How Are You Doing?
Is there anything to write about besides the obvious? Everyone wants to know how we are – is it getting better? How are the kids? What can we do to help? I feel like I have no good answers. We’re doing O.K. Life is moving forward, mostly in the way that it did before – just with less laughter (because, let’s face it – Tom was the one who made us all laugh!) and more longing. The kids are doing o.k. in school and seem to be coping pretty well. We talk about Tom a lot – last night, on our way to dinner with my brother’s family, Haley and Andrew were trading favorite memories of Tom. Sometimes we cry together – I don’t know if they cry alone, but I do. We have been overwhelmed (in a good way) with support and love. There have been meals, help with running kids to their stuff, work done around our house, phone calls and texts to check in, lunch and dinner invitations, prayers and hugs.
Really it seems that all the important stuff is happening in my head. I’m trying to make sense of the direction my life has taken. Matthew 4:45 has been on my mind. “… for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” I think I have always had this superstitious belief that because we have had some big trials in our family that something like Tom dying couldn’t happen to us. Silly … life is capricious. Some people live charmed lives and some can’t seem to catch a break. That isn’t the exception to the rule – that is the rule. For a long time I have been grappling with the idea that earth life is a time of testing – and we don’t keep the commandments so that our lives will be charmed, because that isn’t how it works. We live the gospel of Jesus Christ because of who it makes us become. We love God not because He rewards us with our own way, but because we trust that He knows what He is doing, even if it is painful and makes us cry.
I’m amazed and humbled to see how quickly those around me have leapt to serve – my heartache has been the impetus for their good works. No one has had to coerce them or guilt them into opening their hearts to me and my family. God has made this pain into an opportunity for so many to practice being like Him. I think this is one way in which the facts of mortality (death, illness, poverty) bless our lives – they move us to care and to love and to act. How else can we understand how God feels about us and how else can we begin to learn how to be like Him, if we don’t have chances to love each other and care for each other? If life was always good, we wouldn’t need each other.
On a more prosaic note, Fall Break is coming up. We haven’t made any big plans yet. I promised Haley I would get all her winter clothes out. It always takes a couple of hours so we’ve been putting it off, but it’s getting chilly here! Haley and I are also thinking of a Harry Potter marathon. My only fear is that it will propel me back into the snare that is Harry Potter fanfiction. I have only just barely escaped!! Andrew is hoping to spend as many hours as possible with his good friend, Luke. I’m hoping Luke isn’t taking a trip out of town because Andrew will be so disappointed. Maybe we’ll take a day trip to the Cheyenne Zoo in Colorado Springs – we’ve heard good things about the zoo from friends who say it is worth the drive. It will be nice to have a break from homework – Haley at least has been working so hard to get caught up. I’ve been really proud of her efforts.
As for DIY stuff around the house, it never ends. I’ve made myself tackle closets and drawers and spare bedrooms, clearing out clutter and getting small things fixed. My parents got the ball rolling when they were here, taking care of things like replacing the garage door weatherstripping and cleaning out the gutters, and pulling weeds in my flower beds and helping me clear out some of the junk in my garage. I have this on going list that I keep adding to and then crossing stuff off of. Yesterday, with the help of some friends, I got to cross off the “blow out the sprinklers” task. Now I need to finish the job by wrapping the pipes and covering the air conditioner and I think I’m about done on the outside of the house for the winter. I miss having Tom just take care of all the outside stuff without me having to think about it. One good thing about all this busy work is that I don’t have time to mope around. I have time every evening to think and to miss and mourn Tom, but during the day I have things to do and people to spend time with and that is good.
Well – this has been an “all-over” post, but I hope for those who are wondering, it will be reassuring. I’m not languishing in despair or losing the will to go on (at least not yet – I’m always good in a crisis and things still feel like they are in crisis mode right now). I’m buoyed up by the love and support of all those around me and by those loved ones who are unseen but who are all around us. It is a blessing.