Does February 5 hold special meaning for you? For me, it marks the day decades ago when I stepped into marriage. My husband, Don, and I were filled with youthful energy and bright dreams. Additionally, we had deep faith, college degrees and a solid work ethic. A wonderful future was ours, and we marched toward our concept of the Perfect Family—complete with two beautiful children, the colonial house, two cars and a summer place. We hadn’t planned on brain cancer.
Our son was 10 and our daughter was 8 when Don died. The disease process had given me time to ponder a future without my funny husband and friend, but I resisted those scenes until the doctor put his hand on my shoulder and said, “I’m so sorry.”
In the days after the funeral, I wanted to withdraw from life. But I had two young children who needed me. They had lost their dad physically, I didn’t want them to lose me emotionally. Besides, I didn’t want to be one of those hand-wringing widows who insists her grief is greater than what anyone else has experienced. So, one dark evening, I picked up a pad of paper and forced myself to list blessings, beginning with my two young children. Then I listed my conviction that the Lord was with us, my education would keep us off the street, and friends and extended family were nearby. I finished the list with the image of our backyard filled with daffodils again in the spring.
Since that long-ago evening, events have occurred I didn’t anticipate—a career change and two cross-country moves because of job opportunities. But I’m grateful I didn’t know about those events the night I forced myself to focus on what I had left instead of what I had lost. Instead, without my realizing it, making the list prepared me for the good things to come.
How about you? I trust you aren’t dealing with grief or desperate loss. But even typical “blue days” can be brightened when we remind ourselves of our blessings. So grab that pad of paper and make your own list. I’m cheering for you!