Driving in to Chicago today for three days of back-to-back commitments, I took the “radiation route” Nate and I had driven 14 times. Although Jack was sitting in the passenger seat, I was alone with my thoughts. Today it doesn’t seem possible that Nate is permanently gone. I just wondered how it could be.
I drove past the Drake Hotel where we spent our entire honeymoon in 1969, then past Oak Street Beach where we “broke in” a wedding gift, the high-tech super 8 movie camera. I still have the silly movies we took of each other running along the beach in our winter coats at the end of November on a freezing cold day. Could all that have been 40 years ago? It didn’t seem possible.
Overwhelmed with a desire to reminisce about those happy days, I was frustrated Nate wasn’t in the car to banter back and forth about them. No one else was on our honeymoon but us, so nobody would “get it” when I might say, “Remember that dachshund in our honeymoon suite? And how ‘bout that throne in the bathroom? And wasn’t it incredible what room service delivered?”
It isn’t enjoyable if I have to explain the whole thing to someone else first. Those were secrets and inside jokes only Nate and I shared, and a secret isn’t fun if only half of us is still keeping it.
I drove on, past the park where we ditched church to kiss and hug in the car and finally to Moody Church where we were married. Memories, memories. I was swamped with them, and without my partner to share them, I felt sad.
I’d come to Moody to meet five of our kids and my sister and husband to enjoy a fabulous Christmas concert in a packed auditorium in which all 4000 seats were full. Remembering our wedding, I wondered how I’d feel. But as we walked in, it was like coming home.
My memories of Moody Church go much farther back than our wedding. My grandfather was chairman of the building committee that built this magnificent church building in 1925, and my parents met and married there. Mom was one of the organists, and I was raised in the Sunday school where I learned all the major Bible stories. I was baptized in that baptistery, and just before we were married, Nate was baptized there, too. We dedicated our children on that platform and made sure they were in Sunday school to hear the same Bible stories. Nate and I enjoyed friendships with four consecutive senior pastors. Memories, memories. But these seemed to cover me like a warm blanket.
Looking back is sometimes a beat-down and sometimes upbeat. The trouble with mourning is never knowing which is coming next. It’s hard to be ready. Tonight, though, the positive memories of Moody Church, including walking down the aisle to marry Nate, won out over the negative of not having him next to me to share the reminiscing.
I know there’s magnificent music in heaven where Nate is, so in one sense, we were sharing the evening because the music we heard (his in paradise and mine at Moody Church) was all about praising and extolling Jesus. That, to me, can only be upbeat, and I can’t wait to hear that heavenly choir. I bet it’s out of this world!
”Our Lord… has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” (2 Timothy 1:9-10)