Friday, December 20, 2013

Day 198


December 20, 2013


Day 198


198 days?  Almost 200 – wow…and I’m 198 days closer to being reunited with Paul.  While a morbid thought, I know, it fills me with hope right now.  But other things do,  too (fill me with hope), so I’m not completely fixated on my own eventual death!

Our 2nd date - FBBC spring banquet - Apr. 1990 -posing for this picture was the 1st time we ever touched.  I still remember the thrill that ran through me when the photographer posed us!

My house is pretty quiet right now and it’s going to get quieter.  I’m excited!  My friend, Sarah, took my Littles this afternoon and will have them until early tomorrow evening.  Sarah does my hair and the girls’, from time to time.  She’s a single mom of 4, but wants to give ME a break.  At least I have teenagers to help.  Will is out of town hunting.  Ben is at school for another hour and David is quietly decorating a gingerbread house.  This evening I will run he and Ben over to the church for the youth group Christmas party.  And then I will have the house to myself for several hours!  I think I’m going to stop and get a movie and spend the evening sitting in my new recliner, not doing a single thing except entertaining myself and eating.  That sounds pretty self-absorbed, now that I read it!  But I’m still looking forward to those few hours.


I probably won’t write again until after Christmas.  I’m pretty much ready for the day.  My parents are coming down, which will be nice.  I had a friend take me aside the other night.  She informed me that her family was deliberately keeping their Christmas plans flexible so that if we needed them, they could be there for us.  How have I been so blessed?  I have received several financial gifts in the last week or so and I’ve also gotten a few cards and notes from friends, letting me know that they understand that this first Christmas has to be hard, but that they care and are praying.  I wonder if part of God’s bigger picture was simply to give me a reason to understand how loved I am – loved by Paul, certainly, but also by those around me.


And it has been rough.  I knew it would be.  The other night on Facebook  I listed a number of Christmas-related events that had occurred and gave me pause.  The first was that our Christmas program was last Sun. night.  This was the Cantata year (they alternate between a Sunday School kids program and a grown-up cantata).  Will participated and looked so handsome standing up there (no motherly pride involved at all, of course!)But  my eyes kept drifting over to the right side of the loft, where Paul always was and where he should have been this year, too.  David had a speaking part and did wonderful job.  He was SO scared and confessed to me that every time he practiced his knees wouldn’t keep shaking.  He’s more self-conscious, too, than other kids, so I know that made it more difficult.  But he did it anyway and oh, I was proud!  A woman told me later she knew Paul was proud, too.  He would have been.  And – maybe he got to witness the program, after all.

June '90- Worlds of Fun

They had the younger SS kids sing the first song with the choir.  I was busy snapping pictures, but I had several people tell me later they couldn’t take their eyes off Lizzie, who sang with complete gusto and knowledge of all the words.  I wasn’t surprised.  She is extremely bright and loves to sing.  Sam was up there twisting his arms around, up and down.  Oh, I was about ready to smack him!  But I laughed instead.  He’s 6.  If he’s still making distracting arm movements at 16, we’ll talk then!


Later, that night a man said to me that I “seem to be doing just fine” since Paul’s death.  Not really sure how to respond to that because I know I’m not doing “just fine”!  But I kind of hate to dispel this competent appearance I am apparently exuding, to some at least.  I had one of my Facebook friends point out to me, and I think she’s right, that there are people who want me to be doing “just fine.”  If they can convince themselves that I am fine then it relieves them of the burden of having to watch me struggle as I grieve.  That, of course, makes them feel helpless since they can’t take it away from me. 


We stopped at Paul’s grave on the way home.  I just wanted to be near his body.  You know, it only recently occurred to me that he’s not resting just underneath the surface of the ground.  All this time I’ve been thinking that the only thing that separates us is the coffin lid, the vault lid, and a layer of sod.  A few weeks ago, though, I suddenly realized that he’s way down in the ground (hence the term, “six feet under”!)!  Bummer.  I liked the idea of him being closer.  Lizzie called out, “Hi Daddy!  I singed in the program tonight!  I love you, I miss you!” And Ellie echoed, “Wub you, Daddy!”  Touching and so, so heartbreaking at the same time.



