I WON'T BACK DOWN

Saturday, July 20, 2019

A WIDOW'S SHABBAT


I am not a religious person, BUT I DO observe specific Shabbat things – not everything that is traditionally observed by Jews globally; because as I already stated, I am not a religious person. I do make Challah and eat it with Honey Butter … and I drink 1 goblet of wine at sunset Fridays, and 1 goblet of wine at sunset on Saturdays. I haven’t been able to do the candle lighting yet; and I haven't been able to put on Shabbat music either – I have the music, and the pretty brass Shabbat Candle Holder, but it is too painful to do by myself at this time (the Sabbath was something Bob & I did together for decades after he became a Messianic Christian, with me). Maybe later on I can do those things again with gladness.

The Father knows my heart; He understands that healing takes time … 


Wine is a very beneficial Biblical drink that can help the healing process when drank in the right way: with self-discipline. The Psalmist sang, "Thou dost cause grass to grow for the cattle and plants for men to cultivate that he may bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread to strengthen man's heart (Psalm 104:14-15).

And “A merry heart does good, like medicine; but a broken spirit dries the bones.(Proverbs 17:22).

Sampling fruit of the vine as perfectly acceptable for a Christian ;-) Drinking wine is okay - drunkenness is the sin.

But I don’t get all ‘traditional’ on the Sabbath, because I don’t want to get caught up in a religious ritual that Yeshua came to abolish. The rabbis attached too many things to what was Elohim’s original Shabbat Plan.

So I keep things light and simple, while still being faithful to do as Elohei commanded.

I am a Messianic Jew … but, I am also a Christian: the 2 are intertwined as Yeshua exampled, and commanded.

While Shabbat occurs on Friday evening and through to Saturday eveing, it is more than simply another day of the week. It is a special day and we invest it with specialness. Friday and Saturday come automatically, but Shabbat takes place only when we make it happen. We prepare for Shabbat by the clothes we wear, by the meals we eat, by the lighting of Sabbath candles, and by blessing the wine to set apart at this special time.

We are in the presence of a King on Shabbat. And we welcome His heavenly ambassadors too.

I chose 2 specific wines: 1 dark and rich; the other light and mellow. This month I chose 2 wine flavors Bob liked; because though my mind was on Elohei and the goodness I have been blessed with, as you can in the picture - I kept a bit of Bob with me this Shabbat:

1 goblet of  Blackberry wine at the beginning of the Sabbath – Kiddush: sanctification
And 1 goblet of Strawberry wine at the end of the Sabbath – Havdalah: separation. I like the pretty blue & white 3-braid havdalah candle burning too, but those candles are not available locally - and I don't do city driving.

Rest, worship and study are essential elements of Shabbat observance. The principle of Shabbat is to sanctify time. The whole of Shabbat is greater than the sum of its parts. It is more than lighting candles, drinking wine, or attending a service. We sanctify Shabbat by setting it apart, making it distinctive, and differentiating it from the rest of our week: "Six days a week we live under the tyranny of things of space; on the Sabbath we try to become attuned to holiness in time."

THE WOMAN BEFORE ME


People reading my Blog probably think Bob and I had a perfect marriage the way I talk about our union: and we did for the past 43 years.

But we had actually separated before our 1st Anniversary.

Bob & I were married 11 months when I packed everything I owned and walked out the door with our infant daughter.

I was tired of living with Gloria's shadow.

Both of us were people with baggage when we came together.

But Bob's 1st marriage was the most damaging obstacle to overcome: the 7 destructive years he was married to her ... and the 14 months that previous 7 years was souring our relationship.

I couldn't take any more.

So I left.

Knowing he wouldn't follow.

He had told me that early on in our marriage: "If you leave, I won't chase after you."

I KNEW what Gloria had put him through for 7 years before me.

I knew he meant what he said.

But I meant what I said too: I was not going to live with her shadow anymore.

It was bad enough that when their son came to visit every weekend, I had to hear him parrot what she told him before dropping him off (or we picked him up) on Fridays.

Alex eventually went home Sunday afternoon.

Gloria's shadow hung around 24/7/365.

She DID A LOT OF DAMAGE in 7 years time.

So, that July night, when I called my stepfather to come and get my daughter and me - and I threw all our belongings in the back of the pickup: I knew it was over.

He wasn't going to chase after me.

And that was okay with me.

I was pretty steamed up.

A week passed.

I got a job and went to work.

I had a baby to take care of.

On my own.

He wasn't going to chase after me.

9 days later there was a knock on my parent's back door.

And there stood Bob.

With flowers, and his heart on his sleeve.

"I love you, Val. Please come home."

I wanted to run into his arms and never leave again.

But, I needed to know.

"Is the shadow gone?"

"Yes. You taught me to love, Val. And I came chasing after you. Please come home."

What could I do?

I went and got our daughter, and Bob collected all our stuff and threw it in the back of his pickup; and we went home.

