As Felicity and I were traveling home Thursday night, from gymnastics (don’t worry, I didn’t participate!), there were pockets of silence where my mind wandered. I began to think about how nice it would be to be driven around. I’ve been a chauffeur for sometime, and it is a sincere treat for me when I am the passenger. Now when my mind wanders, it is similar to accidentally opening forty files on your computer – all the windows opening at once, with glimpses of images and words you hadn’t planned on seeing. There, at a red light, with forty mental windows splashed on my “screen”, I thought about the drive Jaime and I took for the length of her illness. The literal drive was about 30 miles one way, most days of the week. The destination was Florida Hospital Cancer Institute, later the hospice facility (an additional 9 miles one way). I didn’t really think about the length of the drive back then. I do remember some of the conversations Jaime and I shared, though. In the midst of rushing to appointments, processing medical jargon, and trying to have somewhat of a normal conversation in the midst of very difficult days, we began to do something we hadn’t done in years – listen to one another. Jaime and I had once boasted how we talked about everything – and we did! Over time, though, we became so comfortable with one another that the majority of our conversations were obligatory noise. Yet for a little over 5 months, for an hour, sometimes longer, for several days a week, we found ourselves talking…most importantly listening to one another again.
I hadn’t really thought of how those 60 miles to Jaime’s appointments were also a part of our healing and preparation for Jaime’s death. I said a silent “Thank you” this past Thursday night, on the way home from gymnastics, because once again I was reminded that God truly does use “all things” for our good. Those drives were not always easy. A couple of those times, I was behind an ambulance, praying that when I got to the hospital my wife would still be alive. Then there was the final trip I took home, after Jaime had died. Although I knew that Jaime was with the Lord, my heart ached and I cried out to God to help me to do what I felt at that moment was an absolutely unrealistic and unachievable task of living my life and raising Felicity. In full disclosure, although I now don’t believe it is unrealistic and unachievable, I still cry out to God with the same request quite frequently.
Over the past couple months, as I have been driving, my mind often thinks about a trial I am walking through right now. It’s pretty significant and I look forward to sharing it with you soon – not so much the trial but how God once again used it to bring me closer to Himself. Once again, God has used the time I am in the car, as well as the time after Felicity has gone to bed, to have me remember that He always comes through for us. God always takes care of us over and above. I am not thankful for the trial I am in right now. It’s confusing, frustrating, and painful. But I am definitely thankful for how God is using the entire length of the journey to make me what He wants me to be, to help me learn to truly listen to His still small voice, and to prepare me for His very best…. much like He did those 60 miles ago.