Monday, February 27, 2012

Crossing out the Farmer?

Two men are coming for one of my last two goats this morning. Soon all my chickens will be transported to their home and I'll be very close to freedom from the responsibilities of caring for farm animals. I will still own a small farm, but I'll only have a cat and a dog. It will be weird, but everything about my life recently has been weird. No animals and no husband. Both seem VERY weird to me. A good friend of mine told me that "abnormal" would become my new normal. This was in reference to widowhood. She was so right on. Her mom has buried three husbands and will more than likely bury her fourth. I don't think I could do widowhood that many times.

Today it's overcast with a slight promise of rain. I feel like that more often than I care to admit. I'm an optimistic, but wary person. I have hope for all, but am also in touch with the realities of life. I consider myself balanced, but I have my off days when I have to cling to God and cry out for grace and mercy. I don't cry nearly as often as I did when Jeff first died. It still sneaks up on me from time to time, but I'm better and better all the time as well.

I am in love with my friends right now. So many have filled in the voids that were left at my husband's death. I know I can call them and they have been so gracious to call me intermittently and check on me. Some bring groceries, some even brought food for my goats and chickens. I've made so many new friends as well. The guys coming to get my goats are friends now. My neighbors have become very close and I'm even looking forward to barbecues and get togethers where we play our instruments and sing. I'm looking forward to living again and I'm actually enjoying the journey again.  I think I might live after all.

I'm learning that all the ups and downs I've experienced are VERY normal in mourning. I mourned when my baby son died of SIDS, but it was nothing compared to losing Jeff. He was my buddy, my confidant, my lover and the one who could get under my skin faster than a cheetah after a gazelle.

Now I'm moving on in so many ways. I do some things the same way I did when he was here, but I also do so many other things so differently I surprise myself. I'm rediscovering myself. I'm much stronger than he ever gave me credit for. I'm working at compassion in much bigger ways. I know how much I need it right now, so I'm sowing it with the grouchy and nasty people of the world.

Life goes on. Folks bury folks all the time. Folks are abandoned all the time. Folks are betrayed all the time. It's all about what you do with the situation at hand. It's all about how your respond to the circumstances. I'm choosing to press into God, His word and His will for my life. For now I am a "retired farmer". I can live with that. I know that my beloved animals have a better chance of getting fed where they are. I know I won't have to lug home bales of alfalfa because the field in my acreage is empty. There are many advantages to being a "retired farmer". I was mostly a petting "zoo" operator. I don't like eggs so I mostly gave them away. My goats were pets and we only butchered one of them. I ate some tasty goat, but gave 90% of it to a friend who helped me with some plumbing.

I guess I can't really cross out the "farmer" in my title above. I'll leave it for now knowing that I WAS once a farmer and it  forever changed the woman I was into who I am today.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I'm Back, Well Sort Of

Have you ever been lead on a solitary journey into a wilderness you would rather have skipped? I'm feeling rather ambiguous about the one I just finished. Of course feelings are very often ambiguous, I've learned many times the hard way. In all actuality I may still be in the wilderness and may still be on the journey? Again ambiguity seems to be the word of my day.

My husband has been gone for close to five months now. The moments of insanity are further apart all the time. The stabbing pain in my gut when I see his picture has become a dull ache and I find myself a little less devastated at his absence.

Along with the shock, numbness and anger that comes with widowhood come a few other unwanted visitors such as fear and helplessness. I've come to the conclusion that the devil himself orchestrates much of what surrounds the mourning process. I'm also quite confident that Abba Father trumps his direction with angels and the Comforter on a regular basis!

Women have become widows all throughout history, but it is a new journey for each and every one of them. No two paths are identical, but they share enough in common to cause a strange sort of "sisterhood" amongst its ranks. I discovered along my path many of the commonalities we share. I'm a proactive kind of person so I went searching out anyone I knew personally who was widowed. Our numbers are bigger than I could have ever guessed! We enjoy each others company and camaraderie. Those who have been in the sisterhood the longest are quick to share their testimonials and helpful advice. We are a group of ants about to take on a Goliath of a grasshopper and chase him to kingdom come!

I've been blessed by so many people on this early part of my journey. It seems that whether widowed or not, folks know that losing a spouse is devastating and go far to help those in this fragile state of being. Of course there are also others who are equally willing to take advantage of the woman whose earthly covering has left her unattended. Sadly I've had my share of this sort of people as well. I've learned to forgive quickly and just move on.

The weirdest surprise I've had is folks who disown you once their "friend" in your husband is gone. I understand the concept of the "third wheel", but not when you've been part of every holiday and birthday of their children and other integral facets of their lives. It showed me how little I knew some of the people I called friends. It has caused me to be less blind to things I had previously purposely ignored. Again a quick forgive and move on has been requisite.

Thankfully for each bump I've encountered on my short but obstacle packed trip have been wonderful friends. The calls and cards come just when I need them. God has graced me with some precious sisters in the faith. The "blood" between us causes us to be bound eternally and seemingly makes us extra connected in multitudinous ways. Hallelujah!

I have more road ahead of me so I'd better close for now. I'm not sure of my destination or when this phase of the journey will be complete. For some reason (oh yeah God) I'm a strong woman and I always come up on top like the proverbial cream on the milk jug. I give my heavenly Father all the credit for any successes I've had. I sure didn't have the strength in myself to survive these past five months. I give Him the credit for all the successes I shall have in the days, weeks and months ahead of me. I know that once again I shall me leaning on Him for my very breath, so I might as well start my thank yous early.

For all my girlfriends and sisters in Christ, and I do mean ALL if you I owe my love and gratitude as well. I know you've been praying if you haven't been in attendance physically. I understand your individual circumstances and situations. I can also tell that prayers have gone up for me. I love and need you more than you will ever know.

Que Kleenex commercial because that paragraph started the incessant waterworks. I really do need each person that God has sent my way. Thanks, hugs and all my love.


- love never fails.