This month marks the 7th anniversary of the end of Dave’s earthly life. It marks many other things too – the loss of a friend, a brother, father, and husband. While Dave’s life has begun again in Glory with Jesus, those left behind still must go on. Until that day we are reunited, we have pain. Our loved one does not.
Seven years is a short while, and yet a long time. Dreams that once were, are no more; but new dreams have replaced the old. I have done so much dreaming over the years that I felt stuck, in the same old story.
Recently I heard this statement, and it stuck with men it is now the tune I sing. Make memories of your dreams and they will last a lifetime. This is brilliant and I am moving forward singing this song. For years I have been reaching for the stars, my personal stars, only to stop short of attaining them. I have chased after the dream to write since I was a teen. So much so, that I think my friends are tired of hearing it.
I know I have a passion for writing, and a gift – at least enough of one to learn the rest. So, from this day forward, no more living in the past, chasing dreams from years gone by. No, from now on I have every reason and ability to make memories out of my dreams.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart
I still identify as a widow, even years into this lonesome season. I struggle to remember the partnership which once defined me. Many questions haunt my thinking. For almost five years, I contemplated the past, those years before ‘we’, became ‘me’. I ask myself if my season of grief is coming to an end. Am I allowed to be happy again?
What do I do with the dream we shared as a couple? Should I build a new dream?
I can only speak from my own experience, my own life, and I am praying these words to speak into your life.
My husband Dave, visualized a retirement lived out in the north woods of Wisconsin. His dream included a cabin tucked away from all the busyness of the world. He longed for the day when his life held no more deadlines and the hours spent fishing, hunting, rebuilding motorcycles defined retirement.
A beautiful fantasy lived in my heart too, but my image did not look anything like the cabin in the woods scene. No fishing poles or guns or motorcycles dotted the horizon. A view out my window contained palm trees and sandy beaches. This window resembled the large windshield of an RV. I wanted to step outside my comfort zone, and travel to warm climates in the winter and visit friends I had yet to meet.
I longed to sit by the ocean and spend days on end writing, walking, and in general, dreaming up a good story to tell. I dreamed of visiting new cities and making friends along the way. Much like Promised Land, the 1996 TV show with Gerald McRaney.
Is the time to resurrect my dream or some version, at hand? Can one person cling to a dream all by herself? Am I too old to adventure into the unknown all on my own? So many questions and only God holds the answers.
A few days ago while reading from the devotional book, Jesus Calling, this sentence struck me, “I can bring beauty out of the ashes of lost dreams.” Perhaps this is my answer.
Tomorrow – Staying in the moment is wise counsel, not fearing tomorrow’s troubles is good advice. But, being open to tomorrow is necessary. We must hold on to the fact we have a future, we just don’t have a clear picture of it yet – not that we ever did, but we had plans and dreams.
This week during my early morning time with God I was beginning to get a better idea of what He wanted for my life. I was starting to see His plan and His dreams for me. The words in the devotional book I was reading touched my spirit. “Do not be afraid to enter the cloud descending on your life, for God is in it.”
I can’t count the number of times during this season of grief that God comforted or counselled me through the words in this book. “I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2 NIV) I may be in a cloud of grief, pain and uncertainty, but God is right there with me. I can feel His presence.
Plans and Dreams – Getting back to plans and dreams. About two years in to my state of widowhood I began to realize that I did not have any dreams, nothing in the future to look forward to. That wasn’t because I was so caught up in Dave’s death that I didn’t want to live; no, it was because my dreams were our dreams, they are now history.
I came to the conclusion I needed to have my own visions of tomorrow. I need a new fresh reason to get out of bed in the morning. It is the perfect time to follow my heart, to stick close to God and seek out new experiences. There is joy to be found in this new life I am living. There is excitement to embrace and a New Beginning to explore.
Grace ‘n Grins
Streams in the Desert is the book I refer to above. You can read here.