Thursday, August 31, 2017

#52, August 31, 2015, The Dark

Have not been sleeping well—I fall into bed deeply tired, but too soon wake up dull and not rested. It’s hard to go back to sleep. Feel heavy from thick, troubling dreams I can’t specifically remember but whose dark mood lingers.

I look for God to lift me, but keep finding the urge to repent instead. That, and a reminder to recall His prior blessings. He is the same God now as He was before, after all. These days just feel dark.

Image: Shutterstock

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

#51, August 29, 2015, The Look of the Future

Restless and tense two nights running. Afraid of the future. 

Dave starting another round of physical rehab next week, and talking to Zach and Jeremy about remodeling the bathroom in five or six months. Will he be alive in 6 months? Will he be able to use the downstairs bathroom at all during the construction? Even listening to Bryan’s fitful sleep, his snoring, scares me. Anyone visiting, even family, outside our accustomed circle unnerves me. 

I want it to be over. I don’t want it to be over.

Dave’s sister Audrey, after having lost her own husband, looks so worn. Tired of coping. What wore her out? What came before or today’s grief? Probably both. And I’ve started planning for what comes after already. Is that wrong? I hope not. I do know that it sometimes settles me a little. I just don’t want to have to face it all later, afterward. 

But I don’t have to figure it all out today. I can have a short term plan too—like making breakfast, painting the new pantry door, and watching the Packers tonight. It’s doable. Maybe I’ll try to nap.
And I have to trust God for everything else. 


Saturday, August 26, 2017

#50, August 26, 2015, Holding all the Threads

Yesterday, Dave ate two protein shakes and three bites from a hamburger all day—and he coughed and coughed. We met Dave and Gayle in Madison and she took one look at him and started to cry.

Today, I read a psalm pleading with God to help, but I do not find myself asking for help. I ask for faith to get through this. Faith and strength in You, God. I feel afraid today.

Dave’s best friend is coming for breakfast today, and his sister comes in town tomorrow for three days. An echocardiogram tomorrow, then I told someone I’d go shopping for a car with them on Sunday or Monday. After that, Dave’s other sister comes at the end of the week. 

Trying to keep all the threads in my hands without letting go and wondering whether Dave will live to another birthday. 

Image: Hobbycraft blog

Friday, August 25, 2017

#49, August 25, 2015, The Promise of Heaven

Long term thinking does more than help me make better decisions. It helps me remember the promises of God for heaven. It helps me recall the perfection of what God has promised and that the best days this life can offer can never approach the bliss of what is coming. I have lost some of this hope and I must get it back.

I am wondering today whether the injustice at our old church has worn on Dave enough to contribute to his weariness—whether he is sicker now because that happened then. It’s possible. I know it still weights heavily on him. There’s nothing to be done about it now, of course, but it does make me think about all of those times in a different way.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

#48, August 23, 2015, Perching on a Candle

I’ve lapsed into a pattern that isn’t helping at all. In watching Dave decline, I’ve clung to my own life in a way I haven’t done in a long time. It’s almost like being in a desert out of the midst of which I’m trying to find some life. And while I do this, I’m letting go of God.

I have to start from the beginning again. I have to repent. I have to see my fault and face it. I have to stop doing the same thing over and over. It’s not longer life I need, but more life, eternal life, and I can only find it in an eternal God.

I try to figure out how I got here sometimes and it always comes back to the same thing—short term thinking. Trying to relieve the present discomfort or unhappiness with the most obvious outlet. I have to stop. I have to live for the longer view, and certainly at this point, physical life is not the long view. I’m perching on an ever-burning candle, trying to keep cool while the stub I’m sitting on gets hotter and hotter every day. More candle is not the answer. A safe place to land is.

There is no answer, no solution, to my situation. It can’t be fixed. When I was unhappy at home, I didn’t equip myself for an independent future, but married a man I didn’t love. When I was unhappy with him, I didn’t learn anything from my situation. Instead, I moved in with someone exciting. I never once in all of these changes did an honorable thing. When I got tired of being possessed but not celebrated, I looked again to yet another man, and finally then had the wit to see that no man had the answer I was looking for. Same thing happened with money. I loved making a lot of it, but what I had to do to get it stripped my spirit bare.

You gave me more than life, God. In some ways, You gave me the first life I’d known. But almost immediately afterward, You dismantled its architecture to show me that You could make it stand anyway—stand still if I have no church, no job, no marriage. This is why I cry to you, because although I have friends and family to love me, there is no one but You to help.

