Illustrations and Visions

2012, at St. Louis Zoo.

Secure in Christ. I was thinking about the marriage as being husband and wife walking with Jesus. This does not end when one partner dies. The marriage vows are fulfilled, but walking with Jesus continues. In my mind’s eye I can picture me – crumpled, broken, and fallen with Jesus standing next to me, His arm around my shoulders, pulling me close. At the same time, the Lord’s other arm is wrapped around Jana, she is shining and perfect…and He is holding her close, too.

Connect Four. Throughout life we make plans. Some are long-term, some are more dreams than actual plans. Plans, I have come to understand, can change. Jana and I talked a lot about the future. We looked forward to events and situations that we, for the most part, expected to happen. Here is the illustration…have you ever played the game Connect Four? There is a little bar across the bottom of a plastic frame, and each player takes turns dropping a chip in to form a line of 4. Imagine each chip as a plan made. We think about it, consider the options, and put our plan in place. Sometimes, we have positive feelings about our plan and it seems to be a winner. Then, without warning, somebody pulls the little bar out from underneath, and all the chips (plans) fall to the floor, leaving nothing in the frame. All of our hopes for this earth came crashing down on August 7th. No plans left. Now, I am skeptical of even picking up the first chip to drop into the frame…

Grief As Work. I have envisioned grief as a block of granite, a long path, and a dark cloud, all of which represent work. Grief is a job. For the most part it’s a full time job. I do believe there is “the other side” of grief. There is a place where faith, hope, and wisdom gained in the valley come together to allow a person to feel whole again. In my mind, to get there takes a lot of work. I face situations that I don’t want to face, I listen to the song I don’t want to hear, I talk about the things that make me cry, and I constantly process, process, process…all hard work.

Ray of Hope. I am looking both backwards and, increasingly, forwards. On both ends of the spectrum are lights of hope. Forward is easy to recognize, the rays of light are peace, joy, new relationships, and new understanding of “Chris.” Looking backwards, I see rays of hope, too. These rays are different. Someday, I want to be able to look back and be happy, not unbearably sad. I want to enjoy memories, be content with God and His plan, and not fall apart while remembering her. The hope manifests itself when I recall specific times and find myself feeling grateful and warm inside. I can see these lights on the horizons, and they are getting brighter…

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