A few days ago I returned to Alabama. This would be my first return visit since my father went to heaven and I wondered what it would be like to walk into a house without him there. Would I feel a pain of loss? Would I feel the grief of his absence? Would I look around, see his things everywhere and be touched by an aching heart? What would I feel? Those thoughts swirled in my mind as we neared the house because I miss him everyday. As I walked through the rooms, I noticed reminders of him everywhere. It was a strange thought that everywhere I went, he was not there, nor would he be. As I meditated upon this it came to me that in grief, as in all things in life, we have a choice…..on what will we focus?
I was reminded of a verse in Philippians 4:8, “Whatever is true…..think on those things.” That thought struck me with a refreshed inner peace. As I thought of think on whatever is true I thought again of how my father is still alive. That is true. My mother and I were talking about his home-going and she said, “I know I’m a widow but I don’t feel like one and that’s because Chuck is more alive now than he has ever been; he’s completely alive now that he’s with Jesus.” What a beautiful truth indeed. Since we are in Christ and He is in us, that makes us completely alive whether on earth or in heaven. That is what is true and that is an amazing truth on which to focus; on which to choose to place our thoughts when faced with grief.
Yesterday I decided to give myself a real test concerning my physical strength and stamina after my recent radiation treatments. Excitement pulsed through my being as I got on the tractor lawn-mower, turned on the ignition, and away I went. The hum of the motor filled me with a great happiness. As I drove up and down and around, glancing out at the vast country fields around me, turning the wheel with ease, I could see my father in my mind’s eye. I remembered and pictured him waving and smiling as I turned each corner. I could see him gathering fallen tree limbs, filling the wheel barrow, resting under the shade of the pecan tree. I could see it all in my mind and as I did so I realized I was smiling. He no longer lives here but he lives; he just has a new address and one in which I will one day join him and I too will see Jesus face to face.
My lawn mowing experience came to an end. I was tired from my experiment but happy that I felt so well. I get bouts of tiredness that wash over me but after a little rest I’m recharged and ready to go again. We all go through situations in life that challenge us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. How wonderful that God Himself has given us all we need to get through anything with great peace, complete joy, and total courage. A key to grasping all He has to give, comes with that simple truth as stated above……..“whatever is true…..think on those things.”