My husband’s 3rd angelversary was last week. My capsized heart still cannot grasp the flood of pain that engulfs me each day. It truly feels like it was just yesterday that I kissed his lips and held his hands for the last time. In numerous, multifaceted ways, I feel like grief is a never ending passage and I am paralyzed in an altered state. Do you ever feel like this?

After returning home from visiting and adorning my husband’s grave, as I went through remnants and keepsakes of our love, I came across a card, one of many that he gave me. The front was embellished with a rainbow and this insightful quote from John Macduff, “Trust God where you cannot trace him. Do not try to penetrate the cloud he brings over you; rather look to the rainbow that is on it. The mystery is God’s; the promise is yours.” The coaxing whispers of our Lord simply amaze me, as I know He planted that card for me to see; a true nugget of wisdom to spur me forward.

Whenever I catch sight of a rainbow, an instant, automatic, “awe, and oh” seems to escape my lips. They are inspiring, fleeting, mesmerizing, and calming all at once. Furthermore, I always feel like rainbows are God’s equivalent of receiving a card sent with His unsurpassed, saturating love. Beginning with red and ending with purple, they signify a sign, promise, and covenant.

When I was in 7th grade, the Parish Education Department, our pastor, and deacons of my church asked me if I would like to start teaching Sunday school and form a children’s choir. I was beyond ecstatic, as it incorporated all my loves: God, children and music. The room they gave me to use was huge, so I decided to paint a rainbow across one wall. That rainbow engaged and evoked smiles from the young to the elderly as it reflected the glory and majesty of our Lord.

Before my beloved husband’s passing, due to his cancer, he endured months of physical and uncontrollable pain. One afternoon as a storm brewed and thrashed outside, I prayed once again that David would be healed, and in fact, begged God to switch our roles, to give me the cancer and spare him. Just as I said, “Amen,” I glanced out the hospital window, the rain had ceased and switched to a breathtaking rainbow. In addition, coming back from picking out my husband’s grave plot, a rainbow appeared, as well as on his first angelversary, which happened to fall on Easter.

If I could rewind time, I would. If my tears could bring my husband back, they would. I don’t want to live without him; however, I desire to honor God, my husband, and my daughters. I know my husband would want me to live a life of fulfillment and joy, just as I would covet for him if our roles were reversed. There is no how to manual on how to be a widow, no academic class, or no rehearsals. So for now, as I muddle my way through, I am striving to seek and absorb the hope of rainbow messages via our Master Designer.

The symbolic meanings of rainbows speak volumes: affirmation, celebration, creation, mercy, potential, purpose, provision, transformation, validation, and the list can go on and on. The questions rainbows stir up and allow me to ponder are: What does God have in store for my future? How can I exercise my faith, manage and calm my anxiety, allowing me to feel rest assured and evolve in His plan and promise? It is time to take a fresh look, a new perspective and as George Gordon Bryon so profoundly stated, “Be thou the rainbow to the storms of life.”

Amongst our shared grief… widow to widow… friend to friend, if you are like me, and your faith seems to falter sometimes, please embrace the courage that is innately instilled in you to recognize rainbows.  You are a woman in transition, recovery, and healing. You can do this!

Dear Heavenly Father, Today is yet another milestone without my beloved. I still cannot fathom how I have made it through another breath, another hour, another step, another day, another week, and another month without him. It is truly by your grace that I can proceed forth. As I armor my heart against all the turbulence, downpours, and sorrows of life, help me to open up my being and to recognize the rainbows in the midst of my grief.  Amen

As always, please feel free to comment and/or share. I appreciate how we learn from each other.

With Warmth and Hope to You,

Lisa Dempsey Bargewell