In March 2015 I was planning to celebrate my 13th wedding anniversary to my wonderful wife Frances. Now I quietly wonder if we will get to celebrate it. Today I gave her an early Valentine’s gift of a large heart shaped box of chocolates, because waiting a month until Valentine’s Day may be too late, or at the very least she may be too sick to be able to appreciate it. I find myself living day to day, not knowing how long my marriage will last. But what fills me with dread is not the prospect of the overwhelming loss of losing the woman I love, but having to go back to living life as a single person, and having to play that lonely horrible complicated game of uncertainty, confusion and despair of being a single man again. It is such an exhausting, tiresome game and I don’t want to play it. I can see it in the generation only slightly younger than me. It is such hard work trying to maintain a relationship with someone without that certainty, without that unity of one flesh. I know rationally, based on what most people say about me, that I have a lot to offer, certainly a lot more to offer than I would ever give myself credit for. But that doesn't give me anywhere near as much confidence as it should.
Of course I would much rather stay in this relationship. I wish it was up to me. But it’s not. In the end it’s up to God. No matter what anyone does here on this earth, the best medical science known to mankind won’t make a difference to what God’s plan is for her.
Perhaps God will use me as a single person for some purpose. Or at the very least I may be able to convince myself of that some good works are for His will. I keep asking Him what is going to happen. Yet there is no reply. It feels like I'm trusting in a magic 8 ball that keeps coming up with “Reply hazy try again” or “Ask again later”.
However, when reading the bible this continuing effort and struggle feel so fickle. The despair of a failing body and the prospect of a life alone really feels so selfish and pointless. The amazing, astonishing and abstract concepts that the bible talks about, about our creator, about our future as eternal human spirits are so profound, and so incomprehensible that all of this. All of it. It feels so irrelevant. I often wonder how Christians can so readily anthropomorphise Heaven, as if it is conceptually anything like what we understand here, in our very limited time and space restricted reality. There is no way we can possibly begin to understand Heaven, or Hell, or God or any of it. With our limited minds one can only ever have an illusion of that understanding.
But I do understand Jesus Christ. God personified Himself into a human being so that we could have an interface with Him. It is only through that human interface that I have the hope of what is to become of us as immortal human spirits. That is where my goal is, not in marriage, not in works here on earth, not in jobs, or houses or cars or any of that. It’s in Him.
And the reality is I can only just see Him, I know that He’s there. I can almost reach out and touch Him, but of course I can’t in this life, not really. I know I have a living holy spirit within me but that only ever manifests itself at best as words on a page, or feelings that aren't coming from me. But our living God is just out of reach. I know that He is there, and that He exists as perfection. To me it is like to be with Him is like existing inside joy and peace, as if these concepts are things that are tangible and can be touched and wrapped up in, like a blanket. And all this from a mustard seed of faith.
The frustration of seeing and not touching is such a childish notion. Especially if you know that you get to touch later on. And not just touch, but you get to own.
And if Fran gets called home first, she will get that first. That’s such an exciting prospect even if we can’t really understand it. Seriously, I know I've gone on about it before, but it is such an amazing thing, that it cannot help but think that it cannot be anything but selfishness that wants me to delay that.
Maybe I'm just preparing myself for something that won’t happen. I don’t know how not to without feeling a sense of complacency. I just know I’ll have to keep doing what I'm doing day by day. I will just remain doing what God tells me to do:
Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. – Romans 7:7(NLT)