Saturday, November 23, 2013

Day 171


November 23, 2013


Day 171


What a day…I had a list of things to get done and it actually looked like I might accomplish nearly everything on my list.  But then Will said, “Hey, Mom – you can start painting now.  I’m done sanding.”  So then I thought I’d intersperse painting the living and back room with my list, still accomplishing most.  And then our friend came over who had volunteered to help us with the carpet.  He measured up the rooms and the next thing I knew we had decided that this coming Wed. would be carpet-laying day.  So that meant Will and I had to dash off to Menards and spend a frightful amount of money (but far less than we would have if we had paid someone to lay the carpet, as I had planned).  And then we got home and our friend came back and helped even out the floor.  I painted and painted and painted and will be painting tomorrow and probably most of Monday.  But by this time next week, I will have furniture in place on my new carpet and maybe even my stuff hung back on the walls - ??  And I will be content…


This meant that David ended up caring for the Littles most of today.  He commented to me tonight, “You’d better hope those kids don’t start calling me ‘Mom’!”  Yes, I guess I have relied on him quite a bit…


It doesn’t look like we’re going to be able to burn wood.  I am so disappointed and a bit heartsick.  We sunk a ton of money and time into that thing, buying double-walled pipe.  There’s just nothing like the heat from a wood fire, too.  Plus, it saves a lot of money!  I just got my next year’s bill from Mid-American and my electricity jumped $33 a month.  Now, to have to pay a lot more in propane - ! Ugh!!  But, yesterday we nearly had a house fire.  I was gone and Will smelled something burning.  He went down to the woodburner and found that double-walled pipe glowing orange.  It’s not supposed to do that.  He ended up having to put out the fire with the fire extinguisher and a hose from outside.  Boy, I wish there was some way to still be able to use that thing.  If Paul were here, he’d know just what to do!


I wrote recently about having a mini-meltdown while driving the van one recent afternoon.  I found myself battling tears again tonight out of the blue, as well.  I fought them back because I have no desire to freak the children out.  On one hand, I don’t think it’s a bad thing that they see me cry from time to time.  That may give them the feeling that they, too, have “permission” to break down.  But at the same time, they are looking to me for strength and for the assurance that we are going to make it through this time.  If I’m a sodden mess all that time, that might not exactly inspire confidence in them.  Just this week in my widow devotional, the author talked about episodes like what I experienced in the van last week.  She explained that these times should not discourage us, but rather, we should draw encouragement from them.  Every time we break down, we also become strengthened and are better equipped to handle the next time sorrow engulfs us.  God helps us through each of those melt-downs, every prick of grief, and every time our hearts feel like they are being torn asunder once again.


Here is yesterday’s Facebook post.  This honestly happened just the way I wrote it.  I’m having some pretty intense kidney pain, which is why the dr sent me over to Mercy for an ultrasound.  I still haven’t heard back, so I don’t know if they found anything in there or not.  Since this has been an on-going, off and on, problem for two years, I rather suspect I’ll be getting a phone call next week letting me know that my kidneys are just fine and maybe I should just drink more water, and oh, would you like a prescription for an antibiotic?  Grr…But I do believe Thursday’s appointment was divinely directed, as much as I wished I could be somewhere else.


I had to have some unexpected testing done today at the hospital (I’ll be fine). As I was checking in, the person responsible for that reviewed my information on file. She asked, “And we have Paul as your contact person?” I hadn’t even thought about that…I shook my head and told her, “He’s dead.” Her breath caught and she began to tremble. As she fought tears, she kept saying, “I’m sorry, I’...m so sorry.” I was surprised and thought to myself that she was certainly a sympathetic person! Then, as tears began to fall she gasped, “Three years ago next Tuesday my husband died…heart attack…” and suddenly I was crying right there in the cubicle, too, for her loss and for my own. Later, she walked me down to the testing area and impulsively hugged me for the longest time – a complete stranger –in an attempt to assuage my pain and her own. It occurs to me, not for the first time, that grief creates a camaraderie amongst its survivors and that perhaps an integral part of our own healing comes only when we shoulder the hurts of others. I didn’t want to be at the hospital today, but God knew I needed to be there – for my sake, certainly, but also for this other hurting heart.



This morning I had the most amazing dream about Paul.  I don’t dream about him very often.  This dream was different than any of the times I have dreamed about him, though.  In fact, I awoke with a certain sense that God had visited me while I slept.  After I told David about the dream, he said almost the exact same thing.


In my dream, Paul and I were driving to church.  He was dressed in a suit, of course (dressing up for church was a big deal to him).  I don’t know how he came to be beside me in the van, but he was there and I was so happy to see him.  He seemed pleased to be with me, but it was different, somehow.  It’s kind of hard to explain, but while I knew he was happy to be with me, our relationship had changed.  It was no longer this desperate, lovers-reunited type of emotion.  What I felt emanating from him was a deep love, but it was more of a friendship, brotherly type of love, but laced with the knowledge that this man knew me and still knows me inside and out.  In my dream, I excitedly asked Paul if he wanted me to tell him about his funeral.  He just smiled at me in that enigmatic way he had sometimes and I knew in that moment that he already knew all about his funeral day.  So then I said, “Tell me about Heaven – what is it like?”  Paul’s face lit up and he told me it was the most wonderful place ever.  He said that one is continually surrounded by Scripture there.  He told me that it’s written on the walls of Heaven and that the angels chant it over and over again.  He said that the residents of Heaven often sing Scripture in praise to God.  Awakening later, I wondered, where did this come from?  I have never in my life heard anything like this that might have implanted itself in my mind, only to be released in a dream.


Paul told me that there are plenty of stars in Heaven, but no sun because all the light comes from Christ, that He simply shimmers with it.  I then asked Paul if he had met anyone “famous” yet.  He smiled and nodded his head, but when I pressed him as to who he had met, he remained silent and I knew he wasn’t about to drop names.


I asked Paul to tell me about his new mansion.  He told me that it wasn’t done yet!  This part of the dream I’m a little more dubious about.  It doesn’t make sense that God would call him to Heaven if his house wasn’t ready!  Concerned, I asked Paul where it is he sleeps.  He told me that he  has his own field and at night he lays down in the field and sleeps.  He said it was the most peaceful and wonderful rest he ever experienced. 


By this time we had arrived at church and we got out of the van.  Chattering, I exclaimed to Paul that everybody there was going to be so excited to see and talk to him.  I walked a few steps ahead of him and when I turned around to look for him behind me, he was gone. 


But I wasn’t sad in the dream that Paul had left.  I had this wondrous sense that he had been sent to me just for those few moments.  For comfort?  For reassurance?  I’m not really sure why.  But I awoke with a very sweet taste on my lips and a wondrous knowledge of how deeply I am loved.


And that is what I must focus on.  Things have been tough lately – this physical pain I’m in, the emotional pain of course, and, on top of that, I’ve had to deal wish some cruelty from others that I don’t feel equipped to handle very well right now.


 But through it all I am being very carefully and very thoroughly loved.
































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