Thursday, September 01, 2005

War and Peace

I suppose I should have the picture of the books on this entry. I actually started writing these thoughts a couple of days ago and I wondered if they would make sense and then today my mind filled with all these reflections on our time of dating that made the first thoughts make sense. Make sense?

My heart has such a that passes understanding...but the ache rubs the heart with a sandpaper-like block.... My dad is reaching out to me in this time. He's definitely not an extrovert, so this is pretty special. This is where my entry began the other day. For me to get married, I had to make a choice. I said, "yes" to walk a the path of life with someone. I did not choose to end that walk so soon. My wedding video made me feel like I just got married a couple of years ago...except today's brides would choke on my colors. In looking at the 'bigger picture' I am now still walking a path...and God is walking with me. These were the fast thoughts that invaded my head:
  • Now a sole relationship with God
  • My soul relationship with Michael is different
  • I am now wholly His
  • Holy
  • God's holiness
  • Raw wound of my sin
  • Raw wound of my heart
  • Singles...physical hugs
  • Widowed--no more physical hugs with life partner
  • Raw

In most marriage ceremonies, the pastor asks a question early on, "Who gives this woman to this man?" My daddy said, "her mother and I do." Then he put my hand in Michael's. (He actually sort of forgot, but I kind of helped him... :) ).

God, You offered Your hand to Michael on May 14th. He didn't have time for a choice. But on that day it wasn't for him to choose...his life is 'in Christ' now. Would he have chosen me? But that is not what "is." He is with Your hand. I realize all this time You did not let go of my hand. So, You have separated our hands here on earth, but You hold each of our a different place. Is that the oneness of souls that never goes away...that makes physical death on earth hurt so much? There is comfort knowing Michael is in good Hands...and it's not Allstate. I, too, am in good Hands. Thank you for holding on to me and for the love You are showing me through my church family and the community at large. My emotions are just "out there" right now and yet I struggle with not wanting the attention. I want to talk to people when they ask how I am, but I don't have the time or energy much, so I sometimes say, "okay." But this week has NOT been okay. I caught myself doing this tonight and fessed up with this friend. I'm not okay, and I'm glad she asked.

I actually got to take a long nap today. I wanted to stay busy, but I overruled my current tendency and slept. I needed it.

War and Peace....that's the kind of book Michael would have put in his line-up for casual reading. I suppose over 19 years of marriage I have seen him read...oh, 12 X 19...or 52 X 19...almost a thousand books. Some of the early books/material we read together...Christian Single Life...and as if that wasn't enough, Family Life Class material in Dr. Howard Hendricks' class (Campus Crusade for Christ Institute of Biblical Studies). We took that class but we weren't even dating--or not so Michael would ever admit it. We were just "hanging out" (every day) between classes--not that I minded--walking across the field to classes...flying kites...talking about everything--but NOT dating....courting maybe. Yeah, that's it...courting. But, his "cards were not on the table." I didn't know his full intentions...until about 20 years ago. (Early September) His card was on the table one month later on my birthday. Michael cooked breakfast for me and then did a card trick for me. I ended up with a card that read "Will you marry me?" Obviously, I made the choice to say yes.

Some of the books Michael read along the way were seminary books. Although he admired and appreciated most of his professors, he didn't always like those seminary books. ("have-to-reads") He adored his teachers perhaps becuase most of them were passionate about their material. One in particular, Dr. John Hannah, taught history at Dallas Theological Seminary and would come out and teach the class for Campus Crusade for Christ staff when they would meet in Colorado in the summer. There was more to this class than history. Dr. Hannah would always open with a hymn and sometimes would share its history. There was a realness and vulnerability about him that Michael respected. He wasn't just present with his material, he was present with the people in the class.

I think theology and church related books stayed on Michael's list by default . He read everything. He could converse with just about anyone. When a new friend would come to church, especially one with a disability, he would want to read material about their situation so he could better minister to them. It also helped him to help teachers learn how to minister more particularly.

The war and peace in my head continued to battle as the day went on.

I'm leaving another month behind. NO! I can't believe it's been almost 1/3 of a year. It doesn't seem right or fair!? Right? Fair? Right that time flies? It doesn't do anything different today (time). Fair. What is fair? We can't compare our circumstances, you and I--the pain is different in each; the relationship is different as well. The band Mercy Me sings a song, "Undone." One line says, " the cross I run..." That is the only place I know to run. In my head I run down my street looking for Michael.

