So the reality of this word has been trying to seep into my conscious for a while now. First, there is the trauma, the shock, and the inital pain which can not be described. Then comes the goodbye, the wake, and the funeral. Then you face the daunting tasks, the needed organization, and the face of how this will work out. After that was the day to day getting out of bed, learning to shower again, and holding on for dear life. And then, for me, it was realizing I must let go of our home Matt so dearly loved, getting it ready to sell, and managing to keep it that way the best I knew how. And then one day I was emptying the dishwasher and it hit me. I had filled the dishwasher. I had filled the dishwasher, started it, and now I was emptying it. Occurrences like the dishwasher happen to me everyday. I gather the laundry, I sort it, I wash it, I fold it, I put it away. Sounds like what I am suppose to do, doesn't it? It sounds normal.
I hate normal. Everytime I am faced with doing something that was normal before Matt died it feels a little like I am ripping off the scab of the wound this loss has given me. I don't want things to go back to normal without him. I don't want to do laundry without his 200 pairs of socks that are there for me to match up one by one. I don't want to fill the dishwasher without his leftover plates crusted in the sink. It feels wrong. It feels lonely.
There is two dimensions to this fate of normalcy that I must endure. First, there is the part of me that wishes it would all go away. I want to be in a new home, in a place where doing these things without him here doesn't feel so empty. And then there is the part of me that never wants to let that go; the part that knows someday when we are in a new house, and I'm filling a new dishwasher I won't remember as clearly what it was like to be his wife. And that part makes me sad, makes me long to stay right where I am, doing the things I used to do when he was still here. This is the fence I'm straddling right now. But there is something cruel to this divide; that is I have no choice.
Even on the days I want nothing more than to lay in our bed, wearing his tshirt, crying in self pity it is not an option. I have two children to care for, a house to sell, a job to hold, and the truth of the matter is I am not dead. I am still alive, for whatever reason God choose me instead of him to take, I must keep going. I have no choice in this.
I have to keep going, not because I necessarily want to, but because I need to. At the funeral we read Ecclesiastes 3, and I'm going back to that book now. I hold the words of this strange book close when things are hard, the idea that Soloman imparted to us, and that is this. . .that in life things would happen. And then he tells us those things, those things that happen, they are meaningless. "Meaningless, meaningless, it's all meaningless." And yet, meaningless or not, there is still a time for everything under the sun. It is such a wondering book, and in my sorrows gives me the kind of comfort that only misery loving misery can know.
Chapter 4 starting in 9 reads:
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
"But how can one keep warm alone?"
Oh Lord help me, I am so cold. Soloman understood suffering, he understood life here brings pain, and he understood that for the most part everything going on around us is vapor.
V A P O R.
There is something to remember in this though, that this place is a gift from God. That pleasure in work and our toils. . .in drinking and eating. . .that these things are good. And so I can sit at our table, that has one less, and I can enjoy my children. I can enjoy my life that continues to move forward, and I can know that those moments are gifts from God to be enjoyed.
I can also know that my suffering may bring forth good in me. That God might be doing something here.
Chapter 7 Verse 3
Frustration is better than laughter,
because a sad face is good for the heart.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.
I get that more now. I am frustrated, and yet, I am learning. I am being transformed. God is working through me. I don't like it, but refinement is never not easy, never painless. I don't like the form in which it transpired, but I cannot understand the infinite with my mind.
And "So I [will follow Soloman's] commend [to] the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun."