It has been 5 years ago since my first husband passed away. Even though quite a bit of time has passed, it is still a difficult time of year. With each passing year, I find that the tears become less and the memories become more. This article was posted a while ago, but I thought it appropriate to share along with some updates this year. If you are grieving the loss of someone you love, may the Lord comfort your heart that you may find peace.
I decorated our Christmas tree tonight. As I sifted through the colorful ornaments wrapped in paper, there were some I came upon which were quite old. My dad had them at his house when I was a little girl. They were fragile glass with indented centers. Each center was like the facets on a diamond in the glow of Christmas lights. Now, some of them look a bit worse for wear with holes where I accidentally popped a finger through the brittle centers. I also found one from my late husband, one that held dear childhood memories for him. It was worn and broken in the storage box. I remember him when I see it. He use to lay under the Christmas tree as a little boy gazing up to see this one, his favorite. Although I kept putting them up because I loved them for wonderful Christmas memories, there was also painful loss from that past. A tear rolled down my cheek at the images in my mind. I decided it was time to toss them. Why? It's time to move on with what God has in store for my life now.
Life is full of curves. Some of them are not so easy to handle. One of my husband's friends lost his wife in an accident a couple of years ago. She prepared a birthday surprise for him before she left for work that fate-filled day. He received the call later that afternoon she had died in a flight simulation at work. She was a Russian translator at an airport. He felt like a knife stabbed through his heart. He was unable to open the gifts she had for him much later. It was too much pain. I don't know if he finally opened them or not. Can you imagine the first Christmas alone? Heart wrenching. An empty place remains in one's heart no one on earth could ever fill.
A recent series of Facebook posts of a relative threw me down memory lane as I followed her story. She was divorced with children of her own. I noticed she found a wonderful Christian man to share her life with. Suddenly one day, she said they were having to make end of life decisions. Her new husband was in the same hospital my first husband spent his last days. I felt a connection with her as I followed her posts. One day she said that he was finally healed, he was with Jesus. She had the joy of knowing him as her husband for only 6 months. No one expects to have the love of one's life torn away so soon. Rather than becoming bitter at God, she was grateful for the opportunity to be this man's wife, even for such a short time.
How many military families have seen a loved one come home in a casket covered with a flag? The anguish is enough to drop you to your knees in despair. How many people have lost jobs unable to buy basic needs, let alone consider buying presents for their kids to find under the Christmas tree? Painful and humbling. How many people feel the sting of divorce as the ink dries on the document? Putting the First Christmas ornament on the tree won't happen this year. There comes a time to put the past behind to reach for the hope ahead. Like a beautifully wrapped gift in the midst of ashes and rubble, Hope waits to be opened. We must put the past where it belongs: as lovely memories to be savored. It is then we can truly live. God has something more in store for us.
God refines us through trials and tribulations like gold refined in a fire (Malachi 3:1-3, Zechariah 13:8-9). Each time we go through troublesome times and fiery trials, something in us is purged. He brings our impurities to the surface to purify us, so we may reflect more and more the image of Christ. If we grasp the package of Hope He offers us,and open it, we will find a beautiful future.You can have a Merry shattered Christmas! May God bless you.
News article of Menestrina's wife's crash http://www.kansas.com/news/local/article3493765.html