I am a widow

I am a widow and I am going to do the best I can to be the best me I can be. My husband contracted Covid19. He got sick on Christmas day of 2020 and early on the morning of 8 January 2021 he passed away. He was 63 years old but he wasn’t sickly, in fact he had never had a life threatening disease in his entire life. He ran a business full time and still found the time to play golf twice a week. He was not a candidate for death. Or was he? Do we have any say in the matter of our own death? I’m speaking from a Christian point of view. Does God determine when we are to leave this earth or do circumstances? One day I will know all the answers, but for now I know what I believe.

God made the earth and everything on it was perfect. Then Adam and Eve disobeyed Him and everything changed. People had to start toiling for their daily bread and they would have to face death. But then Jesus came and changed everything when He was crucified and rose from the dead. He said if we believe in Him we would receive eternal life.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 ESV

Therefore death isn’t the end, but the beginning of a glorious new life that we cannot even start to imagine. The Bible gives us glimpses into this life but doesn’t tell all.

Revelation 21:4 ESV

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

John 14:2 ESV

In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

1 Corinthians 2:9 ESV  

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”

Revelation 22:1-5 ESV

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

This last verse is enough to make me believe that I have absolutely no idea how wonderful Heaven is going to be. I don’t know where Heaven is or is going to be, and frankly, it doesn’t matter to me. All I know is that it is going to be so much better than anything here on earth.

I believe emphatically that my husband is in Heaven experiencing the glory of God. I miss him and my heart aches, but I wouldn’t want to deny him the peace that he now has. I have read articles about the process of grieving and come to the conclusion that there are no hard and fast rules. I have found that there are well-meaning people who expect me to fall apart and think there is something wrong, or that I am not being honest when I say that I am fine. Obviously I am not as fine as I was before my other half was torn from me but I am coping. I have to guard my heart constantly against good people who say insensitive things. They don’t realize what they are saying hurts and at this point I have no desire to get into any discussions about it. I have to guard my thoughts against the doubts and fears which invariably sneak in. I have to literally take every thought captive and decide whether I can entertain it or not. I have days when the air is so thick I struggle to breath and moments when a memory is triggered and I cry buckets, but I get up, dress up and show up. Every day. I am not suffering from depression and I still engage in the hobbies and interests I did before his death. Yet, everything has changed. Every single thing I do is new and I have to reinvent the way I do things. At work I have to be the boss. I don’t particularly like being the boss, but for now I have to do it. At home I cook for one. I sleep alone on a big bed. I have to make all the decisions alone. I don’t have the luxury of bouncing it off someone as close to me as I am to myself. On a lighter side I can’t go back to a bad decision and say, “That was your decision!”

Because of the lockdown things are not normal and we are only having a service on Sunday. Not a memorial or mourning service but a celebration of life. Of his life, of the lives each one of us has, of life after death.

This is how I feel today. I am a widow and I am going to do my best to be the best me I can be.

Mirrors of the soul

So you don’t like wearing a mask? Neither do I but because the law says I must wear a mask, I comply. I can give you a list of reasons why a mask isn’t pleasant to wear. I can tell you that it takes away my freedom and I can tell you that it covers my mouth and therefore is symbolic of curtailing my right to freedom of speech. I could tell you that I seriously struggle to hear what people are saying because I am hard of hearing and rely a lot on lip reading. I could tell you all those things but I won’t. I have learned that there is something very special that happens when people wear masks. Instead of masking the real, it enhances the real. I was in a shopping centre recently and as I was looking at the people I realized that I was focussing on their eyes. When eyes are the only part of your face that is visible it’s hard to focus on anything else. Guess what? Eyes don’t lie. By looking ito someone’s eyes you actually see their soul. Sadness, happiness, joy and heartache are all locked up in your eyes.  There’s a proverb that says , ‘The eyes are the windows of the soul,’ which comes from Cicero (106-43B.C.) He is quoted as saying, ‘Ut imago est animi voltus sic indices oculi’ (The face is a picture of the mind as the eyes are its interpreter). The L*tin proverbs, ‘Vultus est index animi’ or ‘Oculus animi index,’ are usually translated as ‘The face is the index of the mind.’ The French say, ‘Les yeux sont le miroir de l’dme (The eyes are the mirror of the soul). In the Bible in Matthew 6:22-23 Jesus says, ““The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” The Message version reads: “Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!” Let us take these insights with us into 2021 and instead of complaining and resisting the masks let us start looking into people’s eyes and maybe we can learn to be the light when their darkness needs it.

