The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you

I’ve been absent from this space twelve days now. My last words came with a light heart. The weekend upon us, beautiful weather on the horizon, I breezed through Friday’s One Word prompt. Cheer.

The irony of cheer has not gone unnoticed. Our life was quickly ambushed a mere twenty~four hours later.

Without invitation, the unexpected invaded.

We spent Saturday morning greeted with pink sky. Slept in. Savored coffee, soft conversation. A time of prayer.

We had plans and a list ’till our sweet little Lola made for the road. I stood at the door wondering what in this unholy world had happened. Beyond the dog, I see my man, stumbling and weaving holding his chest. Going down to the ground.

It was one of those slow~motion moments hanging in the air. A horror movie stretched before me. Our day ambushed. Our life, our togetherness, threatened.

What began with a possible heart attack, maybe a blockage or two, quickly grew to a critical level.

We spent 2 days preparing. Visits with surgeons, paperwork stacked high, pre~op, labs, CT scans. Frightening words and warnings.

Faced with open heart surgery, a valve replacement, several other things.

My need to cling overwhelmed. The urgency to say all that may have been left unsaid oppressive.

Near to twenty~nine years we have stood side by side, back to back, and occasionally toe to toe.  Love sprinkled with a bit of mule~headedness has kept us glued together. Seamed to one another by God,  sifted with grace.

It hung in fragile balance. It. Was. Surreal.

Still is. Though the evidence is real. Ugly scars and bruising. Fragility. His gold wedding band, having never left his finger since the day I placed it there, hangs loosely on my right hand.

Ushered towards The Holy of holies, we rest in a sweet place of protection.

We are home now. Taking time to rest, preparing for the days and weeks ahead.

My body weary, his bruised, battered, and scarred.

I had dreamed of, even prayed for a stay~cation. Seems we have been given a gift.

The gifts don’t always come in ways we expect. More often they come in the hard.

Gifts of Grace 

Tammy Mashburn

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