192 Days and counting…

Today is Friday, 192 days since Kathy died.


There is a strange tension in calculating the days since Kathy’s passing because it feels like a tether that continues to stretch toward an unknown future.  As I reflect on the days, I think about the woman in Mark 5 whose illness lasted 12 years and I consider Naomi whose grieving of a passed husband and two sons was at least 10 years before she reenters the Bethlehem society she once called home.  Time passes fast in some ways and drags on eternally in others.  192 days may not sound like much time unless you are living through an illness and a trauma.  Honestly, there are times when it seems like just yesterday Kathy died and then there are times when it feels like it has been lifetime.  Life feels like a see-saw with no partner on the other side, balancing the highs and lows.
Yet, I’m having good days.
I just returned from a week in South Africa with Jeremy, Mark Walker and a team of dedicated servants from Mount Paran, North.  It had long been my dream to visit South Africa since I read the story of Nelson Mandela and how the power of forgiveness in Robbers’ Prison off Capetown shaped his life view in a way that ultimately saved an entire country.  Going there connected me to some wonderful memories and powerful spiritual experiences.  It was amazing at the crusade we did, to see people literally running to the altar and seeing large groups of people pray for repentance and healing.  Jeremy preached a masterful sermon on Sunday AM in Hoedspruit at the crusade in which numbers of people rededicated their lives to kingdom service, allowing as Jeremy invited them, God’s calling and Holy Spirit infilling to be the catalyst for effective impact on their communities.  I was very proud of him.  While there I experienced my first safari/game drives and saw up close the animals of the wild–lions, elephants, giraffes, cheetahs, buffalos, rhinos, etc…and was moved to realize how much fun Adam must have had in naming and viewing all these animals as they passed before him.  The creation felt very real to me in South Africa bush country.  Our hosts were gracious and the accommodations were excellent.
My parents arrived yesterday for a three week stay. Dad is preaching in some Ohio churches on the weekends and will travel with me some as possible.   Mom seems intent on making sure I eat well and bringing some “home” culture back into my life.  Singleness has not been a healthy, wholesome physical experience to date.  Too much stress, too much busy living, occupying my thoughts and trying to stay ahead of the emotions that press against my joy.  I know I’m healing and in time things will be more manageable.  As I adjust to the new normals of life without Kathy, I wrestle with the deep foreboding questions of how I’m supposed to do this and yet I know God’s grace is daily securing my future and my hope.  Time is the issue, waiting and allowing God to accomplish purpose in my soul and heart.
The memorial walk for Kathy that Jan is hosting next weekend in Columbus will be a good reunion for our family, as most are coming in.  I’m hearing from friends who have decided to make the trek here to be part of what we are doing.  I’m hoping the pre-release of Life is Harder will be available to those who are here.  We are still looking at mid-October or so for the full release.
David Crowder sings a song titled “Sometimes” and the words speak to my present state of mind.
Sometimes every one of us feels Like we’ll never be healed
Sometimes every one of us aches Like we’ll never be saved

When we’ve given up Let Your healing come
When there’s nothing left Let Your healing come
‘Til we’re rising up Let Your healing come
Where You go, we will follow Where You go, we will follow

It’s Your love that we adore It’s like a sea without a shore
We’re lost in You, we’re lost in You
It’s Your love that we adore It’s like a sea without a shore
We’re lost in You, we’re lost in You

So, I’m pressing on and remembering the song Kathy and I sang so often that was made special in our hearts by Walter Atkinson who called for it every time we went to see a sick pastor or pastor’s spouse and in the course of the visit would say, “Let’s worship a bit together…sing Kathy!” and we would all join in to sing Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus and the place would be holy and sacred and I find myself at times singing and humming that tune with new energy and holding to the final phrase– O for grace to trust Him more!


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