“...I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them. I will give them joy in place of their sorrow.” Jer 31:13
As the heading on this blog page indicates, my writings here have largely been about my “grief journey”. A little over a year and a half ago a process more painful than I could have ever imagined began. Many of you who have been, or are right now, at some point along this journey know what I mean. This process is often called a “journey” because there is a destination or “other side” that can be reached.
Approximately 6 months ago the Lord blessed me with the friendship of a fellow traveler. I met Lisa at a young widowed support group meeting long before either of us was ready for any kind of relationship with the opposite gender. Over the course of many months and many meetings we became friends. We learned a little more about each other’s story, about our beloved spouses. We learned that we shared many common values, interests, etc. At one of our meetings shortly after returning from my trip to Liberia the Lord spoke to me that it would be ok for me to ask Lisa if she would like to have dinner with me sometime. She said she would like that :) She was obviously too sweet to turn me down. The evening we were together gave us a chance to talk and share more of our life stories with each other. We immediately knew that we could be good friends but were not sure if we would be led beyond that.
Lisa and I continued to attend the support group meetings. We also continued to see each other outside of our group setting. We talked for hours about Phil, her late husband, and Carol, my late wife. We had so many stories to share. We talked about how happy and fulfilling our marriages were. We talked about our children and about how they are coping with the loss of one of their dear parents. Over time we began to see each other as more than merely friends. We talked about the “what ifs”. What if our relationship turned more into a “dating” kind of thing? What if we are not ready? What if it’s too early? What is too early? We fell in love!
Along the way we have talked to many couples who have traveled this journey before us. We so appreciate every minute they were willing to spend with us. Bob and Susan, our group facilitators, were very encouraging toward us regarding our relationship. We read books. We both knew that we certainly did not want to make a great mistake by becoming so attached to each other. At all times we held our children as our highest priority.
God is soooo good! Lisa and I are now engaged!! Our “Chapter Two” is now being written. God has delivered the both of us from the deepest pits of sorrow possible to a point where we are happy and joyful beyond what we would have thought ever possible. The above Bible verse from Jeremiah was e-mailed to Lisa by a friend of hers upon hearing of our engagement. This is exactly what God has done. Our mourning has been replaced with joy. As I was reminded again this past Thanksgiving Day by our pastor, true thanks, and true joy are only possible because of what Jesus has done for us. He is the very foundation of joy.
Lisa and I will always remember Phil and Carol. They are hugely responsible for who we are at this point in our lives. We learned, along with them, what a pleasure a good marriage is. I can truly say I have been extremely blessed to be so loved by two extra-ordinary women in one lifetime!
I can’t end this post without thanking all of you for your prayers for me and the kids. Thank you for all the wonderful ways you supported us along the way. Everything you did for us was very instrumental in our survival (that word again). Please keep both of our families in your prayers as we now blend our lives.
Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee...