Wednesday, November 7, 2012

this treasure

     I haven't really had to clean my house in almost 10 months. I've had people helping out, kids doing their best, mothers coming to visit.... My house has been cleaned, but not the way I would do it. Since I've been home from WI (and the kids returned to school) I've slowly been working my way through the house - cleaning room to room. With one exception. I leave all things of Rob's alone. Once the final load of laundry that held items of his were put away in his drawers the drawers remained closed. His closet is shut. His cabinet downstairs with the storage bins of his things (military stuff, hunting gear, personal items, etc) remains locked up. I'm not ready for that. I work around those things and they all just stay.
Sometimes things will overlap, though, and in those moments I have to steady myself as thought catches up with action. There are those unexpected moments, because I try so hard to work around things. Going downstairs to our coat closet to dig out hats and gloves because the weather has turned colder - completely forgetting that his hat and gloves would be among the things stored with ours. I am undone.
Other times, I know they're coming and I can't really avoid it; wandering into the storage area to find an adapter plug for an appliance. I ran my fingers over the tools on his shelf and was suddenly overwhelmed.
      Noah came home from his scout meeting last night and said that he had signed up to go on the annual Bastogne hike that the troop goes to in Belgium every December. His eyes pierced mine when he said, "I just put a 1 on the sheet" - and I got it. Rob was such an active part of Noah's scout life an went on this trip every year. While Noah has been on trips with just the troop before, THIS one is significant, that one on the sheet was important.
      Sarah had a moment at the beginning of this week when she found herself having to travel to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, the big Army hospital here, where Rob died. She was with friends having lunch and the mother of one was going to bring her home, but first needed to stop and pick up a younger sibling that had a girl scout project going on at the hospital. Walking those hallways, right by the one where her Dad stayed, she dug her nails so far into her skin that she drew blood. When she came home, shaky and tearful, to tell me about the experience I was unglued because I can not fix this for her. ever.
      All through these moments, when I am missing my husband and hurting for my kids in their moments of grief, I think about those jars of clay. We read those verses over and over when Rob was sick and talked about how even the awfulness of cancer was a light, momentary affliction preparing him for an eternal weight of glory. But now, I think about the four of us and our afflicted, perplexed, struck-down vessels. These beat-up "jars-of-clay", and I know how very true those words that Paul spoke are also true for me and the kids, "that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us." All these moments, though they wear our outer selves away, they do not break us. We are not driven to despair (which is hopelessness). Because we are not forsaken, and we will not lose heart.
(2 Corinthians 4)
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