God never designed children to be raised by single mothers.  It happens and the kids can turn out ok, but it was never part of God’s perfect plan.  Children need both a mother and a father and I cannot help but believe that without one or the other, children’s lives will be poorer and they will forever suffer the deficit of not having had a mother or a father.

But yet…was God there or not there in our bedroom in the early morning hours of June 6?  Did He not know that by allowing Paul to die it would leave me alone with the kids?   I was praying about this again last night.  My prayers tend to have a bit of a panicky edge to them when it comes the subject of being a single mom.  Immediately, though, I heard from God with the same words He has told me before when crying about this,

Trust Me.

And then verses began crowding into my mind…”Have I not commanded thee?  Be strong and of good courage, for the Lord Thy God is with thee wherever thou goest…””But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall walk and not faint, they shall run and not grow weary,” “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.”…

And then this morning my devotions were in Luke 12.  Verse 32 says, “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”  Do not fear – do not fear – do not fear.   This parenting alone may end up being my biggest faith stretcher.  I do not see how it will possibly work.  But yet, if I believe that God is all-powerful, then I also have to believe that He will help me and He will fill in the gaps for the kids that are there because of Paul’s death.

Earlier this week I wrote about Lizzie’s eagerness for me to get a replacement for her dad.  I was mentioning that to someone and they pointed out to me that that has been her life.  Her birth father walked away.  At the same time, she was given a foster father.  Then, eventually, she left that home, was in a not-so-great situation for 7 weeks, and then came to us, where she had her third father.   Every time she has lost a dad, she’s gotten a new one.  Of course she thinks it’s time for me to find someone new for her!

Will is home now for good.  But it’s becoming more and more clear to me that he’s flown the coop, mentally.  So I may say I have six kids to raise, but I really only have five.  Although, I think 18 year olds still need some guidance, no matter how grown they may think they are.  He gave his notice yesterday at Hy-Vee and is intent on finding a full-time job now.  He mentioned that there is a good possibility he may be able to get on full-time with Camp next summer.  While happy for him, the thought made my heart plummet.  I just got him home and he’s talking about leaving again!  And he is very intent on attending Faith a year from now.  So I have him for 9 months, it sounds like and that will only be evenings and weekends.  With as many friends as he has, I probably will have to wait my turn in line even then.  He has his own life and I can’t be depending on him.

I had a random idea this week.  I want to buy a Christmas ornament for Paul this year.  It needs to be something special.  But it occurred to me that I should also get one for each of the kids.  That way when they leave home they will have a commemorative ornament for their own trees.  Most of the time my brain seems to be functioning in a complete fog, but every so often a stroke of brilliance cuts through the confusion.  I think this is one of them!

I’ve been giving some thought lately to what things would be like if I had been the one to die instead of Paul.  I can’t help but believe the family would be worse off.  I don’t say that pridefully, but just honestly…Well, worse off maybe in a different way.  We did lose our breadwinner, our spiritual hub, the one who kept the house and vehicles in repair – pretty significant stuff.  But if I had died?  There would have been no life insurance.  I do have some now, but I didn’t.  It wasn’t for lack of trying, but having a stroke on your medical record makes underwriters nervous.  My kids would have had to go to public school.  I kind of have a feeling Paul would have given up the girls, as much as he loved them.  He would have been clueless about our money.   My kids would have been very pathetic looking in public because he was not one to pay attention to pant lengths or the repair of clothing.  I have tons of tubs in the basement with clothes for the kids as they get bigger but he would not have known what to do with them.  And what about cooking?  Although…I say all that.  But it occurs to me as I hear the roar of the machinery outside my window, that just as the men of the church are making up for Paul’s absence by doing what he would have done, I have a feeling the women in the church would have stepped forward to help him in the areas that were my domain. So perhaps losing me would not have been as big of a tragedy as I like to think it would have been.

I remember attending a funeral a few years ago for my friend, Julie, who died at 38 of cancer.  As we were getting close to home, Paul asked me what stuck out in my mind from the funeral.  We both agreed that the picture slide show had been very poignant.  In fact, it was because of Julie’s funeral that I requested to have that same thing at Paul’s viewing.  I just remembered what a special touch that was.  Paul said he had a hard time watching that.  He pulled into the driveway and I then realized he had tears in his eyes.  He said roughly, “So don’t you ever do that to me, ok?!”  I agreed – I would never die on him.  I should have made him promise me the same thing…



This picture is purely for entertainment purposes.  I discovered it the other night when uploading camp pictures.  The kids and I were amusing ourselves on the docks while Will and Ben took their jet ski ride by taking pictures.  David wanted one of just the two of us but Lizzie, being her demanding self,  insisted on sticking her face in the camera's range.  I guess David had had enough of that!  I like the way Sam is poking his head over the top, quizzically, wondering what is going on, too!
























































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