So it turns out that my crappy morning on Friday may have been virus-induced. I'm pretty sick, and struggling to keep my wits about me. Not out-cold-on-my-rear-end sick like I can get. It's an I-can-still-go-to-work-and-stuff sick. But it just makes "dealing with the day" a bit more difficult. Yesterday was a busy Sunday. We had an evening church meeting for which I was asked to lead worship, in addition to the usual morning service. Both were such blessings, and were great for my heart, soul, mind, and strength. God has a way of meeting me when I'm at my worst, like that-- hardly able to talk, with the laryngitis and what-not, laced with all kinds of cold/flu medicines, low-grade fever sweats... but I open my mouth and the worship comes out, and He is glorified.
But as I was leaving the evening meeting last night, guitar under one arm, and TJ in the other, I was just struggling. I get that way on Sunday nights, anyway. I always have. As much as I love my job, and as "easy" as Monday mornings are for me (relative to the average among working people everywhere), I just have always struggled letting go of the weekend... the time at home, the rest, the comfort, and so-on. It used to be that I'd just lean on Leslie those nights. The aforementioned card games and a glass of wine. Maybe crash on the couch and watch a movie or a couple of our Office episodes. (By the way... has the Office new season started yet? I've completely lost touch with the world of Dwight, Jim, Pam, Michael, and the gang.) Last night, driving home with a wired and over-tired 3-year-old in the back seat, feeling my fever creep back a little, I was just really loathing facing the evening at home without Leslie. It was a night that, had it been a year or so ago, I would have just said, upon arriving home, "Honey, I need to pay some bills and clean up the desk. I feel like crap, and need to get to bed early. Can you take care of TJ duty tonight?" Instead, I just prayed all the way home (it was a short drive- 2 miles maybe- but it felt like 1000), "God... Provide... Get me through... Heal me... Settle him... I can't..." and so-on.
Now- to those of you from my church who are reading this... Please don't take this as a "cry for help" or as a "guilt trip" or whatever. I had so many people offer me last night, before leaving for home, "ANYTHING...ANY TIME..." But the fact of the matter is, TJ and I just need nights like this. It's all part of the process. To have had somebody else there to "help out" would have made it emotionally quite a bit harder. It's hard to explain. But I just needed to experience the "solitude" last night. (Different than "loneliness", as a cousin wiser than me has eloquently pointed out.) There are times God provides actual people and opportunities and tangible vehicles of His grace. And then there are times like last night where He attends to us as we wander in the desert. I'm not afraid to accept help when it's needed. I'm also not afraid to decline when I don't.
Anyway, God again provided, and here I am again, at my desk, taking a busy-work break to share this all with you. I'm not sure if I'm feeling better or worse, this morning, in regards to this little virus. I guess we can just say it's "progressing" which is better than "going nowhere". I should be back to 100% by the end of the week, according to others who seem to have had the same thing. More notable, perhaps, is an experience I had this morning, as I was getting ready for the day. It was before sunrise, the only light in the room was coming from my closet and the adjascent bathroom. I was sitting on my bed, buttoning up my shirt, just looking at the pictures on Leslie's dresser.
Just beautiful photos of the two of us. (I mean, photos of beautiful moments... you know what I mean...) On our wedding day. (pictured here) At a romantic little restaurant in St. Marten on our honeymoon. (We looked so YOUNG!) A picture of us grinning proudly as she holds up a giant 24" catfish she had just pulled out of my parent's pond. And one of my personal favorites-- pictures of us at Tad (my little brother) and Amity's wedding. I have often said that, while Leslie was unbelievably gorgeous on her wedding day, I believe she looked her BEST at that wedding, in July of '07, a mere two months before she was diagnosed. It's just so hard to believe, as I stare at her face in those pictures, that a tumor was growing there, right behind her eyes...
Anyway, I'm sitting there on my bed this morning, in a bit of a haze as I try to shake free from the grasp of sleep, trying to get my senses about me, to determine just how sick I am this morning... just staring at these pictures. And I realize in a moment of self-awarenes... I'm not crying. In fact, I'm smiling. The joy of the memories encapsulated in those pictures, even in my moment of half-consciousness, outweigh the pain of the loss that has followed. I am so thankful for the life we had, even if it is no longer. It is still ours. It is still mine.
So I hate to be redundant and go back to the "bittersweet" theme... But so it is this morning. Trying to keep in my right mind-- and within striking distance of the nearest bathroom-- as this virus "progresses", just trying to "get through" the day... the week... but with a soft smile on my face, in utter appreciation and thanksgiving for the gift of life with which we were blessed for those 7 years... and even more so, knowing that I get to carry those seven years with me, for the rest of this life... and then some.