Ages ago, I chatted with a widow (for some years) at church, probably 65-years-old, and sweet. We were speaking of mornings and I told her I usually am up before 6:00 a.m.. I asked if she, too, was an early riser and she nearly gasped, "Oh my, no. That would make my days feel ever so long. I try to stay in bed as long as I can."
Oh wow. I could only suck in my breath then change the subject for I felt surprised and so sad for her. Her words haunted me while I drove home that afternoon and they haunt me still.
Since then I have watched women lose their husbands either by death or divorce and here is what I've seen: The women who had created another life separate from their husbands, those are the women who survive. Thrive, even. After the initial shock, they do well, smile real smiles and discover other worlds and the people who people them.
But then there are the others. You know, those who clung to their husbands for all their support and encouragement and companionship. The ones who had outside acquaintances and activities, yes, but no close friendships or passionate interests. Mostly, their spouse was not just the center of their world, but their whole darn world, period.
No need to draw you pictures of what happened to those women after their losses. You can imagine how they fell down hard, splattered, crumbled and then needed whole truckloads of Christians to help peel them off the floor of despair.
So today? Today I would tell those of you who are married: Get A Life. You know, a life apart from your spouse, separate from him/her. A nice life, certainly--I mean, hey, I'm not hinting at a secret, tip-toeing-down-alleys-behind-his-back kind of life. Uh, of course not.
But I mean please discover something else you are passionate about. If you're still not sure of God's unique calling made especially for you, well, now is a marvelous time to discover what He designed you to do. It amazes me how many women don't know what their special talents are. How can we use those gifts to help other people if we don't know what they are?
Even something simple like learning to love your daily rituals is big. Teach yourself to find the joy and peace in drinking your morning coffee or washing your dishes or folding your laundry. Develop good habits like taking walks, deadheading your flowers, reading inspiring books and learning new hobbies and skills each year.
And above all, discover who you are in God and who He is in you. With all your heart, seek to love Him best. Better than anyone else.
Discover and learn and do and be you today. Learn what you like (and what you don't) and what you do best. Step away from any fears which have held you back from a brand new life. But don't wait for your spouse to join you. No, this has nothing to do with him/her. This is for you, this is for now and this is for later, too.
Sometimes your daily rituals are the only highlights of your day. But that's ok, even wonderful, if you've learned to love and treasure your rituals.