Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Eight Month Run

Eight months today... This is the first time I had to double-check my month count. The passage of time does not seem quite so significant these days. I would guess that indicates progress in healing.

November. We are coming into the period of time I have feared since Chris died. November holds many monumental dates. My birthday, Erika's birthday, Thanksgiving. And you know what December holds. How will I "celebrate" my birthday? How will I make Erika's birthday special and fun? And how on earth will I manage holiday festivities?

It's hard doing all this alone. I know–I'm not truly alone. I have Jesus, and I have you all. But I want my husband. I feel like the most single married person–or perhaps the most married single person–in the world. I feel married. My friends are all married. I promised to be married for life. But now here I am–not married. This is the widow's story.

It's not really the every day things. I'm used to doing that by myself. It's the times when I wish I could co-decision-make with someone about holiday plans or budget choices or restaurant reservations. Or when my feelings are hurt, and I need someone to put a different spin on it all. Or when I want get dressed up for a hot date, like I did every Friday night. Or when my birthday comes, and I want my man to make a big deal of it.

But there is nothing to do except to keep going. Keep running. I pray for the "patience to run" (Hebrews 12:1) about which George Matheson wrote:
To run with patience is a very difficult thing. Running is apt to suggest the absence of patience, the eagerness to reach the goal. We commonly associate patience with lying down. We think of it as the angel that guards the couch of the invalid. Yet, I do not think the invalid’s patience the hardest to achieve.

There is a patience which I believe to be harder–the patience that can run. To lie down in the time of grief, to be quiet under the stroke of adverse fortune, implies a great strength; but I know of something that implies a strength greater still: It is the power to work under a stroke; to have a great weight at your heart and still to run; to have a deep anguish in your spirit and still perform the daily task. It is a Christlike thing!


  1. Dear Emily,

    Thanks for writing--you are right, about both: you are not really alone, and you are running a marathon, not a sprint. And we come to a challenging season when (nearly) everything will remind you of what you have lost in Chris's death.

    But perhaps the eternally true reasons for these holy days--the foundation of the everlasting arms--will also remind you of all that you have in Christ, and of all those who love and care for you.

    May joys emerge, even when sorrows come (as they will), and may sorrows succumb to peace.

    The Lord be with you.


  2. Emily,

    I read that exact same entry in Streams in the Desert the other day and thought of you. In my version (edited by James Reimann), that last portion reads as this.

    "...the power to still run with a heavy heart, and the power to perform your daily tasks with deep sorrow in your spirit. This is a Christlike thing!"

    Powerful words and perspective. Praying for your strength and for God to continue to meet you in the depths. Your witness on this journey has been powerful and will impact many for God's glory.

    Kris (Reynhout) Kieper

  3. Dear Emily,

    Just wanted you to know that Mary Fontaine has started a new Grief share group in Woodbury at her church. It is a 13 week journey with others who have known loss, and is Christian based. I found it very helpful at the 6 month mark. You may find it helpful now. I will be in prayer as you enter the holiday season. If you prefer something shorter, Mary has a 3 hour grief-share program called "Surviving the Holidays" which is on a Sunday in mid-November. I went to that before I went to the actual 13 week program, and it was so helpful, because I didn't know how I was going to get through the whole holiday season.

    Continuing to pray for you as we both run this marathon, as your friend so aptly put it. Love ya sister,

    Leaning hard on God,
    Susanne Horn