Last night I attended a beautiful service at my parents church dedicated to remembering the faithful departed who died in the past year or in years long past. It coincides beautifully with All Saints and All Souls Day following the spooky fun of Halloween and trick or treating. I have not been regularly going to church since Wesley passed away. I’m not mad or angry with God, but it is in some ways like we are on hiatus. To be candid, I just have a hard time finding the ability to be self reflective and thinking on God’s mercy of late. Plus getting to the 9:00 a.m. service, which is more child friendly, is a challenge too. We get up and get dressed but cannot seem to get out the door in time. During the week, after all of the chores and parenting responsibilities are done I’m not emotionally able to them reflect on my day. I can barely form a coherent sentence let alone contemplate my feelings.
But last night I did just that. I sat quietly with my thoughts in the large and beautiful sanctuary where I grew up. I looked at the front pews and remembered myself as a young girl sandwiched between my friends Brooke and Laura during Vespers singing “Pass it On” and “Seek Ye First” my tummy full of Pizza Hut pizza after choir practice. I glanced at the balcony and thought of the years and years I sat up there with my parents sometimes paying rapt attention to the sermons, sometimes playing surreptitious games of “Hangman” on the church bulletin. But mostly I stared at the front, the beautiful organ pipes, the green carpeted steps and the two pulpits. I stood there on those very steps less than 9 years ago and married the man I thought I’d be with forever.
Through my tears I glanced to the left and imagined the candle Wesley and I lit signifying our lives joining together, from two become one. I remembered that in my nervousness at the exchange of rings I accidentally put my wedding ring on his right finger which was much larger than mine so we spent part of the candle lighting re-exchanging our rings while trying not to laugh. I smiled to remember that after we recessed from the church, the strains of Mendelssohn’s Wedding March in our ears Wesley picked me up and said, “I’m so happy. I’m just so very happy, Katherine” with tears streaming down his face. Those are memories that are beautiful and tender and lovely. And there are hundreds, millions of moments like that in our all too short time together but of late I have found myself looking at only the what might have beens instead of the beauty of what was. What and who lives on because of that love, beauty, laughter and all of the blinks of an eye in between.
In the post I wrote months ago for Life as a Widower I spoke about the need to listen to God’s gentle words instead of loudly beating the door of Heaven. In the past month or so I believe, without realizing it, I decided that if God was not answering my knock at the door in the timeframe and in the manner that I liked then I’m not bloodying my knuckles anymore. God knows my address, He can come a-calling when He is ready. I have “too much to do” to sit by the proverbial phone. I’ll show Him! Because, yeah that makes sense, right? Except of course it doesn’t because I still feel bad, lost, lonely…and faithless. My faith which has been my core and the solace I have found in these and other trying times has been cast aside out of pride and hurt. I’m hurting, but like a wounded animal I want to lash out instead of taking the help offered if I would just open my ears and heart. I strive to be better.
In the quiet space and beautiful place I found myself last night I once again allowed myself to remember. Remember who I was, who we were and who I still am. I smiled as I remember that a year ago today we stayed up late making chocolate frosted cupcakes for our my nephew’s birthday, Wesley joking that I kept stealing the frosting while his own mouth was rather chocolaty; to mourn that we will celebrate our nephew’s birthday again tonight, but Wesley will not be there to laugh and enjoy pizza and cake. But last night I remembered to smile tearfully as the bell tolled his name as a dearly departed. Because he is so very, very dear. And I shall never forget that.