An Ordinary Day

Being content with life means accepting the circumstances in which God’s providence has placed me…And so this is what I need now; the courage to face an ordinary day…from Ordinary by Michael Horton

In these still-new days of widowhood, some ordinary days do take courage; some are easier. Yesterday was a good day: had fans installed and a few pictures hung by my very sweet handyman. He and his wife are expecting a baby in July and I was able to give him a copy of The Jesus Storybook Bible . I painted some chairs, wrote a letter, paid a bill and did some cleaning. I picked up the kids from their summer camps – basketball for one, cheer for the other. Later I went back over to their house for a delicious supper of grilled chicken and vegies. When I got home Ruby and I had a short walk around the block. An ordinary day. A blessed day.

The true field for religion is the field of common life. – Andrew MacLaren

We and us

November, 2018

"But if Hugh dies first, would I ever be able to stop saying "we" and say "I"? I doubt it. I do not think that death can take away the fact the Hugh and I are "we" and "us", a new creature born at the time of our marriage vows, which has grown along with us as our marriage has grown." - Two-Part Invention by Madeleine L'Engle 

I find myself struggling when I talk to people who don’t really know me yet. I think when I say “we” I confuse them. But, so many times it’s just not the right time to tell the whole story. And If I just say, “My husband passed away last year,” they are left in an uncomfortable position sometimes. They always say, “I’m so sorry,” but then there is this awkward silence.

And I really don’t like being introduced as the woman who just lost her husband. I’d rather tell people on my own terms, in my own time, in my own way.

So, yes, I’ll always be a part of “we” but I’m also “I”. Whoever that is.

Moving Forward

I’m not one for looking for signs and wonders, but sometimes it’s just interesting how God can use seemingly insignificant things to direct our thoughts. I follow a blog called DC Widow that has been very helpful to me. Her post from March 11 was good, but it was a comment from a reader that got me started on the idea of moving forward. The reader, Steph, said, “Nora McInerny’s TED talk about not moving on but moving forward is spot on…” so, I looked it up and she was right.

At breakfast I picked up the AARP bulletin to scan it while I ate and the cover jumped out at me: “The Path Forward”.

AARP Bulletin

Then, at lunch I did the same with the latest copy of Southern News, from Florida Southern College. Inside was was an article heading “…move forward without forgetting the past.” Wow. It all goes together.

Southern News, Winter, 2021

I am moving forward, well, literally I’m moving south. In two weeks. I closed on my home in Tampa on March 5, then stayed there a week on an air mattress, painting walls and planning. At the end of each day I just drove 1.6 miles to my son’s house where I was fed and loved on. Now I’m finishing up packing and preparing for my third move since last May. It’s been exhausting, not just physically but emotionally. I have to keep stopping myself from the thoughts of “this isn’t how it was supposed to be”. I remind myself, rather, “this isn’t how we planned it.”

Carole King’s song, Anyone At All, comes to mind. I have loved that song ever since I saw “You’ve Got Mail” years ago. It felt like Our Song. It feels like it even more now.

“You’ve become a memory I can’t erase…” “It wasn’t in the plan, not that I could see…” “…that’s what catches me when I fall
I’m so glad it was you”

How tenderly

“To the widow of the departed Christian, there is another ingredient in the cup of her sorrow, another aggravation of the loss she has sustained, and that is—she is deprived of her own spiritual comforter and companion…How tenderly did he solve her doubts, relieve her perplexities, and comfort her in her sorrows. How sweet was it to take counsel with him on the things of the eternal world, and to walk to the house of God in company…but that tongue is now silent in the grave; those holy hands are now no more lifted up to bless the household; that mild scepter of paternal rule has dropped.” – The Widow Directed to the Widow’s God by John Angell James, 1841

Chuck was very tender when it came to handling my questions, my complaints, my sadness. He was patient with me.

I find I can walk into the house of worship alone, but sometimes I can’t make it through the service without tears. But, I did today, so it was a good day. I keep responding that I have good days and bad when people ask. It seems to have become strings of good days and strings of bad days.

“…those holy hands are now no more lifted up to bless the household; that mild scepter of paternal rule has dropped.” I found this to be so true during this first Christmas without Chuck. I had hoped to step into his place and lead the family in scripture reading and prayer, but it just didn’t happen. And I felt like a failure. I don’t know how to be the spiritual head of my family. This is part of the cup of my sorrow.

Not a widow INDEED, but still…

I’ve thought a lot about widowhood and ministry the past few months. I mentioned it in an earlier blog post HERE . I’ve been saddened to see how other widows, not just me, have been neglected by the church. Widows who were and are faithful church members. Widows who have lost their husbands of many years, who were also faithful servants of God. One whose husband was a retired pastor himself. But where is the church in all of this? Even if these widows aren’t “widows indeed” they still need to be ministered to. At least checked on now and again by their pastor or elder or deacon.

“The Bible has much to say about ministering to one another besides the giving  of money…If you assume she (the widow) is fine just because she attends worship each Sunday, you are failing in your ministry to her. Regular visits at her home are the best way to fulfill the James 1 command… It is also the best way to know her and to interact with her so that she will feel comfortable divulging other needs.”  –  The Undistracted Widow by Carol Cornish

In my case it took me being the “squeaky wheel” to receive a call. Part of me felt ashamed, felt that I should be able to go it alone. I have brothers and children, so why was I complaining? Don’t get me wrong, my family and some friends have been a HUGE help and comfort to me. Yet, when it came to spiritual things, I wasn’t sure where to turn. I ended up pouring out feelings to a former pastor, one with a shepherd’s heart. And God, in His mercy, helped me.

The Lord intended for His church to be a support system, but we can’t be a support system if we don’t know each other.”  – Leaving Darkland by Ed Wallen


I see now that not knowing each other is one big hindrance. I see that it is a two-way street, one I hope to travel and become the one who ministers to other weary travelers.