An important part of my transition to widow-status is to consciously set a different standard. For example, every time I think, “Nate will be home soon,” immediately on its heels is a second thought, “He isn’t coming.” My widow friends tell me these “false starts” will happen less and less often, but for now, each thought-couplet (he’s coming; he’s not coming) is a fresh disappointment.
Riding this emotional see-saw drains energy, but I can’t wish it away. The passing of time helps, they say, because all major change takes some getting used to. I buy that, because I’m doing better this week than last, which was better than the week before that. Nate always used to say, “The only constant in life is change.” I know that wasn’t original with him, but it’s his voice I hear in my ears, reminding me of this truth. Life has changed dramatically for both of us. At first I categorized his change as positive (heaven) and mine as negative (widowhood), but I’m trying to pull away from that now, opting instead to call our changes “different”.
With a windy snowstorm today, our new winter season is shouting about change. Christmas without Nate is also telling us how radically our holidays will change. But just like the current seasonal changes, I’ve come to a new life-season personally. Nate has begun his eternal life season. I’ve begun the season of widowhood.
What could possibly be positive about that? After all, I’ll be without a partner at weddings, graduations, funerals, christenings, any formal gathering where Nate and I used to go together. I’ll sleep alone, drive alone, shop alone, do everything we used to do together, alone. The first thing to do is to set aside false expectations about my new season. When I see a couple leaning against each other in church, instead of thinking “if only,” I need to tell myself, “You’re done with that season now.” It isn’t the end of the world.
There’s a Scripture passage that says, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But when I became a man [or woman], I put away childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11) The season of childhood ends for all of us. Many of the things we’ve looked at as positives from the perspective of a child disappear when we become adults, but that doesn’t mean new good things aren’t coming.
So far, I’ve only been faced with the negatives of this new season of widowhood. Today I’m working on changing that. Will there eventually be positives? I believe there will be, for one reason: God doesn’t pull the rug out from under us without planning to catch us when we fall. But even better than that, I believe he has a brand new positive plan for me, a new place to stand “on a new rug,” so to speak. Although it won’t include Nate, I have confidence it will be a good plan anyway. I don’t yet know what it is, but in due time the Lord will show me.
In the mean time, he’s given me a little peek at what my new season will hold. It will involve grandbabies, five so far (2 born, 3 almost born). I know it will include travel to see these little people in Florida and England. I know I’ll need to swing a paint brush to freshen up our needy cottage. I know I’ll learn to think like a widow, which will expand my understanding of all the widows who have preceded me into this season. I’m in their club now, and being “included” will be a good thing.
I want to fulfill whatever purpose God has in mind for me from here on, and do the work he’ll assign me to do. As my missionary friend is fond of saying, “God’s work done in God’s way will find God’s supply.” I know I’m going to make it, and I know it’s going to be good.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven… and a time to heal…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,3a)