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

As the Day Approaches

I can see the milestone on the near horizon. One year. A whole year. Where I used to count up—one week, one month, six months—now I’ve been counting down. Saturday will be 365 days since Craig passed. One year since my world changed. A year of transition, revelation, deep sorrow, and occasional joy.

One year.

Others have been counting, too. Friends and acquaintances have reached out this past week with words of comfort and concern. “How are you doing with the big day coming up?” “Do you have anything planned that day?” Their questions are rooted in sincerity and deep compassion. Yet, I found myself texting a fellow widow to ask, “Is it normal to want to punch them in the throat?”

I am an ingrate. But, grief is not logical. My friend affirmed my mudpuddle of emotions and shared from her own journey. The end of her message summarized so perfectly my feelings as I watch the days and hours tick by.

“There’s no such thing as an easy answer to these types of questions. If I say I’m doing well, then I’m lying. But, there’s no way for me to succinctly explain to you something you just can’t understand if you haven’t experienced it,” she wrote.

Yes. That.

Truthfully, though, I am doing well. Last week was marked by two days of crippling grief and brain fog. But, yesterday was brilliant. I watched a friend’s son get baptized. A mid-day video shoot for a long-time client went exceptionally well. In the evening, nearly 20 people gathered at my home for food and fellowship, healing prayer and a time of teaching in God’s Word. The day was a series of successes and cause for celebration. I cried briefly as I said goodnight to my absent husband, but I went to bed grateful. I dare say, I felt content.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

HEBREWS 10:24-25 NIV

Life is a series of mile markers. Some bring great joy—graduations and weddings, new homes, new jobs, new birth. Others mark times of sadness and loss. The death of a parent. The death of a spouse. The death of a dream. But, the journey does not stop at the milestones. They are simply indicators of the profound events that we’ve experienced along the way, and point to the road ahead. They shape our perspective as we look back and look forward while helping us to find our place in the present.

And so, I face the road boldly, and encourage myself with the promises in God’s Word. He gives us beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of despair. Yes, this is my temporary home. But, who knows what milestones lie beyond the next hill?

© 2019 Leslie J. Thompson. All rights reserved.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

ISAIAH 61:1-3 NIV

July 1, 2019   1 Comment

A Father’s Love

Today marks one year since my father passed away. He was only 65, and died of a stealthy cancer that had already taken up camp in his body months before it was finally recognized.

My dad was angry about this, and felt robbed of the comfortable retirement he had neatly planned out. After four decades of teaching at the university level, he was looking forward to taking the first of many ocean cruises with his wife of 28 years, Regina. Instead, he made his first of many visits to the hospital for bloodwork and PET scans and chemotherapy treatments intended to ward off his disease.

I miss my dad with a deep ache in my heart. But I am deeply blessed by the time we spent together during the last year of his life, and the knowledge that we became closer and loved one another more than we ever had before.

You see, my father was something of a stoic. He raised me as a single parent for 11 years before he remarried, and although he loved me deeply, he wasn’t one for outpourings of affection. We were more like roommates, each going about our daily routine and carrying our weight in keeping up the household. He was also a strict disciplinarian, especially when it came to academics, and as a child I regarded him with equal parts adoration and fear.

More importantly, my father was an atheist. And, despite all his best efforts to teach me to be a “free thinker”, I became a born again Christian at age 34.

We never talked about religion, except once several years prior, when I was attending Catholic church. Having never been taught about God at all, Catholicism was a comfortable stepping stone in my journey of faith. It was also anathema to my father, who was raised Jewish and — although he was a theology minor in college — later chose to abstain from any religious doctrine or belief in a higher power. The conversation was laughable, like a child at her First Communion trying to explain the precepts of faith to a Ph.D., when she had only encountered a feltboard Jesus.

We never discussed religion after I was born again, and left the Catholic church in New York for a pentecostal congregation in Dallas, Texas. We never talked about what it meant for me to accept Jesus into my heart, or how the Holy Spirit truly transformed me from the inside out, softening the hard edges and filling me with joy, faith and compassion.

But he saw it.

I flew to North Carolina to visit my father several times during the last two years of his life, knowing — if only in theory — that our time together was suddenly limited. And, although I never witnessed to him or shared the gospel in conversation, I lived it. I demonstrated Christ’s love to him in every way I knew how, which sometimes meant just being there to encourage him with my companionship. I asked him to tell me stories about his accomplishments in high school and college, and I helped him organize the myriad photos, awards and papers that would mark his legacy. I assured him that my husband and I were happy in our marriage and financially secure — two things that mattered deeply to him.

And I told him that I loved him. Whenever I came to visit, and whenever we talked on the phone, I made sure to tell him — and as time went on, I felt it deeper and deeper in my heart. Despite the battles of my youth and our divergent worldviews in my adulthood, I respected and appreciated my father more than ever. Nothing could take away the pain and bitterness of his sickness, but he knew that he was loved, and there is no greater balm.

My husband Craig put together this wonderful video tribute to my father’s life to play at his memorial. I’m adding it here to honor him.

I love you, dad.

[media id=1]

Dr. Jay Rosenberg
1942 – 2008

February 21, 2009   3 Comments