"Oh to live with your heart in two places... is an ache that never leaves."
"Cause losing you feels like I've lost my breath...breath I need to breathe."
"And knowing you're ok now...doesn't mean it's still not hard...to carry on and make the most of what's in front of me...
in the space between."
"Steady now, it won't be long...there won't be a space between."
I love the lyrics to this song written by Alisa Turner. I saw her perform it live at a coffee shop in Nashville.
These lyrics hit me deeply because I feel them in real, daily life and I see my kids feel them in living color. This is a true reality that we "live with our hearts in two places". And it is an "ache that never leaves". If you've lost someone you love so deeply you know what this means.
This ache and heart divide has also been a gift. The ache leads me to realize that life is short, people are so important, and time together is better than time alone. Telling others about Jesus needs to happen now because life is short.
The other day, my Ellie (12) was sitting with me at breakfast and she said, "mom, what is seen is temporary and what is unseen is eternal." She has been reading her bible and this struck her heart. We chatted over scrambled eggs about it and how good God is to us. And I could imagine the smile of Matt's face if he had been at that breakfast table with us. A very big smile! Even in this gift, an ache is present.
We put up our Christmas tree last week and got to decorate it last night! With each ornament we pulled out of the box, many thoughts and memories of Matt excitedly gathering the kids as he and I would haul them all to the Hallmark store through the years and let them pick out a new ornament for that year. Abby found a box in her pile last night and brought it to me and said, "mommy, this one isn't mine because that doesn't say my name." The box read, "Love Sponge", and it was written in Matt's handwriting. My breath was taken away a bit reading that, as I could hear his voice calling Abby a "Love Sponge". I told her that was a special name given to her by daddy. She held up the box proudly and announced to all her listening siblings, "this box says I am Love Sponge, Daddy wrote it on here!"
Smiles mixed with the ache. But we "carry on and make the most of what's in front of us".
A few days ago, Ellie was eating a piece of pizza and I was eating come celery. She said, "is that good?". I immediately thought of a period of time when Matt was trying to lose weight and he had read that celery could help him burn calories or something like that. So he would eat pizza and then eat a ton of celery :) And I shared that memory with Ellie and we laughed. So living with your "heart in two places" can be a gift and full of laughter at times too.
As we finished up decorating our tree last night, I got ready for a tradition that Matt started in our family. "Stare at the tree". We finish decorating, we find a favorite drink, get a cozy spot to sit, turn off all the lights and stare at the tree while we play Christmas music in the background. The kids take turns requesting songs they want to hear. Some people get sleepy but most of my thoughts were on those moments when Matt would sit with his beloved egg nog and listen to Christmas songs and his eyes would well up with tears in them as the "Joy to the World" filled his soul. He knew "The Savior reigns" and he would relish it right there in the light of the Christmas tree.
Knowing that "He rules the world with truth and grace" keeps me putting my feet one in front of the other. I love how the "wonders of His love" keep our eyes on Him even in the midst of painful moments, deep aches and this weird "space between" where we wait for and celebrate our King that is coming soon!
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6