Friday, August 22, 2008

Joy Comes In the Mourning

As hard as the nights are, I've been encouraged by and thankful for how well I feel in the mornings this week. I'm basically in constant state of prayer from the minute my alarm goes off until I'm sitting at my desk (or making that first phone call from behind the windshield, or whatever). The shower feels better than it ever has. The coffee tasted brighter. The sunrise is more brilliant. The singing in the car on the morning commute is stronger... It's actually pretty easy to leave the house, knowing TJ is well cared for, and also knowing that there's so much to do in the day. Just so different than the mornings have been through the last year.

And then, next thing I know, I'm driving home in the afternoon. These first few days have really flown by. I'm basically sufficiently "caught up" with work stuff. And for the first time in months I'm able to actually "do my job" with the clarity of mind and focus that I desire. And it's great to get caught up with people I haven't seen in a while. I've explained to a few different people who ask how work is going this week, "Work's going great! It's kind of been my own sort of 'reverse anaesthesia'." That is, when I'm busy doing the work thing-- planning, working on projects, discussing, strategizing, helping, learning, doing ordinary "business stuff"-- my mind has something positive to focus on. I don't ever fully ESCAPE the truth of what has happened to our family, but the thud in my heart and the ache in the pit of my stomach just aren't as noticeable, during the work day. It's like, emotionally, I've been anaesthetized for the day. And I don't really wake up until I'm driving home. And "waking up" isn't a bad thing. It's good to feel what I'm feeling. It keeps me being the Daddy I need to be. And mourning is healthy and necessary(they tell me). And mourning keeps me feeling close to Leslie. It's just nice to have an escape from the intensity of the emotion involved with all of it during the work day.

Another thing I'm learning: "joy" and "mourning" are not mutually exclusive terms. I still laugh. I still smile. I still feel good. I still watch the Cubs and talk about my usual things of interest-- many of which have no profound or eternal meaning or purpose. I was explaining to my Dad that it's not like we've got an "emotion tank" somewhere in our gut-- where we only have the capacity to hold a certain volume of total emotion. Although this is the greatest amount of sadness and burden I've ever bore, the good feelings just keep happening too. They aren't squeezed out by the feelings of grief or mourning. That's the difference between sadness and depression, I guess. I'm so very sad. I miss her. I STILL can't imagine doing life without her. But I still feel joy. And hope. And peace. And even many little moments of happiness throughout the day. I can still sing at the top of my lungs one of our theme songs we used to sing on our way to the hospital for treatments... "We've both got a lot to be thankful for!" (another Glen Phillips gem). In fact... it's those moments of "feeling well"-- the flashes of happiness-- that allow me to cry in the sad moments. If you're an athlete, you know you can't perform at your optimum level unless you have proper rest. (It's like that in any job, I guess, including being a parent.) Well, mourning's like that, too, for me. I just can't mourn well-- reflect, weep, miss her, cry out to God, experience the depths of the pain of my loss-- unless I "rest" with some laughter, some light conversation, a ball game, some fun every once in a while. I'm so thankful for the laughter. The really special moments have been laughing at a memory of Leslie. Laughing at something funny she said. Something stupid she did. Simply laughing at how she used to laugh. Smiling at the memories of her quirks. In those moments, (and basically this entire week), I've realize a whole new level of understanding of this mind-bender of a quote from Jesus:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kindgom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted."


Sandra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sandra said...

You don't know me and I don't know you, but I linked to your blog from another (I can't even remember now). I've followed Leslie and your family's journey for a while. I lost my mother when I was 18,to cancer, (her battle lasted only 6 months) and while I know that's not the same as losing your life partner, I remember all too well the feelings you refer to. I just wanted to say that I am praying for you and your family and you are in my thoughts almost daily.

Prayers from Tennessee----

Anonymous said...

Tyson, you are so encouraging to listen to. Les is the first family member I have had to loose and up until she was gone I couldn't imagine mentally what would happen to me. I am sure it is a million times worse for you, but I never really accociated the time of mourning with joy, and it is true. The mourning part must be there, but joy comes too! God knows what we can handle, hang in there! I know you will! Love You!

Cindy said...

I cannot imagine how such hard times are managed for people who, unlike you, do not have a personal relationship with our merciful, comforting, and ever present Lord. Thanks for blogging.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you posted this! I'm so glad that Jesus is in your heart! How do people get through these times if He's not with them? I'm praying for you daily!

Anonymous said...

Tyson, what an encouraging message!

I read a devotional this morning and thought of you:

"One morning I was reading the story of Jesus' feeding of the five thousand. The disciples could find only five loaves of brad and two fishes. 'Let me have them,' said Jesus. He asked for all. He took them, said the blessing and broke them before he gave them out. I remembered what a chapel speaker, Ruth Stull of Peru, had said: 'If my life is broken when given to Jesus, it is because pieces will feed a multitude, while a loaf will satisfy only a little lad." ~Elizabeth Elliot

I've never thought about brokenness being used that way and was encouraged to be reminded that God can use us no matter how we come to him.

Press on . . .

Erin said...

Hi Tyson,
You are doing the right things and we are all praying for you. Keep taking help and finding ways to laugh and looking at the big picture as you adjust to single parenting. It will all come together.

Becky said...

Tyson, I'll be praying as you celebrate the first of your memorial services for Leslie tomorrow. Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

Sarah said...

Leslie's laugh was contagious. I won't ever forget it. It wasn't just a sound out of her mouth. It was a full-body experience. :)

Organized Chaos said...

So glad to hear about your "good day". Praying for you today as you join with others who loved Leslie to celebrate her memory.

Kellie said...

Tyson, You are amazing and I am praying that your debts will be supernaturally cancelled and taken care and God is gonna show you how much he loves you and is still right there taking care of you and T.J. What a lucky, I mean, blessed, little boy to have a daddy that wants to be joyful and have fun! You are a trooper!
Kellie Felmey, Washington, IL

Katie said...

You don't know me from Adam, but I pray for you and little TJ every day. I found your blog through another blog, on a list of "people to pray for." As the mother of a 17 month old son, just the thought of ever having to leave him and my husband before I am ready (as if we'd ever be ready) terrifies me as I'm sure it did your beautiful, loving wife. But I am AMAZED at what a wonderful job you are doing!! Somewhere up in heaven she has got to be so proud of the two of you right now. I am glad to hear things are getting a little easier for you in some aspects as you continue on this journey. There are strangers out here rooting for you!

Jodi said...

It's so good to hear an update on how you and TJ are doing. I followed Leslie's Journey through her blog, and it's comforting to know you're moving ahead in a healthy way, continuing to trust the Lord in the awesome way you do it. Reading your stories all this time has changed my life and faith in a positive way, and I feel so honored to have been "included" by being allowed to read and pray for your family. I am married (18 years) and have three children, girls who are 17 and 15 and then a boy who is 7. When I see TJ's picture, I think of my son. TJ is so blessed to have a Dad like you who loves him so much, and lives such a godly example of a true man. My prayers will continue to be with you and your sweet, little boy....

Anonymous said...

God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see

He will make a way for me
He will be my guide
Hold me closely to His side
With love and strength for each new day
He will make a way He will make a way

Tyson, I thought of you and TJ today during our church service when we sang this song. We don't know each other but we are brother and sister in Christ and I've been praying with you since a friend added you and Leslie to our weekly prayer list in bible study. There is nothing I can say that others haven't. You truly are a light in this dark world and shine so that others can see and feel God's love. I will continue to pray for you and your sweet little boy.