Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Time for Gratitude

They say, whoever “they” are, that time heals all wounds. I don’t think time will be able to heal all the wounds that we have endured this year. So many have lost so much—jobs, home, health. For our family it was my lovely husband. We had been married just shy of ten years when he passed this March. Melanoma cancer hit him hard. It was unforgiving and his experience was unfair and painful. Many nights I fell to my knees in fervent prayer to God to heal Jeff. I just knew in my heart of hearts that God would not take Jeff—not now—not when our girls are so young and our marriage becoming so strong. But the human miracle I expected, that I prayerfully demanded, did not come. He died and our hearts were broken.

The week after he passed I was filled with shock and filled with concern for my children—how was I supposed to do all I had to do and keep them safe and happy and secure. Not only did I have my little ones to care for, but I was experiencing a rude awakening in regards to the future of our business. I had huge decisions to make and regardless of the helpful advice I received, how I chose to handle the situations was on my shoulders.

There were many financial decisions to resolve; medical bills to pay; legal issues to handle. I plowed ahead, trying to make sure my girls were OK, but having to focus on so much at once.

Answers came—some answers I credit Jeff for giving me heavenly direction. The business and financial issues were overwhelming in stature, and there were times I just wanted to quit and move away and start over. But, as many of you know, when you have children you can’t always take the easy route. Your kids look to you for how they should be handling life. No matter what I felt on the inside, I had to remember that they needed me to be strong and honest and loving.

There were times I broke down in torrential tears in front of them. It couldn’t be helped. All of the love I tried to show them came back to me a thousand times—especially once when I just began to cry while sitting with our youngest daughter. She looked up at me and hugged me and gave me a kiss—then loudly announced to her big sister “to come here and hug mom—she’s having a daddy moment!”

Through all the haze of sadness and turmoil that has been the past year. I always managed to remember to be grateful. I thanked God—almost constantly for all the good in our lives—because there has been so much. But after Jeff died and up until the past few weeks, I forgot about gratitude. I mean the kind of gratitude that makes you fall to your knees trembling with awe at how much good there is in our lives.

Then one night we missed being involved in a near fatal accident by a few seconds at most. I witnessed the accident, waited for the impact and was shocked when the car kept moving unhindered. I pulled into the nearest parking lot and hung my head and cried and thanked God and Jeff for their protection. I felt so humbled—we were untouched. I am certain that we were shielded from the horror of that accident. I just sat there and thanked God over and over, and prayed that those involved were in His arms.

That night I remembered gratitude. I remembered the good in our life that was there before Jeff was sick, that was there when he was fighting the cancer, and the good that has been with us every step since he passed. Through it all we are blessed.

Time does heal most wounds. Our experience has taught me that gratitude is what truly heals. One day a time—one act of kindness at a time—one grateful thought at a time. With gratitude we can all heal--in time.