Hope Under the Ash

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13

8 days short of 22 months…it was yesterday but forever ago, but I have never been alone.

Taylor and I were at a gathering, meeting like minded financial individuals, most for the first time. In the discussion came up the limitations of a single income. The question that seems to be on many a lip, at least around me, came up, but this time Taylor was with me. She was taken aback when someone asked,”Are you dating?”

“No.”

“Why not?” Taylor was very uncomfortable because she didn’t realize how many times this question has been asked. This unearthed deep issues that have been buried for some time and a two day discussion along with self reflection.

Time warp–hold on! When Arch was going through cancer my focus was 100% on him. He needed his pain patch, which had to be changed and varied in application every three days, he took two oral pain meds every two and four hours, his anti-nausea was once a day, every three and six hours, the max dose laxatives, which are a necessity when taking as much pain medication, was every 4 hours. I had labeled alarms on my phone for each and once a day would fill the 9-12 cups of pills. The alarms went off around the clock because it was a necessity to stay ahead of the pain.

When he went home it all…stopped. No alarms. No trying to get someone to eat. No bathing someone who couldn’t bath themselves. No appointments or doctor’s calls. There was silence.

Right after Archie went home I felt an extreme emptiness. I had faith that heavenly Dad knew what he was doing, when it felt like my world was out of control, but I didn’t have a purpose and I WANTED A PURPOSE. I feared this emptiness would last forever. I told Taylor I really thought someday I would marry again because I needed to be needed, but assured her it would not be for some time. She pushed it out of her mind but every once and a while would comment that she didn’t think it was a good idea. We really never discussed it. Until now.

Back then I got online to look for widow/widower chats to talk to people who had been through this. I never found one that was active. Maybe heavenly Dad was protecting me. At one very lonely time I did entertain the idea of online dating/meeting someone, because I really needed a friend. The reasons I did not, right or wrong, were these:

-I had been married since I was 18 years old. I didn’t know who I was as a single. To meet someone, I couldn’t honestly say what I did or did not like because I didn’t know who “me” (like it or not) was.

-I knew that if I ever did meet anyone, they would have to had to lost a spouse. After 27 years if marriage, that mate is going to come up in conversation. I needed it to be understood that Archie is apart of who I am, not a competition/comparison to any relationship.

-I didn’t want to get into any relationship to fill a void I had. That wouldn’t be healthy for them or me.

Long story short: I didn’t pursue it. I really felt like heavenly Dad would give me what I need when I needed it. Since He didn’t bring anyone, I took that as His way of telling me it was time to stop focusing on my surroundings and focus on Him. My life is different, more than because what I have lost, but the relationship I have gained.

Psalms 16:5-11

5 You, Lord, are all I have, and you give me all I need; my future is in your hands.
6 How wonderful are your gifts to me; how good they are! 
7 I praise the Lord, because he guides me, and in the night my conscience warns me. 
8 I am always aware of the Lord’s presence; he is near, and nothing can shake me. 
9 And so I am thankful and glad, and I feel completely secure, 
10 because you protect me from the power of death. I have served you faithfully, and you will not abandon me to the world of the dead. 
11 You will show me the path that leads to life; your presence fills me with joy and brings me pleasure forever.
So, how do I answer the question,”Why not?” I do the abbreviated version of how I had to figure out who I was, that I needed to be secure that a relationship wasn’t based on a hole that only heavenly Dad is supposed to be filling, and that a person liked me…for me. I know me. I don’t even like me, so to think that’s going to happen, heavenly Dad would seriously have to plop someone in my lap.
Taylor was good with that answer.
What I have learned is that there is hope in spite of/in the ash. If I can stop focusing on how the ash is affecting my emotions (because those can change so incredibly fast) and dance when heavenly Dad sends me a song in my heart (even a nifty song playing over the intercom at Sam’s Club–sorry Taylor I HAD TO…it’s who I am), He will be revealed beneath the ash for others to see. I don’t have to have alarms going off or mouths to feed to feel needed. I just show up when He opens the door, like in the eyes of the 90 kids in the Launching Pad every Sunday morning. He’s there and I get to share my love and passion of my NEW, very personal relationship, with all of them. My work is people focused with those that need to feel heard and are confident I can help. I am loved.
One dream I have, but have no idea where to even start, would be to learn ballet. When I found this video, it pulled out what I’ve always wanted to do and the situation I found myself in. I hope you enjoy it. If you feel like it, stand up and take a spin around the room. Make people ask why you have joy in your heart.
Until later: 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 “Hope Under the Ash”

  1. I know I haven’t told you lately how much you blog has meant to me.. I always get a message.. since my husband had his heart attack and bypass surgery, our lives have changed in so many ways.. we have always been close with our lord and studied his word… but it is different now… prayers to you and Taylor always

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