One thing about us widows is that we stick together, and the question all new widows ask each other is, “How long before I feel better?”
Meanwhile, life keeps happening, and a widow’s first hurdle is to accept the shock that when her husband died, the rest of the world kept going. Such a discovery makes her feel isolated, but the fact that life goes on can also be a motivator, preventing her from believing that there’s nothing more to live for.
One month before my husband Nate and I heard the words “pancreatic cancer,” we had our annual double-birthday party. By then we were grandparents to 18 month old Skylar and 7 month old Nicholas. Since both lived far from our Michigan home (Florida and England), it was wonderful to receive birthday greetings and photographs from both that year.
Nicholas’ parents had made ceramic mugs for Nate and I with his baby handprints and footprints on them. This grandchild is 4 years old now, and when he was last here at Christmas time, I showed him the mugs. He matched his much larger hand to his baby handprint and enjoyed seeing how much he’d grown.
As I continue to use those two mugs, I can’t help but think how much has happened since Nate left us. And of course there’s more “happenings” to come. Klaus reminded me today that his fiancée Brooke never met her future father-in-law, since she came into Klaus’ life a few weeks after Nate died.
But what he said immediately after that warmed me. “After all I’ve told her about Papa, she feels like she knows him.” Because Nate was important to Klaus, he frequently and freely talks about him. And because he’s been important to Klaus, he’s becoming important to Brooke.
Our loved ones may die, but as life moves away from their death dates, the influence they’ve had on other people hasn’t died. Sometimes it’s even expanded.
I love talking about Nate and the experiences I’ve had with him, and as I thought about this, I asked myself if I do as well talking about Jesus and the experiences I’ve had with him. Are the people around me, especially those who haven’t met him personally, coming to know him through my steady references to him? Do they “feel like they know him” as Brooke feels about Nate?
Life is moving forward. Birthdays are accumulating. Small hands and feet are growing bigger. Some people are dying while others are being born. But Jesus stays the same through every change and has promised to stick with widows (and anyone else who so desires) as they go through them. He’s just hoping those of us who already know him will faithfully make him known.
The Apostle Paul said, “I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:24)