It’s a sunny space for stories of joy. The women of the Among Women panel have gathered in the breakfast room of Alexandra’s Bed and Breakfast. Large windows look across the spacious porch (and the flower gardens that will be teeming with color this summer) to the old carriage barn where the Bed and Breakfast hosts weddings and other events. In the corner of the room stands a large photograph of one of the weddings held there. The bridal couple is standing together on side steps leading up to the porch; yellow flowers growing in the beds at the foot of the stairs contrast with the white of the woman’s gown. The women of the panel have gathered around a large table, sipping their steaming cups of coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. They’ve entered into each other’s sorrows. Now it’s time to share their joys. Here are their stories.
Louella: “We’re striving to get to glory on the other side…”
“There’s no joy in widowhood,” said Martha, earlier in the retreat, and Louella has no wish to contradict that. There is nothing in her life that makes her glad simply to be a widow. She misses Leroy. That’s not going away. She has found, however, that in the midst of her loneliness and grief since Leroy’s passing, life is not joyless. There are two things that stand out to her especially as gifts that she has been given in this time: relationships and perspective.
Louella finds comfort and joy in a variety of relationships. There are her family members, for one, who share her grief at Leroy’s passing, and have been there to help as she figures out how to live without him. There are also her Christian friends who surround her not only at church, but also at work, and at her volunteer job at an MCC thrift store. Louella enjoys the support and friendship of many non-Christian friends as well. She has found that, although the relationships with non-Christian friends lack the depth brought by a shared relationship with Jesus, the human connection remains the same. At the same time, she is grateful for the opportunity that these friendships give her to connect people to Jesus, who has meant so much to her.
In addition to relationships, widowhood has given Louella the joy of perspective. She has no compunctions about saying that she anticipates the end of her life, productive and happy as many of her days are. She longs for a day when she will be with Jesus, and with Leroy. “We’re striving to get to glory on the other side,” she says, “yet we act like we’re trying to stay here forever.”
Losing Leroy helped her to gain this perspective, and it brought her the opportunity to deepen her relationships with many around her. These gifts, in their turn, help her to bear Leroy’s loss, and to continue to enjoy her life here on earth. She can take the joy and the sorrow mixed together here, knowing that, in the end, one will be perfected, and the other will be wiped away.
Questions for our readers:
What helps you keep your perspective in the middle of difficult times?
Talk about ways your non-Christian friends have helped you.
How do you work at not acting like you’re “trying to stay here forever?”