I’ve been working in the basement lately, purging scrapbooking materials I’ll never use, organizing photos, sorting through my husband’s things trying to figure out what is sentimental and should be kept versus what needs to go. It’s been a lot of work – physically and emotionally.
I found a bin full of my oldest’s school papers. That seemed like an easy place to start. There shouldn’t be anything here to make me feel difficult things. I mean, I don’t need to keep every report card and writing assignment, so this should be a piece of cake, I thought. The process of purging the papers has been a wonderful and funny trip down memory lane. I found this “self-portrait” that made me laugh until my face hurt.
I found coupons good for one free hug and “an evening at Lane Bryant.” Oh my goodness, hysterical. And I’m totally cashing these in this year as she prepares to officially fly the nest. Sorry you didn’t put an expiration date on the coupons, B?
But then, in the bin of school papers, I found a stack of cards and hand-written letters from my husband. Joy and laughter quickly turned into a gallon of tears. The timing of finding these treasures is remarkable. This Sunday, December 4, would have been our 12th wedding anniversary. It got me thinking about joy and sorrow – and how closely related they actually are. Reading his tender, sweet, loving words to me cause both of these emotions simultaneously.
I ponder how joy is not fully realized if we have never experienced sorrow, and vice versa. Can we appreciate light in the absence of dark? Can we understand the blessing that is health if we’ve never been affected by illness? Does warmth mean anything if we’ve never been cold? You get the drift. There’s a vellum-thin layer separating joy and sorrow. One can’t exist or rather be appreciated without the other. The contents of that stupid Rubbermaid tote reminded me of this.
In honor of the first wedding anniversary since my husband’s death, I have sponsored a day of listening on our local Christian radio station. On Monday, they will share a message about us twelve times that day. It seemed like a perfect way to honor the incredible gifts that were my husband and our marriage. After all, Christian music was a big part of our love story. So on Monday, I’m going to begin sharing that story with you. I want you to know how we met, who he was as a man, as a husband and as a father. And I want you to know what a giant role God played in all of it. I hope you’ll come back on Monday to read part one of the love story God wrote for us.