The last few years have brought a number of challenges to our family. OneDrive sends me memories each day and before I figured out how to retrieve it this morning, I had deleted the notification. So that’s not the picture that’s heading this blog post. But then, this is prettier than my mug anyway.

But it was a picture of me preaching at the church I pastored at. For some reason, that made me think of all that has happened since 2015. We’ve probably been hit harder in the last eight years than ever before. And I include the times, years ago, when we were separated, then homeless in that equation.

The other night, my beautiful bride handed me the remote for the TV. It was early enough that I was surprised. (I often only get the remote when she’s getting tired, which is just fine with me.) Since it was so early, I picked a movie. I have no idea why it came up as a suggestion, but we watched “A Man Called Ove.” It turned out to be in Swedish with subtitles. (For the few that 

know my history, yes, I could understand some of it. Unfortunately, it was too much too quickly with some thick accents, so I did have to read the subtitles.)

At any rate, the description of a grumpy old man being brought out of his shell by new raucous neighbors didn’t prepare me for the movie. I won’t give any spoilers as it really was a good movie. The reason I mention it though is that I guess I never fully felt the chaos of a year ago. I spent six months rarely feeling, but just being busy. Oh, I had a few emotional moments, but I was mostly just business. You see, due to two botched surgeries, my wife spent that time hospitalized, drifting between stable and critical. As a rule, her doctor characterized her condition as “unstably stable.” In other words, she was OK at the moment, but things could turn for the worse at any time. And things did take a number of turns for the worse.

As “A Man Called Ove” was ending I was sobbing. It brought all the pain and fear of that six months to the forefront. Sometimes we remember the pain and it is just as powerful as if it was current. I could have held onto it. I blame the doctor that performed the surgeries for the entire period and the after-effects that my wife will continue to deal with for a number of months. I could have allowed the feelings to bring up anger. I could have dwelt on any number of things.

Instead, I allowed the wave that surprised me with its force to just wash over me and pass on. Oh, I mentioned the mountain earlier. When I was home for a couple of days at a time during my wife’s hospital stay, I would either sit in the front yard and look at the mountains or sit in the backyard and watch Orion rise in the night sky. I instinctively went to things that brought me peace.

Writing is cathartic for me, but I don’t ever write for me. I write for you. So, this is an encouragement to find things to focus on that bring you peace. And when pain comes, allow it to wash over you and move on.


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