This Monday, October 10th, would have been my late husband’s 50th birthday. He passed away almost 16 years ago, just a few weeks after he turned 34. The old saying about how time stops for no one, really is true. A lot has happened in the years since his death, much has changed.
Sometimes on special occasions or during certain events, I am reminded of the hands of time. My husband, a huge Dale Earnhardt fan, didn’t know his NASCAR hero died in the last lap of the Daytona 500 in February of 2001. He never watched in horror, as the Twin Towers fell, and thousands perished on that fateful day in September. He wasn’t there when our son was baptized, or when he graduated from high school. He didn’t vote in the last few elections, and never got to see his grandchildren be born.
For those of us that have lost a loved one, a strange thing happens. Life becomes a series of, “before’s and after’s”. Remembering what happened before that person passed. And, what has happened since?
Thinking about Kennis today. Looking at pictures and noticing his lopsided grin, that lives on in our son. Reading the words his daughter posted to me, about missing her Dad. At certain times, the embers of remembrance are stirred until a bright flame breaks through the darkness. A time comes when one starts celebrating the life that was, instead of mourning the death that occurred.
However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him– 1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV
So, I am currently in a Women’s Bible study group. We are reading through Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman. The book is good, in the sense that it causes me to think, consider, and well…..learn to keep my mouth shut. There is a time and place for everything, and quite frankly just because I am thinking something, doesn’t mean I need to say it. Is what I am saying truly beneficial? Is it helpful to others? Am I speaking truth? Or are my motives more about being right, and having the last word? Yes, admit it. We have all been there! The truth is, I might legitimately be right and my words valid, but that doesn’t mean I need to use my words like a sledge hammer.
Let’s make no mistake about it. Words have power. They can build another up or destroy. Words can decimate, far greater than a sword. We have all probably had experiences where someone said something that hurt us, and we carry the scars of how those words made us feel, even years later. I remember words a friend’s older brother said about me, when I was just ten years old. The teenage boy’s thoughtless words probably meant nothing to him, but cut me deeply.
I do not want to be that person. The one whose words sting.
I can be wise when I choose what words to say……or not say.
Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning. Proverbs 10:12-13a NIV
It was a turning point year, the year I turned forty. My husband, kids, and I were celebrating my special day with my mom and my sister and her family. I’ve always enjoyed birthdays with family. My growing up years, as far back as I can remember, was always celebrating birthdays with family. The traditional birthday cake, ice cream, and presents. Is there really any other way to commemorate the completion of another year?
This particular year, the year I turned forty, was not so unusual, and yet it was. Turning forty was a mile marker, a special birthday, but I wasn’t sure I was ready to be a forty-something. My husband acted a little anxious, and seemed to be rushing the party along. I was enjoying myself, why make it go any faster? Suddenly everyone was tired, so we said our good-byes and started home. As soon as we got home, my husband suggested me go out for coffee (which was a normal “date” for us). I thought it a little odd that we just got home and he wanted to go back out, but I was clueless. It wasn’t until we were several miles down the interstate that I started to wonder what was going on. He said we are just going for a drive. I questioned, where? He responded “a birthday surprise”. My husband had “kidnapped” me and was whisking me off for a weekend get-away to Asheville, N.C. to start my 40’s off right.
We had so much fun, and it was made even more special because of the effort my husband had made to have the kids taken care of, suitcases already packed and sneakily put into the trunk of the car, and having reserved a beautiful room in a gorgeous location.
That day turned out to be one of my most memorable birthdays….the best party ever.