Everything is Transformed

Some of you may know that my husband Fred died in October after years of suffering from fourth stage COPD and congestive heart failure.  This reflection is about my journey without him.

My life is “measured out in coffee spoons”* these days. Most of the time it is bearable.  I’m reading A LOT and trying to blog at least once a week. Other days, I find myself thinking often, “What’s the point?”
I miss Fred more this sixth month after his death than in past months. Perhaps that’s why I had this interesting dream last night. I had walked miles to Christ Memorial Church (where I used to work)  which now was in another city. I was supposed to help my former secretary with a huge project – tables full of piles of something that had to be arranged. When I was ready to leave, I called my childhood home (?) to see if one of my siblings or parents (both deceased) would give me a ride.
After several tries, Fred answered. I asked him what he was doing. He said he was working on a project. I asked him if he could pick me up because I didn’t want to walk all the way home. He said, kindly, “no”; that was not possible.  I would have to work on my project, and he would stay and work on his.  Then he hung up.  I was heart-broken.
When I woke up (still heartbroken), I tried to make sense of this dream. I quickly remembered reading a beautiful excerpt this week on dying and eternal life from The Divine Conspiracy in the Renovare weekly bulletin. Here’s the part that may have influenced my dream.  Dallas Willard says:

Well done, good and faith­ful ser­vant,” our mag­nif­i­cent Mas­ter will say, ​“You have been faith­ful in the small­est things, take charge of ten cities,” ​five cities,” ​many things,” or what­ev­er is appro­pri­ate (Luke 19:17;  Matt. 25:21).

I sus­pect there will be many sur­pris­es when the new cre­ative respon­si­bil­i­ties are assigned. Per­haps it would be a good exer­cise for each of us to ask our­selves: Real­ly, how many cities could I now gov­ern under God? If, for exam­ple, Bal­ti­more or Liv­er­pool were turned over to me, with pow­er to do what I want with it, how would things turn out? An hon­est answer to this ques­tion might do much to pre­pare us for our eter­nal future in this universe.

Could it be that Fred is/will be enjoying eternal life working on his own project, but I still have something (what could it be?) to do here?

As I write this, I still wish Fred could come and pick me up. That longing made me go to my “grieving wall” where I have taped several pieces of writing that ease my mind about Fred’s death. I read this by Symeon the New Theologian (922-1022) again:

“For if we genuinely love Him,

We wake up inside Christ’s body

where all our body, all over,

every most hidden part of it

is realized in joy as Him, 

and He makes us, utterly, real,

and everything that is hurt, everything

that seemed to us dark, harsh, shameful,

maimed, ugly, irreparably 

damaged, is in Him transformed

  and recognized as whole, as lovely,

and radiant in His light

we awaken as the Beloved

in every last part of our body.”

What a blessing that my husband who suffered from PSTD, illnesses, and sadness all the years that I knew him is now free from everything that hurt him and the dark and harsh that damaged him, and that the guilt he felt even while knowing he was forgiven is now transformed “in every last part of [his] body.”


* T. S. Eliot in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.

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