Friday, April 27, 2012

The Necessity of Your Own Life

I first posted this in 2010 and decided today to post it once each year from now on. That's how vital I believe this to be. So here you go. Again:


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.. When I asked if she, too, was an early riser, she nearly gasped, "Oh my, no. That would make my days feel eternal. 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 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's 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 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 search-out something you are passionate about. If you're still not sure of God's unique calling made especially for you, 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 and refine those gifts/skills to help 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, 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. Find and keep and tend to good, solid friendships.

Oh, and learn to pay bills and where to go for help with your investments, insurance, home repairs and all that annoying stuff.

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, for He's the only one who, if everyone else fades away, will still be with you. 

Discover and learn and do and be you today--the you apart from your spouse. Learn what you like (and what you don't) and what you do best. And step away from any fear of the new or the future. 

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, also.


Not sure what God wants you to do for others?  Go here.

You are significant. Even alone.        ... Jan Kiemel Ream


The first time I posted this, Kristi (a widow, herself) left this very insightful comment which I appreciated much:

"One little postscript: When you still have the gift of life on earth, you can always use it to think about and help other people. I think the poor woman in your first paragraph would not have found her days so long if she had involved herself in helping others. I hope she has discovered this by now."



Sara said...

Oh I remember this original post so well! It remains poignant and wise and worth reposting and rereading and rereading again. And enjoying your daily rituals, the tiny details...ahhh! So much pleasure to be found there! And it's a pleasure from God's hand straight to us. Love this.

K.E. said...

My mother, being a military wife, knew all about this. She was alone with three children in some far flung place (Guam, Alaska), sans family, for months at a time when my father was at sea.
She just got on with it.
And when he didn't have to do that anymore, she had a nice core for her own SELF.
That and being an extrovert married to an introvert, made her pretty independent before her time. She made me proud.

Anonymous said...

Your blog post came at a great time for me Glenda, as my hubby is out of town for a while and I am missing him something awful! It reminded me of a website that I've looked at before, called You put in your city and it comes up with organizations that need volunteers. So a person can choose whatever sounds fun or interesting or caring. Maybe it's time for me to have another look!!

Terra Hangen said...

Yes, this post is a good one to post a second time. My husband and I have been married 44 years and I definitely have activities that do not only depend on him and he rides his bicycle every day, which does not include me. I hope that sad widow found a way to help others which would make her days more enjoyable.