The Ghost

I watched A Dog's Purpose with my kids tonight. That wasn't wise. It's basically a story with the recurring theme of loneliness, and how awful it is, and how dog's can help. Maybe a dog can help, but this movie certainly didn't. It ripped off a scab I thought was covering a healing wound. Now I'm not so sure. Watching it made me miss my person. It made me miss my wife.

It's been 443 days. I miss my wife.

Has it really been more than a year since she died; since this stranger took over her body? I see her ghost everywhere. She's in the empty half of my too large bed. She gives me that look when I  leave my glass by the side of the sink rather than put it straight into the dishwasher. She tells me I'm not fat (while giving me her "you are crazy" look), and actually look decent, for a balding middle aged man. She laughs at me when I toss my socks in the hamper and somehow manage to land them in the 1 inch crack between the basket and the wall. She is still everywhere, and I miss her. Why did you have to go?

....

Sorry, had to wipe my face a bit. Some of you know how it is. I don't know if it would have been easier to simply lose her rather than have her replaced with the woman I now call Moriah. That just happened to an old friend of mine. She lost her husband after just 4 months of marriage! I can't even imagine that heart ache. How it must sting, like suddenly losing a limb. Mine feels more like I can't hear wind anymore, or see the color green... something you don't really notice until it's gone, and then you can't not notice it. How do you move on after 19 years with someone? They are like your shadow, always with you, then all of a sudden all you have is the shadow. You only have their ghost,  a vision of them you see everyday, but know it's just the echo of what you had. Or maybe all I ever had was the shadow...

Doubts, questions, over-thinking, whispers of truth and lies, all wrapped together.

I think a night like this would've crippled me eight months ago. In fact, it did, several times. Panic attacks were a semi-regular occurrence. But not anymore.

NOT ANYMORE! You see, my heart longs for that ghost, but the ghost isn't real. I need to remind myself of that.

Do you hear me self? Don't forget, but don't get stuck. You aren't alone. You will never be alone. You have a God who loves you, a Father who is guiding and watching over you, a Friend that sticks closer than a brother, and a Spirit of power that lives within you. You are not forgotten.

This reminds me of a great quote from John Piper: "Occasionally, weep deeply over the life you hoped for. Grieve the losses. Feel the pain. Then wash your face, trust God, and embrace the life you have." Read more at DesiringGod.org

In my usual cycle of sorrow to joy, I usually listen to a song or two from my "Comfort in Trial" playlist, then bathe in the Psalms for a bit. For the sake of time I'll skip to the good part and save a song for the end. Enough of me talking, time for the LORD to speak:

From Psalm 34
"I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
 My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!

I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.
O taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

The LORD is near to the broken hearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all."


The ghost is still here. She'll always be a part of me. I will always miss her. But God has been so good as He has turned that gut-wrenching, sob-inducing, appetite-stealing, joy-suppressing ache of longing and hopelessness into something better. He has turned it into a longing for His love, His comfort, and the joy only found in His presence. That is something that will only grow stronger, for eternity. What a good God to give me such a gift.

But I still miss my wife, the ghost. Time doesn't really heal wounds like this, but Jesus, in His love, makes them much easier to bear.


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