Did you catch the mistake I made on my last update? One clever reader, after reading the post, alluded to my being able to predict the future. I said to myself “Huh, what are they talking about? I didn’t write anything about predicting the future!” I re-read the body of my piece four or five times and did not find what they were talking about. My judgement was, “They’re NUTS!” I got a text from my sister, which unlocked the mystery for me. She said, “Your title is Update 10.23.16. This is 09.23.16.” While she didn’t say it, she could have been justified by adding “Moron.” So, the clever reader got me. Made me twist in the wind. Showed no mercy. But that’s par for me, that’s normal (me smiling here)! That’s the way I’m treated!!
The last month has been rather routine. No great highs or valleys. Just walking the “highway” with my Lord. I don’t recall if I told you I have joined a gym. That has helped me on many levels. My outlook and attitude has improved from the activity. I have a scheduled time out of the house, and I am getting stronger and less stressed. I go three times a week, which I have recently broke down for Tuesday’s – lower body, Thursday’s – upper body, and Saturday’s – combined. Tuesday night, I was able to do two miles on the recumbent bike. The muscles around my knees and my hamstrings are getting stronger, which allows me to walk better. Upper body work is back muscles, chest, arms and shoulders. I’m not looking for bulk, but just to strengthen and add definition.
I spend my not-at-work time studying, reading, and praying. I don’t watch much TV. Since Friday nights have been hard for me (our date night), about every two weeks, I will go to Sapulpa, after work to have dinner with my brother and sister-in-law. These trips help me to have contact with people who love me and care for me.
I didn’t realize how isolated Terrie and I had become, because of her handicap (I assume) from folks at church. It was hard for Terrie to get in and out of our vehicle and hard for her to go into the church building or into a restaurant. So our opportunities for going out with friends from church declined. I was reminded of this last Sunday night. Our church had “Church in the Park”, where we had rented space at a local park and had a cook-out and preaching outdoors. I love the idea and concept of being open to the public. But it was very hard on me personally. Since I am still very shy and I don’t know how to interact with folks on a casual basic very well. I didn’t have someone to sit with and I just don’t know where I fit in and with whom. I walked around and talked with others, but I was way out of my comfort zone, so I keep moving until the preaching started.
Terrie made those situations so much easier for me. I rode on her coat tails, when it came to social interaction. I sure miss that about her. She had a wonderful talent for talking with everyone. Her absence highlights my inadequacies in that area. I tend to have to know someone before social interaction becomes comfortable for me.
Terrie’s birthday was on Tuesday, the 18th. I was well aware of the date and was trying to prepare myself emotionally for the first birthday since her death. I did well until Tuesday morning when I woke up and started looking at her photos. I posted a couple of her photos on Facebook. The response was very moving for me. Wednesday morning I posted the following:
Thank you to all of you who prayed for me yesterday and expressed your thoughts and love for Terrie Elkins to mark her birthday. I knew the day was coming, so I was preparing myself to lean into the day emotionally. And I thought I was doing well, until yesterday morning, when I was looking at her photos. My tear bottle was fuller than I realized. It fell over to be emptied, which took most of the morning.
Terrie was a unique women in so many ways. After eleven months, I guess I appreciate how much she loved the Lord and how much she loved me (in that order) the most. She was a strong believer who had a tender heart for the things of God and she did her best to follow Him.
Thank you again for your kindness to me.
Terrie gave me so much strength, support, and encouragement. She was the one that was concerned for me when I had a doctor’s appointment. She was the one who would coach me out of a disappointment in work or in my ministry. She was the one who knew my many faults and through it all – she still loved me.
I learned that Jesus taught her how to do that for me. He worked in and through her to make me better. What a precious thought that is to me.
Next time will be the one year mark and the end of my monthly updates. Even though, I think I’m made a lot of progress, I would not say the grief will be over at that time. My heart is healing and there are more “no tears” days than before, but I think there is also some time needed just to honor Terrie and our marriage, without the thought of my well-being and future thoughts.
Well, hopefully there wasn’t anything in this post to indicate knowing the future. We all know that only the Lord knows that and I take comfort in that. Do you?