The 1st Anniversary/Love One Another

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:34-35

Love one another. That is a can of worms, isn’t it?

This weekend marks the one year of Archie going home, two days before Valentines Day, and almost exactly (within a day) of 47 years that his biological dad died. Archie Sr. died suddenly the February before Archie’s birth in 1969, at the age of 36. Arch never met his dad. Did you know that? Not that it changes anything. It is just very interesting timing that Archie Sr (though called Bob) and Archie Jr died so very close to the same day, years apart, and right before the “Holiday of Love.”

I cannot imagine what the first Mrs. Archie Cook (Sr) went through, though I have spoken to her about it. She was a single mom with a 12 yr old, 11 year old, 6 year old, and she was pregnant for Archie Jr. I cannot begin to wrap my mind around the grief we share(d) but the added responsibilities of 3.5 little ones. Ultimately, she remarried when Archie Jr was 1 or 2, fully admitting it was not for “love,” but obedience to heavenly Dad. Though their life was faaaaar from perfect and Archie Sr’s love for his children was never matched, Archie’s mom was loved dearly until she lost her second husband when Taylor was 3. Since then, she has also buried three children, two within the last 15 months. Though Archie and his mom may not have been close, my grieving is not alone.

With all of this swirling in my head and this being the 12th, heavenly Dad put interesting challenges in my path:

  1. Do you remember the lunch tickets that were given to me from a fellow chemo recipient because she thought we were a “sweet couple that needed to eat together”? Those expired this week. I had given a couple away to my office buddy when her hubby had a massive heart attack, but she only used one and returned the other. So, what do I do with the remaining tickets? Many tears were shed over that precious gift given to us the day before Archie went home.

Painfully, Friday morning, I cried my way to the hospital and walked into the Cancer Center, directly to the infusion room. Behind the counter sat the very last nurse that cared for Archie. Seeing him brought even more tears. He was so surprised but remembered me, saying he hadn’t seen me in a really long time. How was I doing? I couldn’t talk, but shook my head. His face softened as my shaky voice explained that the tickets were given to me one year ago tomorrow. Could he please bless some others with them? He nodded and I walked out, face leaking.

I drove the rest of the way to work in tears. After parking, I collected myself, tucked all of my mess deep inside and went in to face the rest of my day. The day was full of surprises. I had a tour scheduled in the afternoon, but though I usually LOVE tours, this one I was secretly dreading. I was afraid my dam of emotions would not hold for the entire day. Heavenly Dad has such a sense of humor and is always in control even when we think the world is spinning in chaos around us.

Watching the clock, at 2 o’clock sharp, in walks these two lovely ladies from Chicago. I finish my project, entered the hallway and introduced myself. These two ladies smile widely and explain we’ve already met (???). They both had participated in classes I had taught in Shaumburg, IL, their first introduction to Heartfelt. They had both completely fallen in love and now one teaches classes using our product! I was so humbled and encouraged. On a day I was questioning why heavenly Dad had not seen fit to allow me to join Archie, in walk two people who said I had made a difference. How does that happen?

And then God… .

2. Friday night was a horrible night, up every two hours, and Archie was in every dream. My dreams were mocking me with my best friend that I would never see again. Though awake for hours, I finally pulled myself out of bed just after Taylor went to work. My pity party continued through cleaning the bathroom and bathing fury kids. After making a pot of coffee, I finally sat down with my damp children who were ready to cuddle. At that moment my phone goes off. I usually don’t get texts or messages on the weekend so I looked with caution.

A gal from church wanted to know if I wanted to meet for coffee. Oh, my. I was a mess. With baggage from being away, the mass of memory mess, and the dreading of the upcoming anniversary of not only Archie’s death but next week’s funeral and what would have  been our 28 anniversary, I was a puddle. I told her I didn’t think she would want to be around such a broken person, as I didn’t even want to be around myself. Shockingly, she still wanted to meet. That was one courageous woman.

Just after we made plans to meet (I still needed a shower to de-dogify), my phone goes off again. Hm? It’s Taylor. Several volunteers had not shown up and they were completely short handed. Would I like to help?

Would I like to help?

I began volunteering at The Depot 3 years ago when I was tired of being at home by myself. Archie worked long hours and Taylor was either at college or work, so I never saw either until early evening. I would go to The Depot, sit in their book section flipping through whatever books they had just gotten in, and listen to their music. One day it hit me: “Duh, The Depot is run by the use of volunteers. Why not get off my duff and pitch in?” So I did. About a year later I coerced (not really) my lovely daughter into giving up her rare Saturdays off to come in and help. I never guessed she would one day be managing!

But then Archie went home… .

I have not had it in me to go back. The reason I started volunteering was because I missed him and Taylor. I am not waiting anymore as there isn’t anybody to wait for. EEEERK! “Would I like to help?” Let’s put that aside. The question that really matters is: Do I want to help the one person that means the most in my life? That’s an easy answer,”I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

This brings me to my verse:

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:34-35

Love one another. That can be looked at in two ways: love one another in the way they need to be loved or love one another the way you want to love. Do you see the difference? They are both love (ish) but…are they? Is it love if you only give what you want instead of what the person tells you they need? What does the Bible say about this?

Matthew 7:7-11 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

If your loved one tells you what they need to feel loved and you don’t do it, are we loving like our heavenly Dad? Isn’t that what He asked us to do?

Did I want to stop my pity party? Absolutely not. I could have had an even better excuse to say no because I had made coffee plans, but I didn’t. She needed to be loved by me showing up when she needed me, not when I could make time for her. (I did do coffee later :o) )

Our Pastor said,”Pull out your check book and take a long look. That is going to tell you what is REALLY important to you.” I agree, but now that I’m a widow I’d like to add,”Pull out your calendar. Who gets your best? Who gets what’s left? That is going to tell you what is REALLY important to you.”

Do you remember dating? You may have worked loooong hours but you waited with anticipation as every moment ticked by! You couldn’t wait to see your sweetie! You’d rush home and showered, spritzed on your best aroma and either drive or wait with your heart beating in your ears to be with the one you loved. The fatigue was forgotten in the presence of that person you loved so very much.

It breaks my heart when I see families fall apart because what is left…isn’t enough. What I find mind boggling is that when the marriage was together there was often no time for showering, spritzy stuff, or dating, but after divorce, often time is made to do just that…but with someone else. Tears. My love story is over but yours doesn’t have to be.

With Valentines Day coming up, I need to ask: What does YOUR love life look like?

Until February 20th: Blessings!

Author: Tracy Cook

Widowed one week before our 27th wedding anniversary, Heavenly Dad continues to carry me, now blessing me with a second chance for love.

2 thoughts on “The 1st Anniversary/Love One Another”

  1. Pretty darn good, thanks! Been thinking of and praying for you both as this anniversary approached. Our good Lord will keep providing for you in amazing miraculous ways. So glad you see that every day – even through tears. Love you!

  2. Praying your Valentine’s Day is special. You are loved by so many. Thanks for the reminder about only giving the love we want and not the love they need. I needed to read that.

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