Archive for March, 2011

Susan + God

March 30, 2011

So many of our friends along the way have made comments related to Susan’s relationship with God.  So many people along the way have said, “I wish I had that kind of faith.”  Or “I wish I could make that kind of impact.”

Just want to say here, on this gloomy Wednesday morning, that I do too.

I spent some time yesterday reading back through some of her blog posts.  I hadn’t done that in awhile.  There are memories that stir that are so strong I can practically feel them.  They’re as warm as this hot cup of Starbucks in my hand right now.

Today, I find myself missing the way that she was with God.  How she felt about Him.  How she knew He felt about her.  This relationship she had.  I’m realizing, all over again, what a rare thing this was.  Maybe, seeing it every day, I took it for granted.

She had a “thing” with Him, you see.  Even though she shared her relationship with God with me, she knew Him before she ever knew me.  And He knew her longer than that, of course.  She spoke with Him, every day.  She read His love letter to her, she let the words pour into her heart, she stood on them.  She rested in them.  Her first love was not me.  (I was her second 🙂 )  It was her Lord.  He was her first, best, and closest Friend.

And all of this, long before cancer.

She encouraged me in my relationship with God – she inspired me, just like many of you.  I had a front-row seat to something beautiful.  Breath-taking, is actually the word I want to use.

I miss talking to her about what she was learning.  I miss seeing her open up her Bible and sit quietly, taking notes.  I miss praying together at night in our bed.  I miss the tender words she used with Him.  I miss the way that she prayed for me.  Her genuine, authentic, humble connection with God challenged me in so many ways.  She sharpened me.  Days when I doubted God’s goodness, or even His presence, I would just have to look at her, and the doubts would melt.

Her life was, at the end of the day, defined by her intimacy with her loving, gracious, good God.

May that be true of me – and please God, for our children – the rest of our days.

 

 

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Time

March 28, 2011

I heard that old song “Time” by Hootie and the Blowfish the other day.  As I sat in the car and relived 1993 for a minute (or whenever that song was around), I also found myself agreeing.

Time…you ain’t no friend of mine…

These last couple of months, time has just kind of messed with me.  Things seem to speed up or slow down.  It’s been almost three months since Susan died.  It seems like yesterday.  It seems like a thousand years ago.  I’ve forgotten things, more than ever before.  I’ve been two weeks late on things.  In one case I was one week early on something.  I have everything plugged into my calendar on my phone, so it’s not a scheduling issue.  It’s a memory thing, I guess.  Or a catching-up-to-the-speed-of-everyone-else thing.

The time we spent in the hospital (20 days, from Dec 13 – Jan 1) seem like…I don’t know what…time spent in a different galaxy, or maybe like time spent in the space ship that travels to another world.  Where time gets compressed and distorted and you get there and you have no idea how long you’ve actually been in the ship.  Everyone’s operating on a different wavelength than you.  (vice-versa, I guess)  That’s how this feels some days.  Like I’m a step slower than everything and everybody.

Part of it may be that people simply move on.  I see that all around me – it’s just what happens.  I don’t fault anyone for it.  And yet, I can’t – or I won’t – do it.  There is no “moving on” here.  That phrase doesn’t fit.  Only ones like “living with”  or “dealing with” seem to make sense.

2 Peter 3:8 says “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”

Here’s to being able to see, and experience, time like God does.

(The time’s ticking on this blog, by the way.  I don’t know how much longer it makes sense to keep this up here.  I may switch it over to my own at some point.  Which means I need to revive that one, since it’s pretty much dead right now.  I’ll keep you posted on that.)

Bananas

March 24, 2011

My friend Richard was over the other day.  He and his wife Kathy are great friends and have really supported us through Susan’s cancer journey.  They lost their son nine years ago in an awful car accident, and because of that are no strangers to grief.  He told me the other day that their son, Ryan, was absolutely crazy about bananas.  That they couldn’t ever keep enough around the house.  He loved them.  So anytime they saw bananas, especially right after he died, it was this automatic and tangible reminder of Ryan.

I’ve had a lot of those same experiences.  When you come across something, maybe unexpectedly, and it triggers an emotion, or even a feeling of Susan’s presence.  It’s one of the powerful, painful things about all of this.  Sometimes these “bananas” sneak up on me, and I’ll get this strong sense of her.  I love these moments.

Here are a few of the things that have reminded me of her lately:

-homemade country style steak

-any Sugarland song

-watching NCAA basketball

-walking the campus at Chapel Hill

-our 1998 Toyota Sienna

-mowing the grass for the first time this year

-her Life is Good hat

-daisies

-pink pajamas

If you knew Susan, I’d love to hear the things that have reminded you of her lately.

Signing Day

March 16, 2011

This is a fun picture to post:


This is the kids helping me sign a book contract with Thomas Nelson Publishers!

I finally got the completed contract and was able to sign it yesterday and send it in.  I wrote about it awhile back here, so I won’t bore you with re-hashed details.  In short, it’s a two-book deal that will be the beginning of a middle-grade action/adventure series about a boy who discovers he is part angel.  The first one should be out late winter/early spring 2012.

