Friday, November 1, 2013

Day 149


November 1, 2013


Day 149


I see the date and I realize that it was 9 years ago tonight that the boys and I were in a car accident.  In fact, that was my last accident, unless I count the deer I hit a few years ago.  I don’t because that was not my fault.  Deer are just dumb, particularly when they do things like run right in front of moving vehicles.  But this accident…oh-h-h.  We had just moved out here a few weeks earlier.  I had been invited to a ladies’ Bible study at the church we ultimately ended up joining and I wanted to go.  I was lonely – didn’t know anyone here yet.  Paul had to work late so he said he’d meet me at the church and pick up the boys from there.  It was raining, Ben was doing something in the backseat that distracted me, I was on some unfamiliar country roads – and I missed a stop sign and broadsided a car.  Eventually, Paul made his way to where I was and I little fearful of what he would say.  That same year I had already totaled another van and had been in a minor accident with another and now this!  He got to the site where the front end of my lovely red van was a crumpled mess.  He took me in his arms and asked, “Are you ok?”  I blubbered that I was and he said, “Don’t worry about it – it’s just a van.”  And suddenly, everything was ok, even though we were now minus a vehicle, I had a ticket from the policeman for running the stop sign, and there was a good chance our auto rates were about to go up.  That’s the kind of guy he was.


The last couple of days have been so rough.  I keep waiting to feel better and while there are better days, they never last.  Does grief never really go away?  Do we only learn to cope, but never completely recover?


Yesterday was Lizzie’s birthday.  That part wasn’t so bad, since Paul was only here for one of her birthdays.  But it was Halloween, too, and that was actually kind of hard.  While Halloween has never been a huge deal for us, it was something we usually let the kids participate in.  Paul got a kick out of it and was usually the one to take them trick or treating.  In fact, that reminds me: last weekend was our annual Swan Halloween bonfire and party.  The mayor was over in the morning, recruiting my kids for the haunted house and I tentatively asked him what his plans were for the hayrack ride.  I didn’t want to go if it was going to involve going through the cemetery.  The mayor said he’d already thought of that and had a different route in mind.  But then he looked at me and said, “But Sarah, you need to remember just how much Paul loved these parties!”  And he was right.  And I instantly felt better.  But I was still relieved when we didn’t go through the cemetery. 


The day just felt so “off.”  It seems odd to celebrate anything, whether it’s a minor holiday or something big, like a birthday.  Having 3 small children hyped up on candy, costumes, birthday cake, and excitement didn’t help either…


I ran across one of Paul’s white tees yesterday.  I gave most of them to my friend who is sewing quilts for us out of Paul’s clothing.  But I kept this one and I’ve slept with it since his death.  Every so often I’ll toss it in the laundry and so far, it’s kept its scent – that unique Paul smell.  I discovered it in my laundry basket as I unloaded it and I greedily pulled it to my nose, eager to smell him again.  But when I did, it cut me like a knife.  What was supposed to bring comfort brought pain.  Why?


I did my shopping today.  It was fun to buy a dvd player for the basement.  Will worked a lot this week and the basement is pretty much serviceable now, the way Paul and the rest of us had dreamed about it.  We have it divided up into “areas” now – the office area, the food area, a play area, and the tv area (hence the need for the new dvd player).  I ordered some area rugs and am hoping they arrive soon.  Surprisingly, Will was very particular about which ones I chose. Why does he care so much, I wonder?  He’s leaving home in less than a year and I’m the one who will have to live with these choices for the next 30 years or so!  We hung up the shelves Paul had made.  We even discovered one that he had made from the top of our old piano.  Paul was so creative!  I don’t think he had ever actually hung that one – just made it and stuck it in the basement for future use.  I was hoping to get rid of at least one of Paul’s three John Deere cabinets but the boys are insistent that they stay.  They will – for now.  It feels kind of funny to be enjoying the fruits of Paul’s planning and it makes me feel bad that he will never enjoy it.


Anyway, while shopping, I had to get a birthday card for Will.  So many of them say things like, “our son,” or “we’re so thankful…”  I never had reason to notice that before.  It was hard to find one with the right message that was singular in its usage.  And that hurt.  Not only have my kids lost their dad, but now the choice of cards I can give them has been dramatically reduced.


So it’s been painful.  Walking through Walmart I was so heavy-hearted that I found myself crying out to God for some relief.  I don’t want to feel this bad anymore!  I can’t function, I cannot think, I only feel.  And what I feel hurts.  Immediately, though, upon praying, the song, “Count Your Blessings” popped into my head.  My first response was, “Really?!”  It’s so easy to want to slip into a Poor Me mode and to focus only on what has been lost and is now denied.  So I’m pretty sure that the thought of that song was a direct answer from God.  I literally did the rest of my shopping while singing under my breath.  From that song I went into “Have Thine Own Way Lord” and found myself alternating back and forth between the two.  It helped.  I could keep putting one foot in front of the other and doing what I needed to do by forcing my thoughts to turn Heaven-ward.


I don’t want to be thankful.  I find it hard to be grateful.  But I wonder if it is this that the Psalmist refers to as a “sacrifice of praise.”  Perhaps the ultimate form of worship is to be  utterly crushed and broken but still able to say, “I praise You” – and to mean it.


When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

    • Count your blessings, name them one by one,
      Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
      Count your blessings, name them one by one,

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings money cannot buy- Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.



1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you've been hit by several grief waves.
    Sometimes the reprocussions can last days.

    Yet God also gave you a peace wave inside it.
    Giving you songs and a focus through the pounding waves.

    Sometimes it seems like we will drowned in the waves.
    Just remember the LORD will not allow that. He has his unbreakable hold on us.
    In time and after some more healing, they won't hit you as often in the face. Though they still will come.

    Keep holding on to the Master's hand and breathing through them.
    One prayer at a time, one breathe at a time, one moment at a time.