Busy, busy, busy, that’s me. Keeping myself busy has never been a problem. Too much time to think…well, I can always fit in the time to over process anything. My mind is probably four times busier than the busiest me. The gift of busy though is that I don’t have a whole bunch of extra time to act on the things that go through my mind incessantly. I am a reflective person, so I continue to take time to contemplate where I’ve been, what I’m doing and where I want to be…maybe too much.
Another gift of busy is that I don’t have too much time to contemplate the sorrow I still feel in my life. I still have a hole in my heart and nothing fills it. I still have an empty heart in many respects. I am still lonely. If I stay busy, I only have to think about this, to feel these things when the momentum slows. During the week, the momentum never slows and I can fill myself with work, family and my obligations. When the weekend comes, especially after the kids have gone to bed, the aloneness hits me in the face. No one to talk with, no one to sit with, no one who wants to know how I am. It still leaves me feeling hollow. As much as I do for others, when Saturday night rolls around, I’m still sitting alone in my living room thinking too much.
I have filled my life with many relationships. I always have. I have friends, coworkers, acquaintances who fill my life with laughter and camaraderie. During the work day, I am blessed to be surrounded by students who make my life a joy. Now that the boys are older, I have time to do some of the things I enjoy too. I get to spend time coaching and taking care of myself too. At home, my boys keep me alive and ticking. Not a shabby life by any means.
I don’t even mind planning ahead a bit now. I can look at the future and not be overwhelmed. Even looking forward is a huge feat for me. I can remember when looking to the future meant that I would have a plan for dinner and even that brought pain. Then slowly it meant I had plans for work. Now, I may even have plans and goals that will lead me to more fulfilled place. I have plans that even make my heart happy…sometimes.
Nearly at the eighth anniversary of his death now, I can see light in the tunnel. I know there is not really an end to this tunnel and as long as I am moving forward, healing will continue to come to me. My hope is that if I keep the forward movement steady, the healing may lead me to a place where I feel loved again. I know I can keep living this life as I do…alone…but I don’t want to do that. I want to have someone to share my life with. For many years, I felt this was a cop-out to want to have someone in my life. I thought I had to do this on my own. I imagined my journey as a widow was to break me of this enabling need and prove to myself that I didn’t need someone in my life.
I look at those words and think “how absurd!” As a person who spends her life building relationships with others…first in ministry and now as a teacher…how can I ever imagine that! Relationships are paramount to me professionally and personally. It is important to me to be a loving, compassionate, committed parent, friend, colleague…well, all of it. Why wouldn’t it be important to me to be a loving, compassionate, committed partner, lover, and confidant with and for someone?
So as busy as I may be and as steady as I hold the line, I still will keep my heart open. Not in the way a young girl looks for love, but in a way that I now know. I now know that I can survive one of the greatest heartbreaks a person can imagine. I know that life and love are fleeting. I know that people come with baggage and that is what gives them depth. I know that my heart can expand to embrace another in ways that I never would have imagined possible. I know the gifts I have to offer and the challenges that I struggle with every day. I know how not to lose myself to another. If I stay steady on my path, if I keep my mind and heart open, I know I won’t face lonely forever. I know that his death wasn’t the death of me…even though it felt like it so often for so long. I know that as important as it is to just keep moving, keep busy…it is also important to stop, look around and assess…even when I’m lonely and feeling like solo may never end.
Steady as she goes.