God in a Widow’s Walk

Am I Then Not Blessed?

When your world crumbles, what then?
Journal – Summer 2003

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“We live in a gorgeous house. My husband makes great money. My kids are succeeding out on their own. I don’t have to work. Life is excellent to us.We are so blessed,”  said the woman I had not seen in years and who I met by chance in a store. Her comments followed the condolence she offered about my husband’s recent death.

On that day many years, her statement and in particular, “We are so blessed,” stuck to me, like the splattering of a bug on a windshield. I walked out of the store these words ticker tapped through my mind.

I just lost the love of my life along with life as I knew it. God, I know you heard the prayers offered for my husband’s healing, but he died. So, am I then not blessed?

In my heart, I knew the answer. Still, I had to wrestle with the question. Was I jealous of the woman’s good fortune?  No, fresh grief had no room for jealousy. Besides, all of us at one time or another had used blessed for just about everything. So how did blessed fit into raw grief? Should I have been angry with God? Did  He even listen to all those prayers lifted up to him for my husband’s healing?

So how did blessed fit into raw grief? Should I have been angry with God? Did  He even listen to all those prayers lifted up to him for my husband’s healing?

Webster’s Dictionary definition of blessed might suggest I was not blessed if I adhered to this definition, “to make fortunate, to favor.” The word curse is the antonym of blessed. Did God bless the woman and curse me?

Fair or not, I knew favor and fortune often eluded people. Are they cursed?  Did only outward circumstances of health, good life and prosperity measure blessedness?

However, the dictionary definition also said, “to make holy; sanctify.” When I focused on, to make holy and sanctify, this meaning gave me hope.I already knew the blessings of the world were finite and fleeting when driven by the power of cancer to ravage a body.

Did I think when God entered my life, He came with an automatic adversity protector?  No, well sometimes maybe, but on that journey with my husband, our fortunate or unfortunate circumstances did not remove God’s hand from our lives. In the direst of circumstances blessed had everything to do with the visibility Christ in that circumstance, sustaining strength, guiding and protecting us, living those moments with us.

Nothing was wrong with the woman’s blessings. Perhaps it was God’s intent for me to understand there were finite and infinite blessings, and so orchestrated my short conversation with the woman. Years later, I realized God certainly had his hand in the struggle I had with this person’s comments on that day so long ago.

He knew the severe road of grief lay ahead of me. Perhaps he used this encounter to reassure me that I would not walk it alone.

No question on that road I walked many years ago, I faced two clashing forces. Grief with its gut-wrenching visits to open the wound left by the life ripped out my heart.The other force came from God’s hand always there beneath the bottom of that pain, in the Person of the Holy Spirit, the infinite advocate, protector, comforter, and guide. He caught me when I stumbled, lifted me and helped me to breathe again.

With His love infinite and always, I  was then blessed indeed.