"…for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her." (Proverbs 8:11)

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Breath of Life

Earlier this week, I discovered an unusual video that my husband left behind. He was testing a new camera gimbal and recorded jerky footage of our living room furniture as he fiddled with various settings on the remote control. I watched eagerly, waiting for a greater narrative to unfold, but Craig had switched off the camera after less than a minute. Others may have found the footage unremarkable. To me, it was priceless.

I could hear him breathing.

The sound of Craig’s breath gripped my heart as if he were reading me a love poem. Every inhalation, every sigh, had been imprinted in my soul during our 14 years of marriage. I recognized the slight huff as he lifted the camera and the way his breathing changed when he was problem-solving. I listened to the air flow from his lungs as he went about his work and pictured the way he pursed his lips while deep in thought. The tears came.

We take so much for granted with the people we hold dear. Their mannerisms. Their gait. The sound and cadence of their voice. We tacitly cherish those qualities, yet rarely give them any thought. For 14 years, I laid next to my husband in bed at night, quietly comforted by the sound of his breathing. Those times that he would snore, I preferred to forego sleep rather than have him move to the couch. Even when we fought, I wanted him near. Next to me. Sighing deeply.

In the creation story, God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the very breath of life. Whereas God had spoken the rest of creation into existence, man was different. God’s divine breath made Adam a living being.

I could hear the breath of life in that video—the wind from Craig’s mouth carrying the melody of his spirit. That haphazard scene of the living room couch reveals how his presence once filled our home, even when no words were spoken. I will listen to it again someday and cherish a sound I hadn’t much considered before. It’s a sound we should never take lightly, as each breath holds the essence of someone we love.

© 2019 Leslie J. Thompson. All rights reserved.

The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

JOB 33:4 (ESV)

September 26, 2019   No Comments

14 Months

I let the dog out this morning and looked up at the waning stars. The day was still quiet, but dawn was fast approaching. Another milestone. 

“I never would have imagined,” I said out loud to no one. A brief sense of defeat washed over me as I watched our Jack Russell go about her routine. She turned toward the door, ready for a treat. And I counted my blessings. 

Today marks 14 months since Craig crossed over to a world we cannot see. Rather than mourn, I reflected on what God has done. In 14 months, I have been to Nicaragua and Guatemala, to Florida and Oregon and Kentucky. I have celebrated family gatherings in the summer and the fall, eaten pizza on the beach, and discovered the beauty of Lake Michigan. I have helped a long-time friend get back on her feet while I learned to walk again myself, hosted small group meetings in my home, and sponsored a table in Craig’s honor at a benefit dinner. I have stayed engaged in Women’s Bible Study, prison ministry, and the Rotary Club, and soaked up buckets of love and support from friends old and new in each of those realms. I have reconnected with former classmates and coworkers, prayed over the sick, painted the bedroom, and celebrated Passover. 

I have cried more in 14 months than in the 14 years prior. But those tears watered the roots of my faith. Losing my earthly husband spurred a deeper intimacy with my Creator and a hunger for His Word. And as I have pressed into Him, I have experienced His boundless love in surprising new ways. He whispers to my heart, shows me special signs, and sweetly demonstrates His care through all of those who continue to rally around me when I fear I’ve been forgotten. 

Yesterday, I received a letter from an inmate whom I met through prison ministry. His name is Hezekiah, and he is 85 years old. I admired the beautiful cursive penmanship as I read his words of encouragement. “Since your husband Craig has been summoned by the Lord to another area of glory, the Lord has challenged me to check on you,” he wrote. He reminded me that some days may feel more burdensome than others, but God will never leave me or forsake me. The joy of the Lord is my strength. 

Hebrews 13:3 says, “Remember those in prison, as if you were their fellow prisoner.” How could my heart not leap at his note? This precious man, who has spent decades behind bars, knew the danger of being bound by grief and self-pity, and he remembered me. HE remembered ME. 

I still count the days, but I also count my blessings. I have walked 14 months without my husband, but I had 14 years of marriage with him. I am so grateful for the adventures and laughter and lessons we learned. If it weren’t for Craig, I never would have met Hezekiah or all the other brothers in Christ behind bars, or all my friends at Rotary, or everyone I know through Quest and Fellowship of the Sword, or even our neighbors next door. Craig had an unwavering passion for people and lived to love others. Today, I will honor him by doing the same.

© 2019 Leslie J. Thompson. All rights reserved.

…a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance…
ECCLESIASTES 3:4

September 6, 2019   No Comments