“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. -Philippians 4:12-13
I don’t know how to say this.
I looked at Maddi today and caught myself glancing up, but there was no one else on the receiving end. It was the kind of look I would have given Shawn. The unspoken message that says, “Isn’t she cute?” while watching her giggle proudly because she buckled her car seat by herself. This is a great accomplishment in our little world. She’s changing from my lovable baby into my sweet toddler. She is precious. And I am privileged. Sometimes I wonder why I was given the gift to be her mom. She is my sight, my treasure, my heart.
The glance I gave was not completed. How do I say this? It seems
small, yet for me incredibly significant. These glances occur multiple
times within a given day. I look up and he isn’t there. I crave one
more interaction, one more lending hand, one more touch, one more
conversation, one more anything. I wanted to see him grow old. What
would he look like when our kids were grown? I wanted to experience a
long and nurtured marriage with him. What does a mature and loving
relationship look like? I wanted to fine tune our methods of
communicating. Can a best friend become better? I don’t know how to
explain the most intricate and intimate interactions. I only know I
miss our daily contact and his nearness in my life.
What is the opposite of complete? Lacking? Empty? Unfinished? I
define it as too many shortened exchanges. I wanted more. We were
intertwined in this life. I understood my role with him. I cannot
figure out what position I play now. I have new responsibilities,
functions and tasks, but what part is totally mine?
I feel like I live within the arrangement of other people’s lives. I
fit inside their worlds to occupy my own. Where is my world? I don’t
want extra free time without Shawn. I don’t want my schedule to be
newly and unexpectedly open. I want to fill my plans with him. This
is not an option. Will I ever become accustomed to life unaccompanied
by my spouse? I know I am not alone, yet I feel conscientiously
Looking back at the relationship I experienced with Shawn, I believe
much of my current fulfillment as well as my hollowness come from the
strong friendship we carried. We truly enjoyed being together and
sharing life. We had many common interests in addition to
attractions. It only makes sense that life feels lacking and limited
when I once walked inside a whole and contented friendship sharing
collective purpose and ambition. One cannot know scarcity of pain
without knowing advantage of pleasure.
The truest gift we hold is to be content in all things. However, I
would challenge that this is only a fraction of the gift. The greater
piece is realizing the possibility that contentment surrounds our
lives. Contentment is available to each of us. It means owning and
appreciating the moment before you. For how can you truly be thankful
for what you do not notice, recognize or give credit?
The concept of pain and contentment mixing in life doesn’t seem to make
sense. This morning, I told Maddi and Jordan that we are going to take
swimming lessons this summer. Maddi looked up and asked me with her
limited vocabulary, “Daddy come?” I didn’t know how to answer. It
felt horribly empty to explain the truth to her. I don’t know how to
say this. Sometimes I don’t feel very content. Yet, in both lack and
abundance I seek to learn how to be satisfied. The only explainable
way to live is through a strength greater than my own.
I don’t know any other way to say this.