It’s not a bad life; it’s just not the life I chose. I am warm, sheltered, loved. I have food on my table, a car, a laptop. It’s not a bad life. It just depends from what view I look. I have two beautiful, bright, energetic children who look like their handsome father whom I love. I had a happy, not perfect, but happy marriage…oops, there we go, my view changed with a verb. “had”, I “had” a loving husband. I had a handsome man with me everyday who on most days made me laugh, hugged me and kissed me. He said good morning and “I love you”. In a few short months my life changed. My husband died. He got sick. He died.
I hear in my head a lot the words “to whom much is given, much is expected”. I have been given much. I’m not rich. Not monetarily rich. I have been rich though and I have been given much. I had a bad marriage when I was very young, but I was given a second chance. I took it seriously. I learned to be accountable and to expect accountability. I learned to love and let myself be loved. I learned to trust and what it was like to be trusted. I have been given much.
It’s not a bad life, it’s just not what I chose. I think that’s my “theme”. Sometimes I feel like I’ve been tumbleweed just blowing in the wind…yet I know so many of my choices have been intentional. How is it that I have wound up in this dimension right next to my old one. I have the things we wanted, but I don’t have him. How does that happen? I did choose him and he fulfilled his path. He lived his life and I think he did pretty damn good. He wasn’t perfect. He wasn’t rich. He was gentle. He was caring. He was kind.
For over four years, I have been living in this altered reality. One moment the disbelief that this is my life is so great that I can hardly bear the weight on my shoulders, then, it’s just how things are…we just plug along. I am living my life, but I feel like an impostor. I feel like I will walk through a door or a portal or something and I’ll be back in the territory I know. The territory where I was not a single parent. The place when it was a pleasure to come home and say hello…now, if I have my boys with me, I don’t need to go home…we, three, are it. We, three, are complete, yet so incomplete and empty. I remember a place where laughter was present daily. Silliness was allowed because not every grown up was tired and sad. Where weekends were treasures and weekdays weren’t even that bad. A place where I was loved and able to give love too. A place that took me as I was even at my worst. Now I live in a place where tired is my MOD. Lonely is the coat I wear, even when I don’t want to…I try to be happy, normal, but this is not my reality. I miss him every moment…when kids are barfing or when kids are just being silly kids. I miss the glances across the room, the knowing smiles. I miss that thing…that unsaid, understood thing that you get when you’ve just been with each other and like it.
Now my life is ok. If you’re looking from outside the window of my house, you may think it looks pretty good. You may not hear me yelling at my kids because the responsibility of raising them alone frightens me and wears me out everyday and I’m just plain mad that their dad had to die. You may not see me crying at night while I put words on page. You may not see my son playing alone because I have to tend to his baby brother. You may not hear my baby crying because he wants mommy and mommy has to deal with bank or whatever.
When I write things like that…when I put my truth on a page, I feel guilty. I have a home. I can pray to any god I want. My children can go to school…I have water. So many people don’t have this…how can I complain? I had a great love, a great marriage, how can I complain? My life isn’t so bad, it’s just different than I thought it would be. Different, but it will be ok. It will always seem like a different reality, but it will be my reality and my life to take back and live. I will do this because I was given much and of me much is expected.
Originally published by The Journal of Student Ministries at http://www.thejournalofstudentministries.com in January 2008