Thanks Martha (Susan’s mom), for snapping the picture.  It was special for me because she also got to sign the contract as a “witness”.  Susan would have been the one to do that, so it was neat that her mom was able to instead.

How Samsung is saving me right now

March 14, 2011

So, I’m doing laundry right now.  I hate laundry.  Always have.  Susan was well-aware of this, and we had a deal.  I mowed the grass.  She did the laundry.  (As I am realizing, I got the better end of that one.  Remember the criminal asylum in Silence of the Lambs?  Several of those guys were in there because they went nutso while trying to separate 9 and 6-year old boys’ socks and underwear from each other.)  ((double-parentheses – that would have made Susan chuckle))

What I will say, though, is that this new washer and dryer we have is actually making it bearable.  The ad for these Samsung babies says they will handle like 17 pairs of jeans at once (not kidding).  So I am putting them to the test – which means jamming as much as I dare in there at once and seeing what happens.  So far, so good.  The old dryer we had – a load like that would take probably 3 rounds of drying.  This one only takes one.  Thank you Samsung!  (And my Lowes friends who recommended them)

Why am I telling you all of this?  I’m not sure – but on nights when I don’t blog here (which has been a lot lately), chances are I am doing laundry, cleaning up from dinner, or some other homemaking task.  (I got a new vacuum cleaner too, by the way.  It is a beast.  OK, enough with the parenthetical statements.  But if you want to talk home appliances and such, I guess I’m your guy.)

Basically I’m just feeling the need to check in here and say that we are doing okay.  Just okay.  I’ve said this before, and it’s been said to me – this is nowhere near a linear process.  I think from the outside in, we may expect people to get better and better and better with each day that goes by.  I can’t say that’s the case.  In fact, as I sit here, it’s been 73 days since Susan died.  And in some ways I think it is just beginning to hit us.  The four of us are having moments of realization that, at different times, have hit us heavily.

“She’s not coming back.  Ever.”  That’s what these moments of clarity tell us.  The finality of death is crushing at times.

Of course, those moments are intermingled with a lot of other good things.  Life is moving, as it always does, and here are a few things we’ve been doing:

-a trip to Raleigh to celebrate multiple birthdays in my family

-I saw comedian Brian Regan live with my sister in Durham – fun, funny night with her

-I went to the Duke-Carolina game in Chapel Hill – forever indebted to James, my brother-in-law, for that ticket

-Also got to see Maryland-Carolina with my buddy John

-took Luke to Duke Hospital again regarding the swelling in his foot – it seems a little better.  They are still stumped, but not overly-concerned.  It is not slowing him down.

-kids are all playing soccer, which makes Saturdays interesting – so far, so good – they’re all having fun

-Lake Norman Community Church is going well – what a terrific group of people I get to serve with

-I turned in what I hope to be the final draft of novel #1 to Thomas-Nelson – getting ready to start the groundwork for #2

-took the kids to the Bobcats-Clippers game last week (notice a trend here?  Darn it, wasn’t going to use parentheses again…)

-enjoyed another visit from Aunt Dana, and looking forward to the next one

And a bunch of other stuff…

So…that’s a little from the Law family home front.  A mixed-up mess of good and bad.  I’ll check in again this week.  Love you all.

 

In her own words

March 2, 2011

There’s a journal I referenced a few posts ago that I’ve been reading.  It’s one I found that Susan wrote in the summer of 1993, when we were dating and I was on a six-week trip to Kazakhstan.  She wrote it to me, since we basically couldn’t communicate during that time.  It has been a lifeline for me, a connection to Susan that at times has taken my breath away.  I’m reading it a little at a time, trying to savor every word.  I picked it up and read this entry today:

I just finished reading “The Applause of Heaven” (Max Lucado).  Jerel, I think you would really love it.  The end of the book made me cry.  He is talking about when we go to heaven.  He describes it, and the very last sentence says, “…and maybe, the One who would rather die than live without you will remove His pierced hands from his heavenly robe and…applaud.”

I can’t imagine God applauding for me!  I really can’t.  I guess it makes me so thankful (and humble) that God really loves me, despite what I do, only because of Jesus.  It makes me want to live for him and serve him.  Earlier in this chapter, Lucado says, speaking of good deeds, “we shouldn’t work in order to go to heaven, but because we’re going to heaven.”  I thought that was cool.

This entry floored me today.  It was exactly what I needed to hear.  I know without a doubt that when God welcomed Susan into His presence, He applauded and said “Well done, my good and faithful servant”.

Susan would tell you that the reason this could happen – the reason she could be in the presence of God at all – was because of Him, not her.  She turned her heart over to Him and welcomed Jesus into her life, to lead, forgive, and save her.  I wish I could have seen that moment when He welcomed her home.  I can’t imagine how exciting it was for her.  I’m so glad she wrote her thoughts down about it so many years ago.