Saturday, April 5, 2008

Things I know about being alone in a crowd!

You sit there in a room filled with people. These are friends, family, people you have known forever, it seems. They talk and you talk and conversations go by one right after another...some even overlapping one another. And yet, you are not there with them, not really. Your mind is somewhere else, far away and departed from this crowd. You wonder if it is truly possible to feel This alone with so many people standing 3 feet away from you. Can you really feel this terribly removed and disconnected when all of these people love you? Are the tears you feel welling up behind your eyes going to burst forth uncontrolably, causing the need to explain what you have no idea how to explain?
The answer to these questions is Yes! I sit and listen to everyone around me. It is Christmas, Easter, maybe just a family gathering. But I am not there with them. Perhaps physically but for certain not mentally. Tears escape my eyes and I try to dry them as quickly as I can to avoid detection. Someone, in a voice that seems a million miles away says "Where are you tonight?" "I am right here" I answer and add a stupid, over-exagerated smile to my answer. Too much going on and they are drawn into another conversation. They are content with your answer for now. Too much going on all around not to be. "I" am thankful for the business around me.
All I want to do is hold her once more. All I want to hear is her voice in this crowd of loved ones saying "Hey good looking, I love you." Longing for the touch of her soft hand on my arm, as she always did to comfort me or say silently she loved being here with me. Closing my eyes for a moment, hoping for a private moment with her just one more time.
"Do you know how much I loved you... love you even today? Did I tell you enough? Do you forgive me for the person I couldn't always be for you? Is there a way I can wash away this guilt and sorrow that may one day swallow me up and cause me to disappear? Can you say something aloud to me, Please, because God forgive me, I can't remember what you sound like anymore My Love."
"HELLO!!!!!!! Did you hear me, Uncle D? Do you want more coffee?" Where on earth did they all come from? I thought it was just me and my tears sitting here. They are all so good to try and keep my mind focused. But I am not here, not really here at all. I am a million "I am so sorries" away. More tears, even as I write they flow down my cheek. A hundred back-spaces to correct my spelling and a laugh out-loud as I respell again. "My God... you an author!? Thank God for editing."
Can you be truly alone in a crowd? Oh yes, my friends, you can. More alone than you might possibly imagine. And alone gives way to thinking. Thinking gives way to memories and memories make an entry way to tears. Tears... {sighs} to................................ D.

Things I know about Giving and Sacrifice...

I woke this morning and on the radio was a man talking about losing his spouse. As I listened to him, I found myself questioning his choice of words. In one sentence, he used two words as if they had the same meaning. As I pondered his words, I felt compelled to write.
"I can suffer less because I know the sacrifices I made were for her. I freely gave all I had to give her and did not mind."
That statement truly bothered me. The two words did not have the same meaning to me. They were NOT allowed to be in the same sentence. I thought about My Sheila and the life we lived. Never in all of our time together did I ever feel I had sacrificed anything. The meaning of sacrifice being basically the surrendering of anything for the sake of something else or to a claim it more pressing or important. This man was saying how he had wanted to go on to Art school but he was willing to sacrifice his wants for his wife. So he was saying he gave up something he really wanted because of her. Well, I say did he "give" it or "sacrifice" it? There is a difference to me.
When Sheila was so sick for so long, there were things that we had to do differently to adapt her illness to our lives. Notice I did Not say to adapt our lives to her illness. That was something we never did. If there was something we could not do, it was not sacrificed! It was simply replaced by whatever we had seen as more urgent or important. To call it a sacrifice would to me demean what had been done. I would hear people say "Oh he sacrificed so much time to be at her side." "He loves to fish but he is at the hospital with her every minute he is off." I wasn't sacrificing one damn thing! I was giving to her love and caring in the same manner that she gave to me always.
Sacrifice means losing something that you wanted MORE than what you took or did it it's stead. Abraham "sacrificed" a ram instead of his son Isaac. Baseball players "sacrifice" a player to get another home for a score. The tears I cried every time she hurt, the love and understanding I "gave" to her when she was so ill, were exactly that. They were given freely of my choice and would have been given freely for another 1000 years if God had allowed her to stay. I sacrificed nothing and received in return blessings uncountable. She was a Gift that was "given" to me by heaven.
"I will try and pick up where I left off before she was sick. A sacrifice I was willing to give her. I doubt I can ever recover the years and that's ok." His words just caused me to shake my head and want to scream out "Wake up! Pick one or the other because you can not have both." Doesn't that very statement sound like regret? Doesn't it sound like he feels he gave up so much for her? What a hero.
I will one day leave this world as we all do. I will not ever look back and feel slighted or cheated or as if I have ever "sacrificed" anything in this life. I have been more blessed than any one man ever deserved. And I would so quickly give all I am for another forever to Sheila if she were not in heaven.
So Mark Glennel... think about how your wife feels if she is listening to you in heaven today. You just told her this morning that "You" "sacrificed" so much for her. I hope you at least Made her feel like it was willingly "given."

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