So I notice all the white trucks on the road these days.
To me, Ron's white truck represented his rugged, get 'er done, "Let's have some fun" personality.
If Ron and I happened to pass each other on the road, he'd whip the wheel in my direction, or lay on the horn, or wave like a wild man. Sunglasses on, window down, lid-less coffee cup in his hand.
He'd always turn my head.
And white trucks still turn my head.
In one nanosecond I think: Hey, there's a white truck! It could be Ron! Oh that's right, he's gone. He had brain cancer. He died. He's in heaven now.
And so go the adjustments from having been in a full-scale 40-year love affair to now living life as a single woman. (Like the fact that it's Memorial Day Weekend, and instead of being with Ron at our cottage, I'm writing a CaringBridge journal on a Saturday night.)
Every fiber of your being was wired to to every fiber of your spouse's being, in that way that God says two become one. Picture wrapping wires together, one at a time - millions of them - representing all the connections you had with that one person. And then picture them being ripped apart. One at a time.
I'm immensely grateful for God's wisdom and gentleness in divvying out grief, spreading it out over months. I've said to close friends that if all the pain I've felt in these past nearly nine months was squeezed into the first month, I wouldn't have survived it. I don't think anybody could survive that amount of pain.
But God lovingly doles it out. The first two to three months are brutal. The next several are somewhat more bearable. And by the seventh month or so, you reach a place of equilibrium. A place where there's a noticeable adjustment to not having the person, an acceptance about what has happened, and a palpable peace.
I still miss Ron. Tears still come when I talk about him. It can even be mildly shocking at times to realize afresh that he's gone.
And my mind quickly rehearses what happened, Oh right, Ron had brain cancer, he went through radiation and chemo, we had incredibly sweet and powerful times together with the Lord, and then Jesus received him into heaven.
And the Father smooths over my ruffled feathers, comforts my heart, holds me close.
That's the position I was in when I learned that my dearest friend's angiosarcoma cancer was back. Many of you may know her -- Kati Swisher, Executive Vice President at Align Life Ministries. We've been best friends and ministry comrades for nearly 30 years.
Everything in me rose up in a mighty roar of "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" I remembered how very much I HATE cancer. How much I HATE the fall of man. HATE sin and its consequences.
And how much I LOVE God. How much I KNOW that He is good. How much I BELIEVE that He is sovereign. How much I TRUST Him.
And so, as I posture myself before the Lord on Kati's behalf, it's with the Sword of the Spirit in one hand and a white flag of surrender in the other. Similar to the children of Israel when they rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem--in one hand they held a tool, and in the other they held a weapon to ward off the enemy.
I believe in the multi-faceted greatness and goodness of God. And I believe He wants us to come to Him in a multi-faceted way--with our desires, our human agony, our faith in Him, our alignment with His Word, our fight, and yes, our surrender. I believe we carry a beautiful white, pure, softly flowing flag that says, "Not my will, but Yours."
And I believe that a very short list of things really matter on this earth. Our relationship with God. Our relationships with others. And our efforts toward lovingly planting seeds, sharing the gospel, and making disciples. Life on earth is short. Life in heaven, or in hell, lasts forever. Jesus isn't willing that any perish, but that all come to repentance.
Thank you for continuing to pray for me. And please pray for Kati, her husband Todd, and her family. You can follow her journey on CaringBridge.