The wedding day finally arrived and what a beautiful day it was. I'm amazed at how much planning goes into a moment, and when that moment comes, you can't hold onto it long enough before it seems to quickly slip through your hands. Danielle looked beautiful-of course-and Adam her groom looked just as striking. Yes I may be biased, but I was so happy for both of them. This day would be one of the most celebrated days our family has ever known and yet none of us could escape the challenge that we all still had to face; our beloved Jay was not there.
In the days approaching the wedding, I found myself searching for him. What I mean is that I was looking for "the connection". It's the ability I've had in the past to just close my eyes and see him when I need him. But, to my surprise, this wasn't happening. As the big day drew even closer my search turned into more of an emotional panic as I found myself unable to find him at all. Why couldn't I connect? What was this "fade" I felt and where did it come from? Our daughter was about to get married and it felt like my soul had lost Jay.
I had begun a thought in my mind's eye that I was hoping to build upon. I started this thought weeks before the wedding. I kept thinking of what Jay would be like the morning of. I could picture him waking up in our hotel room being very quiet and very deep in thought as I'd be in some sort of a chaotic rush. I'd be talking his head off with all of my excited energy, and then [in my mind's eye] I could see him doing something that he always did whenever we had a special family moment. I'll try to explain as this was very intimate and personal:
Whenever Jay was feeling grateful about our marriage, and our "whole" family, he would quietly come up from behind me-- usually while I'd be in the midst of putting on my makeup or something like that-- and he would place one hand on each of my hips. I would immediately know where his thoughts were. I would stop whatever I was doing, turn to face him, and he would always say "Thank you" of which I would always reply with a "Thank you" right back, and then we'd hug a very long and quiet hug. This was always a humble place for us to be together. A ritual that began because Jay and I had a great respect and appreciation for each other's good fight. We knew what it had taken to have these very special family moments, and our hearts were grateful to a God who had given us so much.
But unfortunately even this precious memory that I was clinging to so tightly would fade out and I wasn't able to build upon it any further. The countdown to the big day was turning to hours, and hours to minutes, and as our little girl was about to take her walk down the aisle, I found myself having to accept that despite my strongest efforts I would not be able to find Jay the way I needed. It left me feeling severed and a little lost. I wanted to say to God, "Don't you care that I need him right now?" But I couldn't. I know that this is simply the hardship of losing someone so important in your life. Jesus understood that pain and he wept because of it. John11:33-36
There's a scene that keeps repeating in the depths of my soul. I'm in a forest and the fog has become so thick that I can hardly see my hand in front of me. For a moment I want to freeze because I'm scared, but I tell myself that I have to move. I lower myself to the ground, and as I do, I stretch out my arms in front of me finding a thick heavy rope. Lifting this rope I begin to tug on it, but just as I begin to tug harder I hear a faint whisper cutting through the fog. Within moments this whisper finds me and I can clearly hear the words, "I'm the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow". And suddenly the weight of the rope is lifted, and I remember that I'm not alone.
In less than a month Jay will have been gone for one year and there is most definitely a tug of war in my soul about it. There is nothing in the fiber of my being that says it's okay to let go, nothing. The ticking clock brings about a fade that I can't control, all I can do is surrender to it's purpose and nothing about it feels right. But my Lord reminds me that He doesn't change in a world that's broken, and where there should have been no hope He is all hope. He is my absolute anchor, and He promises to guide me through this unfamiliar territory.
The scripture says in Hebrews 13:7-8 "Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow." As God navigated our teachers in His written word, His promise is that He too will navigate us as we face a world that holds unknowns. What is known is that He will never change. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Psalm 102 25-27 says, "In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garement. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end." John Piper says of this verse: "The visible universe with all its laws that scientists bank on so heavily to be unchanging is like a shirt compared to God: it was put on at creation, and it will be taken off when God is through with it. So what the world regards as the baseline of stability is not. God is. And Jesus Christ is God."
Through this painful journey I take comfort in these scriptures and in the truth that they hold for me. My fog may get thick, but if I continue to search for His purposes He will continue to navigate me through it. Where He may at times seem completely unclear, my Lord always knows where I am, and He will keep me on the right path. This is my heart's desire.
"Thank you Lord for being my anchor. Despite the pain of such great loss I see your grace that much more and I'm grateful. As the Psalmist King David prayed, so do I--"Teach me Lord, the way of your decrees, that I may follow it to the end". Amen
God is good...