So… we seem to have a lingering conversation around here. When my husband comes in the room or we end up standing around in our kitchen… it’s as if we just continue this ongoing conversation… a conversation that sort of lingers in our minds day after day — now, week after week.A neon green appointment card is attached to a sheet of paper that hangs on the clip by the back door. That clip has always been there and holds whatever needs to go out to the mail box or it occasionally holds a check for a delivery or, now, it holds appointment cards. For the c-a-r-d-i-o-l-o-g-i-s-t. I know, I know… soon this will be ‘old hat’ and we’ll move on. This, as do most other ‘big deals’ in our family, will soon be as ‘normal’ to us as other things that are part of normal, everyday living. But for now, all this cardiology stuff is not normal, everyday living to us. Actually, I think I subconsciously believe that pretty soon all this will be over and things will go back to the way they were (whatever that was!).
Isn’t it interesting that we think we’re strong in the Lord – that we trust Him implicitly, that we leave everything in God’s capable hands and yet… well, and yet we don’t, do we? We intend to be faithful: honouring God in all we think, say, and do and yet, when life doesn’t turn out the way we thought it would, we falter.
I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I’ve been thinking of the way I always thought things would be… the way I thought things would end up. And things aren’t or haven’t quite turned out that way.
Eight years ago today was my father’s funeral service. I would have thought I’d have my father a long, long time. I thought things would have ended differently than they did. But they didn’t. I remember standing there at his service… I was giving a message that I hoped would both honour him and honour the Lord. I spoke of his life, his death and eternal life in heaven. No doubt there were people present who knew the gospel message but had never trusted Jesus as Lord. No doubt there were people there that day who still do not trust Jesus as Lord. God knows. I just knew I had a small window of opportunity to share the gospel, to share of God’s love and eternal purpose for man and to succinctly present the gospel message: the gift of salvation and eternal life in Jesus.
That salvation is all the more precious to me as the years pass… especially years in which things turned out differently than I thought they would.
Our lingering conversations… what would you want me to do with ____________ ?
Three weeks ago, when my husband had a heart attack, it was such a surprising thing — surreal, almost. I thought it was such an odd thing that had occurred — like something in a movie, like something in older relatives’ lives, not something in my life — not something in my husband’s life. Something for older women… not for me. I never would have thought that this is the way things would turn out. I guess I actually thought my husband was invincible and that he would live on much longer than I will. And that may well still be the case… but somehow, now, I think not.
So, when things don’t turn out the way we thought they would, what do we do then?
You know what I’ve been thinking? Praise God. Praise God that He does not tell us in advance the things we have in our future. Praise His marvelous name that we do not know, in advance, the way He has planned for us. Would we love Him? Would we trust Him? Would we praise Him?
What do we do when things don’t turn out the way we thought they would? Well… I’ve been mulling this thought over and over. This is a lonely time. And now I see this sort of thing’s been lonely for several of my friends at other points in their lives. And I missed it. I overlooked their plight. It’s not a Joni Mitchell: “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone,” sort of time, but rather, it’s a lonely time – a no one knows/cares/understands what I’m going through sort of time. It’s a very personal sort of time; an “Omygoodness, my husband could have died and life as I knew it could have been over” sort of time. And only other women who’ve experienced the same thing can understand. And it’s a: wow, is life so over when it’s over –or– wow, is life so different when it’s different, sort of thing!!
So we have this lingering conversation. Wes walks into the room and another sentence is spoken. “By the way, _____________.
I come home and I say, I’ve been thinking…. if… well, if things go that way, then what should I do about ________________?
Day after day, sentences begin – with no introduction.
“Okay, so if _________, then what I will do is____________ and I will not________ and I will call_______ . Okay. No, I don’t want to get married to anyone else. No. I don’t want to think about___________ . Yes…. I will do that. Yes… I know, I will wait to do that. No, I don’t want to sleep with anyone else. Let’s forget all this happened. No, I will not change my mind.
A day passes… the conversation lingers.
“I have been with you longer than my whole adult life… and everything that’s happened to me has happened with you. I do not want to be alone to face the remainder of whatever’s going to happen to me and the children. And the conversation lingers…
He stands at the sink. “Her father had his first heart attack when she was six… the conversation lingers.
He stands at the cabinet. One bottle lid pops off, then another and another and so on until all the meds are in hand. Wow. What a difference a day makes. Into my once very ordered, very secure, very sure world… has come amber bottles with foreign names and expiration dates and warnings… Strange, what a difference a day makes.
The lingering conversations. Day after day.
“I want the older boys to know I’m proud of them.
The conversation lingers.
“I’ll always love you.
O, for heaven.