I finished up my Christmas shopping on Monday.  I took Sam and Lizzie with me so they could buy gifts for their siblings (the kids exchange names).  Sam had David’s name and when we got home, David asked, “So what did you get me, Sam?”  And Sam told him!  And then later, Will asked Lizzie the same thing and she told him what he’s getting!  ARgh.  I could just throttle these teenagers sometimes!


I bought a Soda Stream this week.  Paul had kind of wanted to get one and we just never got around to it.  I had started thinking more seriously about it in recent weeks and had been doing some research.  The kids are probably the main reason I went for it, though.  They all seem to have a real interest in keeping me alive these days.  It’s understandable.  But every time they see me drink pop (which is every day – I seem to need my fizz) someone invariably cries out, “Oh, Mom – you’re going to die if you keep drinking pop!”  That’s thanks to Will and David.  Neither has drunk pop for about 2 years now, which is great.  But they don’t need to drop comments about how I’m shortening my lifespan, either, especially in front of the Littles!  I was at Target on Monday and thought I’d just price their Soda Streams.  They just happened to be having a deal where if you bought one (for the same price I would have paid on Amazon) then you get a $20 Target gift card.  Plus, since I have a Target debit card I would automatically get another 5% off.  And there was one left.  And it was red.  I think I heard the voice of God.


Of course, the story of how hackers got into the Target card accounts broke two days later, and if my account has been compromised, then I will have lost all my savings that I gained by buying it now…


It’s working really well, though.  Tastes like pop, anyway!  And there’s no high fructose corn syrup, which is the best part and will hopefully prolong my life - for the kids' sake, anyway.



Sam told me that he no longer wishes his “real” name to be Samuel.  Instead, he wants to be “Samson” because “he’s way cooler, Mom!”  Maybe I should remind him how the Biblical Samson ended up?



Ben told me yesterday that he had dreamed about Paul the night before.  He couldn’t remember any details, but said it made him happy.


Oct. '90 - both of us 19 - we'd been together 6 mos. here
I received an encouraging note yesterday from Paul’s aunt in a Christmas card.  That was nice.  I also got a short letter from another relative.  In it, she commented several times how she just didn’t understand how God could “do this to you.”  It took me aback, because I had never once thought about Paul’s death in terms like that.  I wasn’t offended, but it did make me think.  I understand her heart.  She’s old and hurts not only because of Paul’s death but because of the position the kids and I have been put into.  It doesn’t make sense to her to have a young person like Paul taken out of the picture when there were so many that needed him.


So I’ve been thinking.  Of course I understand that Paul dying was not something a malicious God “did” to us.  But what was it, then?  In many ways, it was an act of mercy.  Paul dying at 42 means that he escaped so much.  Never will he deal with seizures ever again.  No more working, no more stress.  He will never experience any of the indignities that can come with old age and failing bodies.  Paul could have lived that night, but been terribly brain damaged as a result of the loss of oxygen.  What a tragedy that would have been.  Financially, we would have been ruined.  I would have had a tremendous burden placed on me.  And Paul would have been just as lost to me as he is now, being dead.


The thing is, God never promised us lives of ease upon becoming Christians.  One of my favorite verses is John 16:33 – “In this world you will have many troubles, but rejoice, for I have overcome the world!”  Troubles are pretty much guaranteed and come in a variety of forms.  It has to be that way when you live in a decaying, sin-sickened world.  Anything new and good is temporary, at best. 


But what we were promised was that when things around us fell apart, as they invariably do, is that God would be there to catch us, whispering words of love and comfort.  He would remind us that our current afflictions were so temporary - For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. ~2 Corinthians 4:17-18~


It isn't what He has done TO us.   All of this is possible because of what Christ did FOR us at Calvary.


Merry Christmas, Everyone! 


Merry Christmas to Paul, who celebrates this year, sitting at the scarred feet of Jesus.  I have a feeling that all our glittery celebrations down here pale to what he’ll be experiencing.  I’m a bit envious, really.


Merry Christmas, my Love…
















































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