The plane cruised, but the fasten seatbelt sign remained lit. There was nowhere for me to go.
Laughing, the girl behind me couldn’t possibly know how the words pierced, the pain so acute it was physical. I laid my head on the seat, still in its upright and locked position, closed my eyes, and let a book fall to my lap. The memory was vivid, as real as the tears beneath my lidded eyes.
“Are you going to marry me today?”
He turned, face brimming with delight. Handsome. So handsome in the pinstriped tuxedo. Shyly I met his eyes. Happiness. I spun around, throwing my arms to the sides so he could admire a dress worn only for him.
“You are incredibly beautiful!” He pulled me in and bent down to kiss me. But in his sheer joy, he missed.
“You kissed my nose!” I flirted playfully. Rapture. In that moment delight could not be robbed.
“I, Ami, take you Jonathan to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for richer or poorer, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.”
On your wedding day, the last phrase rolls glibly from your tongue because death will never “do us part.”At least, that is, until both are old and go sweetly into the night, holding hands.
Yet death showed up, and ripped delight from me. Too short. Not enough time to live through better and worse and richer and poorer. In its wake it left a life radically altered.
I’ll be honest. Sometimes my heart cries out, “Prove it! Prove it God that this is good!”And I can’t say I always feel “radiant over the goodness of the Lord.”Alone. People don’t understand a woman so deeply grieving. They think my life will return to normal. But there is no normal.
When flying on an airplane seems monumental, when couples laugh and touch, when a mindless comment stirs vivid memories, still my heart clings to a figment of grace that flickers in the corner of my mind. God you are good. You are doing good. I will bless Your name.
As the flight continued, I opened my journal and penned all the words you just read, writing them as a widow of seven months. I’ve given a glimpse of life at that time.
Now I’m almost to the year and a half mark. I’m thirty-one. I’m childless. I am alone. Yet, truly I am not alone for God has carried me with tangible grace.
I love the phrase “tangible grace”. For it reminds me that grace is real and identifiable. I could recount innumerable ways God has met me with grace in the depths. He’s taught me to live again, to rejoice in the new normal, to be radiant over His goodness.
Recalling these words from months ago, the grace that leaps to the forefront is this: God already proved it.
He proved He’s good by his Son’s death on a cross. He turned his back on the Beloved, so that I could be beloved.
Romans 8:32 gives words of life and peace. “He who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”Think about it. If God has already done the ultimate good through Jesus’sacrificial atonement, will He spare any omnipotent effort to do good to me?
“All things”in this verse doesn’t mean the picket fence, the big house, or the fantastic kids. It doesn’t even mean that I’m guaranteed another husband someday. But it does mean that God will sovereignly use all things for His purposes–redemption and reversal.
If it had been good for God to rescue my husband, He would have. Therefore, somehow grief is good.
He’s already proven it.