Tuesday, May 01, 2012

1st May 2012

I’ve been thinking about the direction my life is going. Of course I’ve never been here before so everything’s new; I’m in very unfamiliar territory. And as often as not it’s a bit like the quite random sign someone posted on a tree on one of my walks. It wasn’t intended for me, I had no idea what it was about, though presumably some sort of children’s activity. It was just there one time. But all around me, all the time there are signs designed to cause me to engage in whatever is being promoted. I just had a double glazing guy knocking on my door, leaving me with a leaflet in my hand. I know I need replacement windows, but they’re just not on my ‘to do’ list right now, so I’m not going in that direction just yet. There are lots of things I could be doing and many of them are actually quite a good idea. A few I most certainly should avoid, as always. But at the moment I only have one focus, the Lord has told me to complete my grief journey and then I can move on. I’d like to think another few weeks, May 24th specifically, and I want to take a definite step into the new life God has for me. I don’t know how it could happen but wouldn’t it be good to transform the anniversary of Jane’s death into the beginning of my new life? Jane began her’s almost a year ago, now it’s my turn! It might be good to be travelling then and make space for the Lord to speak.

I need to work out how to move on. But bereavement is a very individual journey, and the way other’s deal with this major life issue is not necessarily helpful. Encouraging, maybe, as I recognise the unbelievable emotional torture that many in a similar situation have successfully walked through before rebuilding their broken lives. Yes, I’m not the first person to be widowed, and the reality is that in almost every successful marriage one partner will, sooner or later, have to face the same challenge. It’s part of life. We all have to die sometime. It’s tempting to think that premature death is particularly difficult to deal with, I’m not sure about that as at least I’m young enough to have a second chance at building life… under my own steam, in my own way, as it were. My parents have been together for 63 years and are very dependent upon each other, increasingly needing support from family. When my dad was recently hospitalised they simply clung to each other in desperation. My faith journey defines me as a person, and as I walk through the challenge of life I know that Jesus Christ is always right there alongside me, guiding my steps and guarding my way. His comfort, his peace, his grace means everything to me. I know that his purpose is my purpose for life and I wouldn’t want to live without him, there’d be no point! But sometimes, and I’ve said this before, I need a hug. Nothing more, just a hug… and truth be told there’s nothing quite like a wifely hug. There may be no marriage in heaven but I just cannot believe there’ll be no hugs. That’s the way God made us!

Anyway, direction, where to find it and which way are the signs pointing? With one qualification I firmly believe that we should always follow our heart. I never enjoy, or even engage fully in any activity I don’t really want to. Of course sometimes we have to recognise duty or respect to others and turn out to all manner of events we’d rather not, I’m not talking about passing activities of that kind as they usually turn out fine anyway. Occasionally though, an apparently simple decision can change our whole future… like when I asked Jane to join me on a trip to the coast for our first date. Before that I’d made a number of life-decisions that were not so good and which I’ll always regret. So, as I was saying, follow one’s heart. And my quite fundamental qualification is that my heart should first and foremost be filled with the love of God. Then and only then can I trust that I’m truly walking with the Lord and that he will direct my paths. Yes the Lord Jesus came to set me free and give me a full life… even in the midst of bereavement. And as I focus upon him he will restore my love of life.

Revelation 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.’ (NLT)

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