"You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north" (Deuteronomy 2:3).
When our oldest son died I bought a new Bible for the purpose of marking every positive and uplifting verse I could find. During my journey through this Bible I came across some surprising and insightful verses that helped me to get beyond this searing experience, verses I had never noticed before. Grief will do that! This particular verse told me to turn north. North means a rough and tough way, but it also means victory, if we persevere. God highlighted that verse for me, for it became crucial in the agonizing days and months ahead.
I had to define “mountain”, too. The molehills that seemed so large before Chuck’s death now became nothing. It is truly amazing how something that shatters our lives can also put everything in perspective. I’m thinking about the fires in California several years ago and the incredible losses. One of our sons is a doctor in southern California, and many of their staff lost homes. One of the lessons I learned from Chuck’s death, and I imagine the dear people in California did, too, is the sad fact that we do not appreciate what we have until we lose it.
Before Chuck’s death I took so much for granted. I took a normal life for granted. When our sons left to go anywhere I assumed they would be back. Now when they leave I stand there and wave until I can’t see the car anymore. The last time I saw Chuck was when he was going back to college and I was waving goodbye to him. I find myself looking at our family differently, knowing that the unexpected can indeed happen, and thanking God constantly for these magnificent people in my life.
Will there be an empty chair this year at your Christmas celebrations? If not, then thank God with every fiber of your being, dear Friend! Have you a home, enough to eat, and a precious family who loves you? Oh, how blessed you are! And how blessed I am! God help us to quit circling our mountains and molehills and forge ahead in our lives -- and help us to appreciate and care for what we have!