I have just started diving into a study on the book of Job and have been reminded of those early stages of grief. I wanted to re-share a post I wrote in the summer of 2020. Growing up, my parents always warned me to “choose my friends wisely.” I don’t know if they were aware that this advice is all over the Bible, but the older I get, I see just how important it is to surround yourself with good people. I am still completely amazed by the support and grace I have received from everyone around me and the scriptural wisdom is just as true today as it was last summer as well as over 2,000 years ago.
“‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.'”
To this day, I get overwhelming feedback from people who attended Taylor’s memorial service telling me that their biggest takeaway was that they wanted to be a better friend. The legacy Taylor left behind is a display of God’s will for our relationships with each other. I know he would be honored to be remembered this way because he valued his friendships immensely. I hope Taylor’s story and his attitude towards life can serve as a push for all of us to reach out to the ones in our own circles and approach our friendships following the examples given to us in the Bible.
As a millennial, there are a lot of things about my generation I am quite fond of. When it comes to the fashion and music I am admittedly very basic in my appreciation of the era. There are, however, some millennial associated things I just can’t get behind. Mainly, the lingo used to label things as if they are original concepts to modern twenty-thirty somethings.
If you’ve scrolled through social media in the past few years, you may have come across the term “adulting.” I find this word particularly annoying. Maybe because the tasks people refer to as “adulting” upon completion are such luxuries compared to the daily tasks of generations before us. So you went to the grocery store and managed to buy some vegetables with your IPAs…do you really want to brag about that on instagram? I guess I just don’t appreciate the irony of people my age broadcasting that they “did a thing” and labeling it as “adulting” as if they are the first person ever to pay their taxes or file for a marriage license.
The other term I just can’t get behind is “Sunday Scaries.” I think it takes too much of our focus away from the present moment. As long as the world continues to turn, Monday is always going to follow the weekend. There will always be work to do and adult responsibilities waiting for us. Sunday is a precious gift given to us and we shouldn’t waste it by worrying about what Monday may bring. We should focus on soaking in each week what we need on that day of rest.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
I don’t think that God rested on the seventh day because he needed a break. He wanted to set an example to people from the beginning and give us a command to keep the Sabbath day holy so that we can benefit from the pleasure of stillness. For as many times as the bible tells us to not be anxious or worry, we can be certain that God didn’t want us to spend every weekend feeling scared about what the next work day will bring because only God knows what tomorrow will bring. Worry is not from God and only serves to steal our joy.
For many of Taylor’s friends, the last time they saw him was when they got together for the 2020 Super Bowl. I assure you that Taylor, an avid football fan who was overly enthusiastic about any game and get together with friends, was not spending a minute of that Sunday worrying about what the next day would bring. None of us could have ever predicted what the next week would bring, but Taylor knew that work would be there in the morning. Cows would need to be fed and fences would need to be mended, but while he was with his friends, that was a moment to celebrate and not worry about tomorrow.
Take time today to live in the moment and engage with the people around you. Do not worry about tomorrow because tomorrow has not been promised. We have all been given today and we should make the most of each and every moment we have been gifted.
There is a common saying that goes, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Instead of biting my tongue when I don’t have something nice to say, I prefer the approach of saying it in a foreign language. This might stem from growing up with a Spanish professor for a mother or the fact that trauma has completely removed what little filter I had before. I’ve always had a love of languages and sometimes you have to borrow from others to convey what you really want to say without sounding too crass. Life is bleeping hard enough without having to worry about holding back the thoughts we want to express and I have unwillingly learned that widowhood takes some serious cajones.
Sometimes things just sound a little less harsh or cringey in another language. Even Margot implemented this concept at two years old. My toddler knew that potty talk was for the bathroom only, but not long after she started daycare she came home and started inserting “caca” into every other sentence. If I told her to finish her peanut butter and jelly sandwich, she would say, “you mean my peanut butter and caca sandwich,” and then laugh as if she wouldn’t get in trouble because she said it in Spanish. I’ll admit, this phase was mildly amusing and didn’t irritate me nearly as much as when her little sister was the same age and couldn’t make it through a meal without some kind of potty joke in English.
I have spent the last two years since losing Taylor swimming upstream. There’s not another adult at the dinner table with me to reprimand or secretly smirk at the inappropriate discussions. Grief has taken so much from me, but there is one thing I’m thankful that it has given me and that is chutzpah. Not everyone would agree that this is a positive attribute. In fact, the definition of this Yiddish word is “unbelievable gall; insolence; audacity.” Widowhood has made me brazen in ways I never was in my first 32 years of life. I was thrown into the deep end without any warning and it is chutzpah that has kept me afloat.
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Driving home from my last visit to Fort Worth, I was listening to an audible that referenced the observations of Rabbi Harold Kushner who wrote, among other things, When Bad Things Happen to Good People. Suffering is universal and it often leaves us questioning, “Why?“. Kushner pointed out that in the Hebrew language the word “why” has a dual meaning, each with its own word. Maduah means “from what cause?” and lama translates “to what end?”.
I’ve done my fair share of questioning over the last two years…
My husband died.
A: Equipment Failure. Freak accidents happen.
My husband died.
A: I accept that this is something only God can answer.
There have been all kids of “lamas” that have run through my head. I often come back to the knowing feeling that Taylor and I were always meant to be together in this lifetime for however short and called in his death to minister “together” for the Glory of God’s everlasting kingdom. Whatever the reason may be, my hope rests solely in the Lord. Whatever lamas you are facing in your own life, give them up to God. When we put our faith in God, he constantly renews our strength and blesses us with chutzpah to walk hand in hand with our suffering. He will not let us grow weary no matter what battles we face as long as we invite the Lord to stand on our side.