I am finding that this journey of grief is something like a jigsaw puzzle. If I have a question unanswered, I just need to slow down and seek God about it. That reflection often affords me a piece of the puzzle that I can snap into place. Once the piece is there, I am resolved and can move on to the next question. Progress is little by little, but it is completed progress.
An area I'm puzzling over right now (besides WHAT WAS THAT, GOD?) is on the matter of marriage. Marriage was instituted in the second chapter of Genesis; the second chapter of the entire Bible. When God was creating the world, He always finished a stage by seeing "it was good". The first time He did not think it was good? It was when He made man and found it was not good for man to be alone. He made woman to be a helper, a helpmate, a help meet.
I went to a women's conference a few years ago where the speaker made the point that wives are not the problem, they are the solution. The God-given solution. Kind of changes the job description, don't you think?
I know that we all fall short of the intended glory of marriage. My gosh, look at Adam and Eve: the first couple is responsible for us all being kicked out of the garden. (And their kids Cain and Able? Well, guess we all know Cain slew Able. First kids on earth and one kills the other one. Is it no wonder that sibling rivalry is alive and kicking today?)
I know that we all have regrets in our marriages and wish we could have a second chance in some areas. And that is when the finality of death comes knocking: there will be no do-overs. There is only one spouse left behind to try and puzzle through mistakes, regrets and missed chances.
But that word "help meet"? The thing wives were primarily created to do? I think we do that part well. If you've been married a little while you realize that marriage is not all moonlight and roses. And that promise "till death do us part"? It can involve some difficult stages even if your spouse is not suffering from a terminal illness.
We kick ourselves if the romance wains. Surely we should be giving ourselves points for staying in the race, finishing the course even if there are bumps and potholes along the road. All I know is that for 7 years of our marriage, we fought a battle with cancer that ultimately could not be won. But during that time? We lived a lot of life. The boundaries continued to shift and change because of the ravages of the disease. We couldn't walk together and hold hands anymore. We couldn't go places that involved stairs or long distances. We couldn't plan too far into the future. But we could be faithful and determined to stay together to the end. Helping. Faithfully helping.
That help meet part? I think in the scales of life, it outweighs the frailties of our flesh. Peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and all those other fruits that are not always ripe in our lives are important, and we should continue to cultivate them in our spirits. But the enduring and helping in sickness and health? I think God treasures it when we stay through the hardest stretches. When we don't just endure, but we thrive in the squeezing tight places.
That click you heard? Another piece falling into place.