My prayer today, “Dear Lord, help me get through this month.”
April 9th is my daddy’s birthday.
April 30th is the one year anniversary of my daddy’s death.
My stomach has been in knots for days. I have been trying to figure out what I could have eaten to make my insides cramp and hurt so much. Recently, I have switched to a gluten-free diet and until a few days ago I was feeling better than I have in long time. So naturally I think I have missed something and there MUST be gluten in something I’ve been eating. After wracking my brain and checking the ingredients of recently eaten food. Alas, I find no gluten. Then I attribute my ill-feeling stomach to my mom’s health battles. But after what I experienced this evening, that attribution is far away.
This evening I leave to pick up dinner for me and my family. I look up and I am now behind a truck that is being driven by a gray-haired man. It is the same make, model, year, and color of that last vehicle my daddy owned. I could not get away from that truck fast enough! As soon as I saw it, the flood gates opened up but fortunately I was able to catch myself before sobbing into an uncontrollable mess while driving. After leaving the restaurant while heading back home with food in tow, I pass an El Camino. My daddy owned an El Camino when I was in high school and that was HIS car! He bought it used and boy was it used! He spent money and time, and elbow grease and love on that car to get it just so. He treasured that car. Another symbol of my dad.
Dear Lord, is there anything else that can come into my path during this brief errand that could send me on a spiral decline for the rest of the evening?
What is the likelihood of me seeing that truck again? You remember the one; same make, model, and color as my dad’s last owned vehicle. Well I did! This time it pulled out behind me and followed me!!! I was crying and I said, “God this is too much!!!” I pulled into my neighborhood and these words spewed out of my mouth, “OH MY GOD! MY DADDY IS DEAD!!!”. Then a voice inside of me said, “Yes, he is”. I was finally able to verbalize it out loud.
I was distraught. I felt like the devil himself was after me to get me so far down that I would never get back up.
As soon as I returned home, I gave the food to my husband and excused myself to the bathroom. I cried out, “God, why are YOU torturing me? I can’t take it anymore. It’s just too much.” Then He said, “Why don’t you choose to see ME in this? Why don’t you choose to see the joy in this – he is always with you.”
Grief is not for the faint of heart. It hits you when you least expect it and seems to come out of nowhere. One minute your driving down the road when out of nowhere a truck comes into sight and it sends you into a tailspin or you smell the same cologne he wore, or the same cigarette that he smoked or any cigarette smoke for that matter! Your heart is longing to see your loved one again.
This month is not going to be easy for me and I won’t pretend that it will be. BUT I am choosing to see HIM in this. I am choosing JOY. I am choosing to see the gift of my daddy always being with me and when I see that truck or that El Camino again, they will serve as joy-filled reminders that GOD is for me and HE is encouraging me by reminding me that my daddy is with me.
So through my tears, I choose joy.