 Image: Pinterest

Sunday, August 20, 2017

#47, August 20, 2015, Leveling Off

This is the next in the series of transcriptions from my journal, written during the last year of Dave's life:

Somehow, things have leveled off—it feels like we are on a plateau of sorts that is less vulnerable.

A new normal  revealed itself when I wanted to take Carol to Iowa to see her new granddaughter and Dave declared he didn’t need a babysitter. Indeed, he didn’t. I left him overnight and he was fine. More than that would not have been as fine, but he had food and didn’t have to do much. 

If he sleeps, he’s pretty OK. If he doesn’t sleep, he’s pretty rough and weak. And we’ve had a few cooler days when he’s slept. That is good.

So my leash is a bit longer that I thought it was and I’m using the extra length with a degree of comfort—on both our parts. And it’s funny that Dave’s ability to see me make good decisions without input from him has helped, too. Also good. 

I don’t know how long these times will last, but I’m grateful for them.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

#46, August 13, 2015, Which Greater Love?

 This is the next in the series of transcriptions from my journal, written during the last wonderful, sad year of Dave's life:

Where is the greater love? Is it in the flush of romance, when the beloved is beautiful and precious, ruddy and strong? When he reaches out for me with passion and burns to the touch? 

Or is it when every day is much like the one before, when the heaving landscape has smoothed into a plateau and no adventure promises? Weakness and kindness walk hand in hand in this place, and memory fills the territory anticipation once held. 

There is no answer to this. It just is, and I must be content. Otherwise, I will be condemned to ingratitude. 

No matter how I feel, God is here. He has laid down this path for me because He loves me. I must walk it because I love Him. 

I feel a fresh breeze.

Image: from our family album, taken circa 1979

Monday, August 7, 2017

#45, August 7, 2015, Releasing the Stranglehold

This is the next in the series of transcriptions from my journal written during that last wonderful sad year of Dave's life:

Something changed when I thought about yielding to God. Something let go. I don’t know what, but I’m not as tied up. 

First, it seems now like this season may be longer than I wanted or planned. I understand it is more out of my hands than I did before and the living I do in it is not so strangling. Sometimes, when Dave coughs those deep, wracking coughs or is so weary he can hardly walk, it’s easy to get annoyed or discouraged, but there are equal times of easier days.

Making decisions regarding what he wants for his future is going to be very helpful. He is deciding now, so I don’t have to. It sets me free, free enough that I have already decided, and continue to decide, what I am willing to do.

I think I have released at least a part of my stranglehold on our lives, and I can breathe a bit. So thankful for this respite, this time of greater ease.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

#44, August 3, 2015, What Would Happen?

This is the next in the series of transcriptions from my journal, written during that last, sad, wonderful year of Dave's life.

Thinking this morning about how desperately I’ve been trying to control what is happening around me, and how miserably I fail. 

Yesterday’s lesson in church was about how God is the Bread of Life. He provides constantly for me in real, palpable ways. He feeds me. He keeps me safe. He goes before me in trouble. But I don’t let Him.

What would happen if I finally yielded to God? I can hardly imagine.
I would say:
I am not responsible for Dave—his happiness, his health.
I cannot plan either for the rest of his life or my own after he goes.
I cannot rely on our savings for my financial well being.
I must spend more energy on responding to what is happening than planning for what may never happen.
I must be content with not knowing and learn to trust.

I don’t know any of these things.
I do not serve either God or Dave by doing. I serve them by believing and trusting.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

#43, August 2, 2015, The Problem of Unlearning

This is the next in the series of transcriptions from my journal, written during the wonderful sad last year of Dave's life.

Sometimes I just want to be done with this, but even as I think that, am not reconciled with what that means. 

Dave is not done, is not ready, and I can’t imagine what it must be like to be him. His life has wrung itself out more than mine, that’s true, but I don’t think he loves his life any less than I do.

Yesterday, he wanted to invite his cousin to come stay here overnight. I have never met this cousin and suddenly he feels this new attachment to him and a list of other cousins he’s never met. I told him that I didn’t feel up to it when in truth I just tired of all the fuss around entertaining strangers. Maybe I should be willing to give it a try, but I just don’t want to.

I can’t imagine a world, my world, without Dave in it. In fact, I can’t have one. Dave and I have been together 37 years and I think of how each thing I do every day will affect him. Everything. Every day. I will never shed that habit. Never. 

A widow, then, must be alone only in the physical sense—the old practical concerns no longer apply. But the thought processes—I will never have enough time to unlearn those.