Lessons in Love and Loss

Day Six: Writing 101

A Character-Building Experience.  Today’s Prompt: Who’s the most interesting person (or people) you’ve met this year?  Today’s twist: Turn your post into a character study.

 

I study him as his stooped figure shuffles across the room, cane in hand, knowing one day it will be my turn. In the prime of my life, losing a spouse isn’t something I think much about.  But when my day comes, how will I handle it? How will I still stand tall and point others to Jesus while my heart is being crushed beyond recognition with grief?

I pray it will look something like Don Rice’s. Week after week he paused and make some witty remark with a twinkle in his eye as he made his way out of the church.  Until a cold November night, when he stopped like every other week – only there was no twinkle in his eye.  He shared that his bride of more than half a century was diagnosed with terminal cancer and would have three months left here on earth.  In that moment, gripping his wrinkled shaky hand, I had no words.  All I could do was hug him.

She lived two more months and quietly slipped into Jesus’ arms in late January. No longer were they standing side-by-side holding hands as they often did. Now he was standing and she was laying pain-free with her Bible open beside her.  I sensed he was experiencing the deepest kind of pain – a pain that made me dread old age. Again, I found i had no words.  Holding him tightly and whispering over and over, “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.” our tears mingling and pooling on the collar of his shirt.

The next weekend his grandchildren accompanied him to service so he wouldn’t be alone.  Even with loved ones on either side of him – no one was fooled.  He was still very, very alone.

But he was there.  He showed up in the hard places. Three months have passed since he lost his bride. There is no twinkle in his eyes these days – but I don’t think he’s missed a service.  Last weekend as he made his way through the crowd, I stopped to give him a hug.  He needed hugs, he said.  My friend hugged him after me.  Attempting his old humor, he said, “Thank you. But, neither of you hug like my Eva did.”  No, Don. We don’t.  Her shoes are too big for us to try and even attempt to walk in.

She was a Godly woman who loved her husband, family and friends. She was a wisp of a thing, yet her soft voice was purposeful. It was a pleasure attending Bible studies with her and gleaming advice from her years of experience.  And pray! Oh my, could she pray.  You would think Jesus was right next to her in the room the way she talked to Him.

She was full of passion and ready to share the hope and joy she had found with Jesus with those who were hurting.  I remember the first time I met her she walked up to me, stuck out her hand and said, “Hi, I’m Eva Rice. What’s your name.”  That was Eva.

It’s a reminder, week after week – hug those you love while you can.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Don’t miss the moments. Life is a gift. Tomorrow has no guarantees.  His life feels like the cool breeze after a rainstorm. Nothing is easy. Nothing is pretty. But in that hard place, He faithfully clings to the promises in God’s Word. I pray when my times comes I will be as faithful and suffer as graciously as he has.

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