Time Out

Time Out

I have come to the conclusion that I need a time-out. You know that thing people do in some sports games when everything is in full swing and someone makes a sign with their hands like the letter ‘T’? You know that thing a mother imposes on a toddler who is throwing tantrums and needs to calm down? That thing. I desperately need that thing.

Three years ago I took one week off. After that a weekend here and there, and then the Corona gobbled up everything like that little circular mouth on the arcade game. Pac-man I think they call it. It ate up all my peace in the blink of an eye and I went into survival mode. I have never been so distressed or felt so out of control during my entire adult life. Not even when I was involved in motor vehicle accidents, and there were two serious ones. My equilibrium was disturbed. If it wasn’t for my faith in God and the fact that I am grounded in Jesus I would have given up altogether.

The first thing I did was try to figure out how to survive in the short term. The first five weeks without the promise of any income were looming ahead of me like a monster. Because we employed nine people at that point it was crucial for us to make sure that they were taken care of. So we made masks. Lots and lots and lots of masks. Every day for five weeks. And we sold them and every week we were able to give our staff some money for food. During this time I had to face my own mind. There was the thought that possibly we wouldn’t make it financially in the long term. What if the economy collapsed altogether? What if the banks didn’t approve the payment holidays we applied for? What if, what if, what if?

My husband helped me clear a piece of soil in the garden which was overgrown with irises. Iris bulbs are so invasive! I planted a succulent garden there. One that would grow into its design. A prophetic action; a hope for the future. Then I started thanking God for filling the jars. Like the widow in the Bible who’s jars were filled with oil and she could sell them to pay her debts. At that point I had no oil, and not jars, but I had to activate my faith.

Level 4, with some restructuring, allowed our business to reopen and we began slowly. Short hours, a skeleton staff. Baby steps. God has been immensely and immeasurably good to us and we have expanded and restructured even more as the levels lightened. Because we needed to be cautious a lot of the practical work fell on us and it has been a heavy load to bear.

It has become abundantly clear to me that even though I have been able to perform my self-imposed duties I could only do it for a limited time before I would crash and burn, physically and mentally. Referring to what I said before, without faith in God I would not be here writing this testimony. Our business is almost fully operational again and we have learned to do a lot of things differently. We have also learned to do a lot of things better and more efficiently and effectively. Everything comes at a price and we have sacrificed much.

Even though my body and my mind are protesting I can say with gratitude that it is well with my soul. It is my responsibility to do something about my physical and mental health. I have to spend time recharging in ways that are unique to me. Each individual has to get to know their own body and take care of it. Because I am very much an introvert I know that spending time by myself doing things that bring me joy will definitely help. Until I am able to take a proper  holiday I am going to do what I can do.

I need to do what David’s exhausted soldiers did in 1 Samuel 30. Two hundred of David’s six hundred men were too exhausted to keep pursuing the enemy so they stayed behind with the supplies at the Besor Ravine. When everything was over and David’s army was victorious, the men who had stayed behind received an equal share of the spoils as those who had fought in the battle. The tired men didn’t give up and go home, neither did they decide that they were losers. They stayed with the program. Just like them I am not giving up. I am staying with the game. I am still doing my part in running two businesses but I am taking time out from the extra activities. From those things I would normally do because I really want to, so that I don’t get to the point where I am forced to give up on everything.

I need to paint some pictures and listen to music and dance. I need to craft some things of beauty and walk on the beach and swim in the ocean. I need to read some books and write some lines. I need to get back to the place where I can give out of my abundance instead of giving out of lack.

Survival has served its purpose, restoration is at hand.


Because we were forced to close our business I anticipated that the five weeks of level 5 lockdown would be traumatic. But instead it was a comfort zone. A bubble which enveloped us like a warm blanket and protected us from any reality which could threaten our safety. It showed us new ways of doing things, opened our eyes to new possibilities. The possibility of being calm while the storm was raging became a reality. God’s love and care was more evident that ever before. We were able to retreat and get new perspective. Going back to work was difficult because it tore at the bubble. But now we can look ant the world from a different angle and see problems as challenges. We can remember the bubble and get back into it when the world threatens to overwhelm us. We can meet God in the secret place of that bubble and know that He is in charge and that He cares for us and loves us enough to have showed us a new way to live