The other night, after the dishes were washed and put away, Ryan and I sat in our big soaking tub, catching up after a long day of work, chaotic schedules, and managing a bunch of children. By the way, if you find it difficult to enjoy alone time with your spouse, draw a bath. Seriously, there is not a child alive who wants to acknowledge anything about that situation or be anywhere nearby when it’s occurring.
I exhaled and sighed, “I wish there was a way we could see a glimpse of what life would have looked like if our former spouses had lived. I’d just be curious.” And I paused for a second to really think through what that might look like. One or two of my children would most likely be all-stars in tennis and/or golf because their father was extremely talented in both sports. They probably would have grown up in the same hometown and attended the same school most of their lives. I assume Jason and I would still be married, and Mabel would have been the only daughter so her life would be drastically different without three sisters (at least our wedding budget would have been significantly lower!)
So many possible scenarios swirling about in my mind.
I continued, “And it’s funny, but I assume things would be great like it was “’supposed to be.’”
Ryan paused and then offered a different perspective, a very black-and-white perspective outside of his normal thought process that tends to see every single perspective from every single angle, yes, his gifts have to do with adaptability and peacemaking 😉
“No,” he replied, “this is how it’s supposed to be. They were always meant to be our children at this stage. God didn’t make a mistake.”
I suppose there’s a reason they say curiosity killed the cat.
After Jason died, I was given A Grief Observed, a book written by C.S. Lewis. I highly recommend it to anyone going through a period of deep grief and mourning. Lewis wrote that after his wife had passed away, he understood that their time together “had reached its proper perfection.”
That quote continues to resonate with me.
In my recent book, Lovin’ with Grit and Grace, I mention how I have moved numerous times in life; in fact, it’s been 11 times since I married Jason in 2000, and I have never returned to a home after I’ve moved away. Never driven by to see what the new owners might have done, never pulled it up on google maps, and never even been tempted to return or inquire about it. When I leave a place, I’m done. There are no “what ifs” and no looking back because when it’s time to say goodbye, I do believe that whatever the situation may be has reached its proper point of perfection in my life. Referencing back to last week’s post, the sap has reached 219 degrees – the point of completion.
It’s been a bit more difficult to practice this philosophy as my children age and carve out paths of their own. I’ve found that my grief has felt weightier (not more or less) just heavier like a dusty stable blanket dropped hard on my weary back. I so desperately want my children’s biological mother or father to see a glimpse of what wonderful people they have become in spite of having such difficult paths to navigate: a path full of disabilities, death, and grief. I want them to be able to experience the same pride and admiration that I do.
I like the idea that Jason might have a front-row seat to everything going on in his children’s lives, but I don’t know that I really think that’s how it works. I have a hard time believing that he would be allowed to witness the pain that often accompanies this journey we call life. The Bible tells us that in the eternal space where he resides, “there are no tears, no grief, and all our sorrow shall be wiped away” so, I’m not sure that he’s privy to what occurs here on earth.
But who knows, I could be very wrong in this area.
I accept that our life together had reached its proper perfection, but as it is with all good things that end, there is a deep scar. A scar I will carry throughout my time here on earth, a “what if” scar or maybe it’s simply a longing for all to be made whole again as we’ve been promised.
Our hearts yearn for eternity because that’s what we were made for. Jason is in the light and God willing, my children will join him in that light someday, but not too soon, not too soon.
Just keep livin.
Revelation 21: 3-5
And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.