Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Bitter or Better

It had been about two months since Jerry’s death when I returned to the church office to work on the monthly newsletter. The pastor asked me to come into his office to meet a woman who had come to talk with him. As he introduced us, he told her that I had recently lost my husband. As his gaze shifted from this better-than-middle-aged woman to me, I knew he wanted me to catch some deeper insight into the words he spoke.

He said to me, “This lady is also a widow.” As our hands met, I saw that her face was thin and worn, and she appeared to be as fragile as I still felt. I thought that her husband must have died as recently as mine. She sighed deeply, “Yes, and not a day goes by that I don’t think about how wonderful my husband was and how lonely my life is now without him.” With that comment, I felt the chill of unresolved sorrow.

“How recently did he pass?” I asked. “Fifteen miserable years ago!” she scowled through angry clenched teeth. Whether I spoke aloud again, I really can’t say. The pastor was talking with her, but I could only hear the rush of blood through my temples as I frantically prayed, “Oh, God, please don’t let me live long enough to be like this woman!”

When she left his office, the pastor knew that his point had been well received. He had made that introduction because he wanted me to see “Future Horrid.” He hoped that I would vow to never become like her. I said to him, “Don’t ever let me become that bitter person.” He smiled and replied, “You won’t.” 

Some years before Jerry’s death someone had said to me, “You can either become bitter or get better.” I knew that it was imperative that I keep the promise I had made to myself to find a way to get better every day. Bitter is not a color that I wear well.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: 
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,     
a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,      
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,     
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and     
a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and  
a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and    
a time for peace. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NIV)

LORD, I know I need to be more patient and trust You to complete what You have begun in my life. That is especially difficult in times when it feels like nothing is happening at all! The right thing at the wrong time can be as damaging as the wrong thing at any time. Do whatever You need to do to get me where I need to be when I need to be there, and help me trust Your timing and not be anxious in the meantime. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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