It’s important to understand that God has set each of us on our own path. We are unique individuals with capacity for love and grace as well as sorrow and joy. To what degree we are privileged to experience those emotions is up to God and the path He has set us on. All of us will experience the passing of someone we love. The timing will be different for all of us. This post isn’t for all of you. I hope and pray that God gives you grace and you never have to lose a spouse or child to cancer or any other illness…but for those of us who have, I pray that God will use something in the journey I’m on to bring you understanding, maybe even comfort and hope.
Tonight, like many nights, I’m spending some time on Facebook. Sometimes I’ll just look at the posts, sometimes I’ll write, sometimes I’ll stalk…:) but I nearly always seem to reflect, then wind up on memory lane somewhere. Normally it involves looking at the pictures of my kids Ihave posted over the years. Pictures of them when they were little, pictures from sports, activities at school, with their friends, with their mom. That’s normal…that’s good. I have a friend who used to say that nothing lasts longer than a happy memory. But what about the memories that bring us sorrow and pain? As soon as I see pictures of any of the kids with Lori a wave of anxiety washes over me and I have to close the page. I can’t look at the picture any longer. I can’t live in that moment. I can’t live in that memory. I start thinking about what my children will miss with their mom in Heaven. All of the “firsts” …all the big events. I find myself spending my emotional future in present agony and it’s not healthy. It’s also not fair to my kids to project my sorrow for them on them.
Lori went to heaven three years ago. It was a life-altering experience for our family. While that was a tragedy that we may never get over…there are other things out there for us to live for without dishonoring her memory. God gave me Kathy, my wife ,my best friend who loves me and my kids. The kids have a life to find and lessons to learn. Kathy and I have to help them with that. We all have to move on….
Tonight I realized that there are “NO PARKING” signs on memory lane.
Moving on…moving forward is what God expects of us on our spiritual journey. The process of “becoming” like Christ or sanctification, if you like the big words, is a necessary part of our growing up in Christ. Just like aging, it should be a natural process for a believer…but often it isn’t. It can be this herky-jerky, stop and start, ride. Sometimes we find ourselves parked on memory lane stuck in both painful and pleasant memories of how we used to be on fire, we used to be obedient, we used to really love the Lord. Sometimes we’ll point to a hard circumstance, a prayer that wasn’t answered the way we wanted. Sometimes we’re content to remember past victories and rest on our laurels…sometimes we’re just plain lazy. It is then we need to look around and we’ll them…we’ll see the “NO PARKING” signs. We can’t stay there…we have to move on. If I can be so bold as to quote a lyric from a Rascal Flatts song:
When there’s one day here and the next day gone
Sometimes you bend, sometimes you stand
Sometimes you turn your back to the wind
There’s a world outside ev’ry darkened door
Where blues won’t haunt you anymore
Where brave are free and lovers soar
Come ride with me to the distant shore
We won’t hesitate
To break down the garden gate
There’s not much time left today[Chorus:]
Life is a highway
I wanna ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I wanna drive it all night longThrough all these cities and all these towns
It’s in my blood and it’s all around
I love you now like I loved you then
This is the road and these are the hands
From Mozambique to those Memphis nights
The Khyber Pass to Vancouver’s lightsKnock me down get back up again
You’re in my blood
I’m not a lonely man
There’s no load I can’t hold
Road so rough this I know
I’ll be there when the light comes in
Just tell ’em we’re survivors