“But, how will I do Thanksgiving Day without her”? I yelled to my friend as she walked towards her parked car on the curb. I expected her to yank around and turn towards me as I fell apart on the front lawn. Shouting with pain and aching from the inside out, I yearned for her to stop and console my hysteria. In my crazed state of mind I thought it best that she acknowledge my twisted way of thinking, giving me a reason to continue to rant and rave.
My angry way of saying good-bye felt good. Even though it was July, the thought of doing the holidays without Sam made me manic. The regular days were hard enough! How would I, how could I handle the season of celebrations without Samantha! While every other family gathers together to be thankful, all I could see was the empty chair at my table. The harshness of that reality, hurt like hell! There was no way I could hide it!
However, my meltdown didn’t faze my friend. She continued her confident and calm stride across the green grass as I stomped my feet and kicked the tree next to me. Finally, she reached her car. After placing her hand on the door handle she lifted her eyes and met my crazed cry. With squared off shoulders and a sturdy sense of self she looked at me with an unwavering attitude. Immediately, without saying any words, I knew she was ready to challenge my erratic way of thinking.
I always knew she cared, but what I realized in that split second was she wasn’t going to let me cave. In a sense she was saying, “Elizabeth, I can tell you are sinking, but I’m here to help you stand. Or,” I understand your desperation, but I’m not going to die with you.” Or maybe yet, those silent seconds were meant to convey, “I appreciate your hopelessness, but I’m not going to hop on board.” Slowly, she responded intent on bringing strength to my weak spirit, on bringing clarity to my clamorous mindset and to instill hope when all I could see was hurt in my future.
“Elizabeth, just do today. Do not think one hour, one minute, one second or one scenario past today. And, as far as Thanksgiving, simply trust and it will take care of itself.” she advised as she tucked herself into to her seat.
As her car sped down the street, I stood and thought about what she said. Eventually, I wandered back inside and I spent the evening mulling over her stoic suggestion. That night I prayed about my current mindset. That is, worrying about a particular day that was four months away. As my head plopped on the pillow I asked God, “If I’m not doing this the right way, would you please tell me the best way to deal with the loss of Sam?” I begged Him to show me what I could do different so that my future didn’t seem so foreboding. Honestly, living a lifetime without Samantha seemed impossible to accomplish. I needed help handling the heavy load I felt.
The next morning, as my head rested on the downy pillow in the dawn daylight, I remembered my afternoon outburst and how it was met with stern proposal for peace. Then, I re prayed my thoughts from the night before, asking God to show me how to carry the burden of being without Sam. I was desperate to get the day started in a better frame of mind than the ones before. Honestly, I was tired on the inside and craved a new direction.
It was during my quiet time of the morning, that I began searching through my Bible to see if God would agree with what my friend suggested. And, that is when He showed me, that doing one day at a time was His idea all along:
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. each day has enough trouble of its own.
As I read the scripture, I knew He was feeding me the message, “Elizabeth, you aren’t suppose to carry a lifetime of living without Sam everyday. Instead, just focus on the 12 hours in front of you, no more no less, sunrise to sunset. Do not look ahead! That is too heavy to bear and I didn’t build you to carry that much burden. And, as far as Thanksgiving is concerned, forget about it for now because I’ll be with you when it happens.”
I sat in silence a little longer that morning, rehashing God’s words and working them into my way of thinking. I began to implement God’s instructions into my own life by asking myself a series of questions,” Elizabeth, can you survive today without Sam? Elizabeth, can you find purpose and feel peace today even though Sam is gone? Elizabeth, do you believe Jesus will walk you through the next hard day, and the next holiday, and the next happy day as they arrive?”
As I began to answer, “Yes!” to each of these questions, I knew I was on my way. Learning how to deal with the loss of Sam a single day at the time as made all the difference.
So, then and now, when anxiety gets the best of me and I find myself living ahead of what has happened, I reign my thoughts in and reminisce about what I learned from Matthew 6:34.
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