When a spouse is taken after 45 years of marriage, it leaves a tremendous vacuum in your heart.
I used to stand by the water’s edge and quote Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem, “Break, break, break”. My eyes would moisten as I repeated the words…
“But O for the touch of a vanish’d hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!”
As time passed, I adjusted to life without Joy. The silence at home. Restaurant meals eaten alone. Times with family charged with an unspoken awareness of that missing presence.
A woman named Shirley Birch had also lost her spouse and was going through the same passages of grief that I was. It seemed unlikely that we would meet. I lived in White Rock, on BC’s lower mainland. Shirley lived in Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island.
But a mutual friend felt led to introduce us. We married six months later. God did not erase the memory of our previous marriages. We talk about it freely. But He did awaken us to the amazing capacity He built inside us to love again.
I am so grateful for Shirley. Here are two of the many ways she blesses me. She loves me unconditionally, which is a HUGE thing, because I am far from perfect. Secondly, she is an encourager. She believes in me.
Those two gifts from Shirley are more valuable than gold. I love her for that.
Tennyson ends his poem with…
“But the tender grace of a day that is dead
Will never come back to me.”
There were moments when I might have agreed. But not since I met Shirley.