So many times over the past almost eleven months, I have had lady-friends walk up to me and hug me tight and say, "I can't even imagine." Most of the time, my response has been to say, "me either."
I still can't believe it. We are are all still in shock; always asking how is this real?
It's the hardest feeling to describe, really. Ask me to describe how I feel when I'm happy; or sad. Ask me to describe how I feel when I'm angry or hurt by what someone has done to me. I can describe those emotions in very vivid detail. But ask me to describe how it feels to mourn for the person that I thought I'd have "The Notebook" kind of ending with. We should be old and dying in the nursing home bed together after we raise our three glorious kids and enjoy many grandkids for at least a little bit. Nope, that is not our story. God's plan was to have JB with Him when we were both only 47 years old with three youngens. That was His plan all along. His Plan!!
So, the other day, I was sitting with a good friend at our daughters' volleyball game. She and her family have been standing, walking, running along side of us since the very beginning. But here we are again, still talking about how neither of us can "imagine." Then I say this....
It's like when we first met and then knew that we were "the one" for each other. Then you start planning the wedding. Months of planning. Then then big day is here and you're standing at the alter looking into each other's eyes. You're repeating the words to each other but what you are really feeling is that sense of "is this real?"
"Is this really happening?"
"This is our wedding day. This the day I've been dreaming of since I was a little girl. This is the boy that I've been dreaming about and praying for since I can remember and he chose me."
The feeling is more than just butterflies in the tummy. Maybe it's like when you jump out of an airplane; it's that stomach in your throat feeling along with holy moly, I just jumped out of airplane feeling. I've never jumped from a plane but I can only imagine.....
It's like a once in a lifetime feeling. A sense of witnessing the most ultimate blessing and feeling the deepest sadness at the same time. He's leaving us but he's going to the most amazing place at the same time. How do you say, "no, don't go!"
Two days after his passing, my older daughter and her friends were standing in a circle in the middle our living room hugging; the biggest most loving group hug I have ever witnessed. They started saying things like, "I remember when....." Then it turned into seven girls crying saying, "I wish he didn't have to leave us."
I jumped in and said to them all, in my most strong voice I could muster at the time, "I love you. Mr. John loved you. But isn't our goal here on earth to live life in order to get to Heaven with our Jesus?" They shook their heads. "Do you think that Mr. John is in the most beautiful, most amazing place that we can ever imagine?" They shook their heads. "Do you think that Mr. John would want to come back here to be sick and hurting even though he misses us terribly?" Again, they shook their heads but this time in the other direction. We all hugged harder in that moment!
The sense of reality is so tricky. We look around the house now and, although we know he was there in this space with us, we can't fully imagine him there at all. It's so weird and so beautiful at the same time; which makes it even more weird.
God doesn't give us more than we can handle. Every experience we live through should be lived through with a purpose. It can get hard. It can get heavy. There will be daggers thrown at us from the devil in the most surprising ways. But, putting on the armor that our Glorious Savior gave us will save us!
If I could put a song to this message, it would be "I can only imagine" which means so much more to me now than it did when it first came out....and it meant the world to me then.