For I know the plans I have for you declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
I spend a lot of time hiking which allows me quiet time to think. As I climb over rocks and roots watching rivers rush by I reflect and think. I have noticed something lately that is yet another layer to my grief. I do not think about or plan the future. I think this is because my late husband and I had mapped out our future together well into our senior years. We had planned the lifestyle we would live while our kids were teens, the type of grandparents we would be, the options of where we would be living in retirement, activities we would do in retirement and eventually how awesome it would be to be “that couple” in the retirement home, still flirting and excited that our meals were always cooked for us. We then joked about haunting each other after we died, and then one day continuing our marriage in heaven.
A simple comment about needing the odd baby equipment for when I am a grandparent brought a deep sadness that I had to push away. I can’t think that far into future without instantly being triggered. The one meant to share those plans with me won’t be here. He should have been here!
I am an optimist and have always looked at life as half full so I don’t always look to the future with dread any more like I did in the early days of my grief. However, I find now I just can’t bring myself to think about any future plans beyond dreaming of holidays or adventures. I never could have imagined I needed to be planning to be widowed at 40.
Reflecting on this has made me aware yet again of just how many aspects of my life have changed with widowhood. Nothing is the same anymore, Widow Life is Hard. Everything has changed from my mental health, to how I raise my kids, to how I interact with people, how I handle stress, how I view the world, my fears, my finances, my friend group, my hobbies, my lifestyle, my sleep patterns and daily routines. I also struggle to be able to visualize the future. I am not done figuring any of these changes out. My life continues to be changing. I continue to change in all these areas. I am still very much learning how to be on my own.
I think sometimes my brain is still trying to figure out how this could be possible. In a month and one week it will be three years. Yet there are days I still can’t believe Chad isn’t here. How is it possible that I am here trying to live our life and he isn’t?
I notice people more now than I did prior. I have never been a “people watcher” but now I see them and am in awe of them now. So much brokenness in our world yet people continue to live. As I see people going through life, I wonder the reason for it all. Why am I still here? Why are they? Who does God step in and prolong earthly life for and who does he not? What is the purpose God must have set out for me that allows me to still be here? In a world so full of pain and brokenness what role does suffering play as God refines His people?
So many questions left unanswered as I try to heal and figure out life after it was hijacked by cancer. How is someone suppose to plan any kind of future when the original plan was stolen and all that is left in its wake is uncertainty?
I have decided I am not meant to plan the future or need to have any idea what it might hold. I just need to hold on to the ONE who does. Trust that despite my brokenness in a broken world I don’t need to have anything figured out but just be willing to go where He calls me. God holds my future so in that I give up my need to know and can relax. Filled with His peace.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10