Around here, all the buzz this week has been about the dropping temperatures. Every news channel, conversations, fb posts by local friends are all mentioning that it will be below freezing here this weekend. I live in a warm climate, so it seems we forget that it gets cold here. Mind you, most days are warm and we do have four months of extremely warm. I guess records will be set this weekend, pipes will freeze, and people will bundle up like Eskimos…if they own Eskimo type clothes.
Newscasts are broadcasting tips for preparation for the cold. One of the channels last night even warned us to be careful if you run your sprinklers early in the morning…your driveway might ice over from sprinkler run off and create danger as you go out for your morning paper…oh my!
When Dave died, my heart iced over. I think the easiest thing for me about grief was building the walls of protection. It was easy to isolate myself. It was easy to cut myself off from others. It was easy for me to say never again. Almost immediately, the solid ice formed around my heart, protecting me from my pain. It was like steel. It was comfortable and safe. It was like digging a hole in the ice to stay warm. It was easy to dwell in the love that we had…and that was ok. What I didn’t think about as I let my heart ice over was the fact that one day it might thaw. I couldn’t see the thaw. I couldn’t even imagine the possibility that there might be room in my icy, cold heart to care for someone else.
It took a very long time for the chill to leave my heart. I was very comfortable, very guarded, I don’t think I wanted to warm up and let anyone else near me. I believed it wouldn’t be in the cards for me.
A little over a year ago, a brave man walked into my life and willingly embraced my cold heart. He is patient and loving and was man enough to hold me even when he knew I was pretty icy and guarded. He began to thaw my heart. He reminded me of new beginnings and brought a springtime thaw to my iced over being. What a gift! I really didn’t think I had it in me. He reminded me that a loving heart still longs to love…even through the icy defenses it builds to protect itself.
Here’s a thing though…someone may begin the thaw and not be able to build fire and that’s ok. The important thing for me was that I was able to surrender to his warmth. It caught me off guard and the walls of ice started melting…an event I never thought possible. I have spent years building up my walls of protection, but I was still able to let him in. Did I let him into my heart all the way? Probably not. I did take the chance though. I did allow myself to experience something different from Dave…who’d of thought?
This may not seem huge, but for me it is. Most days, I walk through my life the same way I did when I was married. I take care of my children, my home, myself in many of the ways I did then. The only difference…I’m not married. I am not someone’s wife anymore. It is really a paradigm shift in my mind and my heart to even write these words. I didn’t ever want to give up that title…but guess what? I think I need to so that I can thrive. It doesn’t diminish who I was, but it begins to build who I am and will be. I will always have been Dave’s wife, but, those ice defenses I built to be only his wife are thawing. I don’t know that I’ll ever have it in me to be a wife again, but my heart will love again, has loved again.
Completely thawed? No, not quite. Icy defenses melting? Yep, and that’s a start.