How do we fill time? If I wrestle with the void I feel because of a missing relationship, time still marches. If I take time to sit and be still--everyone else marches ahead. What about others (friends, community) who are dealing with new losses in their own circles of friends. I feel somewhat void of having sadness for them...because I am so in my own exhaustion...or how about trying to "feel" for the people who are dealing with the aftermath of the hurricane Katrina? I liked what Job said today, "Yet if I speak, my pain is not relieved; and if I refrain it does not go away." Job 16:6 When I speak (watch out if I get going! Thank you to those who have been able to listen!!) I feel like some of my questions get sorted out, but the void still feels present on the shores of my heart. And, if I refrain from (the pain) does not go away. To be sure, I can make it appear that way--that all is well...sometimes it is a matter of survival. I DO feel a peace that I cannot explain. It doesn't "fix" things but it affords me a quiet soul so that I can think rationally for a few hours or so....war and peace.

The peace sometimes is like a limo ride--not knowing why it's here to pick me up...a surprise....feeling guilty for a few moments? :) I can have some 'new normal' times...but eventually I am delivered back home once again--we can't be out forever. Grief doesn't fix in quick trips....or short events. But, like the limo ride, parts of this peace "that passes all understanding" can be magical.

Thank you, God, that You are holding my hand...and that You have Michael's hand as well. I can celebrate that he is with You because You hold me up here. I know he has 'gained.' It makes sense now that one of my favorite verses as a new believer was Philippians 1:21. "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Michael has gained. I have a great human loss, but I am gaining daily in the knowledge of Your love and grace. And, it is only in knowing and understanding that love more fully that I will EVER be able to love others the way You want me to. I know You want them to see Jesus in Your children, but I feel so far from that....maybe that's where some of those earlier thoughts came from in the past days:

  • Raw wound of my sin
  • Raw wound of my heart

Oh that my heart would be completely His....preparing to be His bride. (This is what the Bible calls the church--the bride of Christ)

On a side note, I so deeply appreciate knowing how Michael specifically ministered to you or your children...was it a "high five" or pulling their pig-tails or holding them while you left to go to worship? Was it the way he told stories so that anyone could remember them?? All of your reflections help me to capture pieces of a (treasured) life that are a part of HIStory. He was by no means perfect, but neither am I. More to learn in Philippians...about joy and 'pressing on...'

Peace to you,

Annie B.


At 8:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there my friend Annie,
Again, I'm amazed at your gift of writing. Your entries bring insight, tears, perspective and healing. Thank you for sharing.

You asked what it was or how Micheal touched our kids. It was how he knew even when I questioned that Kyle, being all of 6 was old enough and understood the obedience of baptism. Kyle now has been saying for the past few monthes he wants to be a pastor. It was the way he accepted my kids for who they are. The way he was conerned when Kaileen spent the night one of the first times and was very quiet and didn't talk much. It was when he baptized Kaileen. It was taking time to talk and share with Ken. To take an interest in who he was. It was always acknowleging Joshua and asking about how his sports were going. The way he prayed in care group when us moms had had a really hard day. I can still hear him praying on our and others behalf in the circle of friends at the Watkins. It was all of these and many more memories that help us heal. I'm coming to understand that God is taking care of us both at the same time. As well as allowing us to feel His peace and take us to an understanding of love that is very hard to wrap our minds around. Every day I keep learning that God is a sovereign loving God.

Sorry this is so long

Staying wrapped in His arms, with love and hugs to you

Jodi K.

At 8:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the thoughts of Pastor Mike pulling kids hair, That was totally him! He often would gently push one of my kids and say, "She pushed me." I just picture him doing that...I miss him.

At 9:43 AM, Blogger Heidi said...

Well, Michael touched our family each in our own ways. For Emily it was his sense of humor and his energy level! She was almost ready to ask him to baptize her, but she never got that chance. She is still not ready to have have anyone else do it. I know in God's timing he will bring that person. She was so comfortable with Pastor Mike.
For Grace it was finding out that there Birthday's were right next to eachother. Her's first then his the next day. Also him saying to her don't you smile and of course her smiling right away. We were at a friends house a couple of weeks ago and that was said right away my heart ached because it wasn't him saying it.
Even Maddy was touched as a 20month old at the time could be touched. She couldn't say Pastor Mike so she would call him "Mike". I would hear her in the morning in her crib saying, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike over and over again. She just said it last week again out of the blue. That let an ache in my heart but a smile on my face.
For my biggest kid of all (Brian) it was the lunch that they had together and the start of a friendship. He and Michael talked about getting the families together and he would make us one of his pizza's.
For me it was lending us books about the birds and the bees! Saying it was not to early to have that talk. And just being him! His sense of humor and his great personality.
As Jody said these are also the memories that we share that help our family heal. We have times of memories that are filled with our laughing and tears.

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts with us.

Love and hugs,


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