Say Yes to Yearning…a Widow’s guide to Valentine’s
**Happy to contribute to Tulsa Moms!
A few weeks ago my friend sent me these texts:
So, yes, I have the greatest friends in the world. They know me. They know that while this could be potentially upsetting, it is what I want to hear. Say his name! Tell me more!! Every time I am around certain men who he spent a lot of time with, glimpses of him are so evident. Mannerisms that friends share and jokes that were originated when he was here. A Shane sighting! Have I seen him in my dreams? Yes, many times. Have I seen him lately? Sadly, no.
There are a family of cardinals that live behind my school. Last year, on the day that my school celebrated my teacher of the year breakfast, they were playing in the grass in a big group. I hadn’t seen them for probably a month before that very morning. I told my friends that I really only think Shane had two regrets in our married years. First, not dancing with me at my sister’s wedding (there just wasn’t time) and missing my teacher of the year celebration when I taught elementary (he had a meeting at work). He didn’t miss this last one. The trees where the cardinals lived were trimmed this fall by the power company. I haven’t seen them since.
To say that I have learned the true meaning of the word, yearn, is an understatement. An extreme longing for something or someone lost. People yearn for the remote when it’s missing, a favorite shoe that’s gone AWOL as you need to walk out the door, that one shin guard, baseball glove, the nail clippers, a sock…but a person? A huge personality like Shane’s leaves a void that not many people can fill. But is he lost like a sock? No. He is very much whole, healed, and living beyond his best life.
‘Heaven will be the perfection we’ve always longed for. All the things that made Earth unlovely and tragic will be absent in heaven.’ – Billy Graham
This week brings Valentine’s Day and our church started a 4 part message series yesterday on Relationship Goals. What is in that for a widow? My oldest son was up and ready for the 8:30am service. I told him that I had considered watching from home today due to the content. He was ok with that but I felt like a jerk! He is in his dating years! I need to get over my cheap self. We went and I prayed that I would see it through his eyes. I prayed that there would be something in that sensitive content that would not amplify my current yearning but aid in the foundation in which my sons’ future love should be built upon.
The Lord delivered…big time! Shane and I had it. We weren’t perfect. We fussed over laundry, bills, and discipline for our boys. We loved big right back. We enjoyed each other and made a great pair. We had lofty goals that probably haunt me the most. Giant retirement plans that included hitting up every bluegrass festival from coast to coast in our dreamy RV. We were going to stop along the way to visit the kids, bringing the grand kids back home with us only to ship them back to their parents in due time. My fellow widow friend and I are always talking about how sweet, older couples create the most triggers for us. Yesterday’s message was full of reminders. I sat and cried through the end of it, not because I was upset but because I was so darn proud of what we had.
So, if you are fortunate to have your special someone near you, pray with them. Find that spiritual intimacy for Valentine’s Day. I may just light a candle and pray with Shane. My forever Valentine. The yearning will never end, but sometimes it is way worse than others. Shane will ‘show up’ for me when God knows I need him most. Show up for each other both in ways that are expected and least expected. All of you beautiful singles, pray for what’s next. I grew up a child of divorce and that is a very special kind of grieving. Get your friends together for a Gal-entine’s Day lunch and know you are here for a very special reason!! The important thing for us to remember is that even in the never-ending winters of our lives, when it seems like the warmth of the sun will never grace our skin again, Jesus is there cheering us on and all we have to do is know where to lean.
*If you NEVER wanted to be a part of this club but find yourself a widow raising children and needing a group of virtual friends to chat with, might I suggest the Widow Mama Collective.
*Life Church is hosting the 4 part series on Relationship Goals if you want to check that out!