And the woman before me never cast her crazy shadow in our life again.

The following 43 years would be as near perfect as humanly possible ;-)

We had a good marriage because we determined to have a good marriage.

Good marriages don’t “just happen”: they take work, upkeep, and maintenance.

And love.

Love is the foundation.

Bob & I gave each other a LOT of love :-D

THE OLD GRAY COW - WIDOWHOOD


Widowhood changes everything.

Identity.

Purpose.

Passions.

Interests.

Outlook on life in general.

These things change because the journey, on which they piggybacked has significantly changed.

Who I was before 1:30 p.m. on August 30th, 2018 has changed: I am Bob’s wife … and yet I am not.

By 8:05 a.m., December 14th, 2018, my old life was drastically altered, and my new status became “Widow”.

Being labeled as such is so demeaning – the very term implies that I am a non-person.

And because I am a non-person, my purpose has been severely altered.

Where I was once vibrantly important to someone for a specific purpose … I have now been shelved and put out to pasture.

I have become the old gray cow no body really gives a damn about.

Everyone can SEE that I am still in the picture, but I serve no real purpose anymore.

I can still enjoy the green grass I am allotted to munch on; but that’s about as far as anyone is concerned for me.

There is no one caring if I come home – or not  at the end of the day.

There is no voice calling to me (they assured me that they would – but those appointed calling times come and go with NO call); and no one is sending the dogs to look for me.

Basically, I have been forgotten in the everyday busyness of their lives; I am the puzzle piece no one wants to fuss with.

When I went from wife to widow with my husband’s last expelled breath, my position in this life was simultaneously shifted from family matriarch to persona non grata.

It is an adjustment.

I don’t feel like an old gray cow.

And I don’t much care for the green pastures of my new life either, where I can wander to my heart’s content – but no one on Earth cares if I live or die.

No one.

It is an adjustment.

My passions have changed significantly too.

I am no longer interested in the things that used to interest me.

Those passions no longer matter since Bob is no longer here to share one passion in particular, or any other passion in general … and the kids/grandkids’ noninterest in me have made the extending passions obsolete.

Who knew I’d become the old woman no one could find time for – in the blink of an eye?

So.

I have learned to stop making other people comfortable; if they want to continue being disrespectful to me, and continue dishonoring their father by the way they disregard me, I have stopped chasing after them.

I have decided to lazily graze – while meeting each new life challenge that inevitably crosses my path, like a snake in the grass.

And mid-cud-chew, glance up at the blue sky longingly because I know Bob is up there watching me and smiling with pride and unconditional love for me, at all that I have accomplished on my own since he left my side.

HE told me he had faith in me that I would overcome whatever obstacles I would face when he was physically gone. I draw on those comforting and empowering words when the blue skies seem heavy with gray clouds, and the green pasture seems so frighteningly vast and overwhelmingly lonely.

Whether future new passions will spring to life and snag future interests is not even a concern to me right now.

I can’t think that far ahead – widow’s fog has made all thoughts of the future a little sketchy in the here-&-present.


With so much time on my hands, and nothing to do but contemplate so much more time on my hands; aimlessly wandering in the green grass pasture, I have joined the NFG Club (does that count as a passion?).


I am learning, after 44 years of constant companionship, how to solo ... and pray that I can dodge the thunderbolts when my defenses are down.

It is exhausting to be on guard all the time.


Outlook in general, concerning me and my life in the present, does in some ways resemble the old gray cow scenario.

I am a senior woman; became a bona fide early-retired Senior Citizen fifteen days after I became a Widow. ANY THOUGHTS of going back into the work force arena while dealing with my husband’s absence in my life couldn’t even be entertained seriously: I could barely think straight. There was no way I could punch a work schedule time clock without pissing everyone around me off with my constant brain freezes. Add to that concept that I had not worked outside the home in decades – WHO, in their right mind – would hire a 62 year old with limited work experience AND Widow’s Fog disability?

Yes! Widow’s Fog IS a REAL disability. It randomly attacks you without warning and renders you helpless. It is nearly impossible to function when it holds you captive in its unrelenting grip. You can’t think. You can’t move. Your sensory receptors have been disabled. Your emotions are all over the place – it is worse than menopausal upheaval! Seriously.


So, this is my new life.

It is an adjustment.

It is confusing – if everyone else is confused, I wish they would consider how confusing it is to ME; and try a little tender and compassionate patience with me.

Of course, everyone else is not Bob (who was always a tender, compassionate, empathetic, and patient person): and THAT is the issue.

It is a bit unsetting: for everyone.

It is unavoidable; specifically, for me.

I lost the most.

I lost everything.

There are good days – but mostly, there are bad days that stretch into the far horizon, without end.


Standing, gray-haired (ALL that gray in my hair came in after Bob’s graduation) in a green pasture (people tell me it is green – to me it appears colorless), looking at life through doleful eyes (the sparkle went out of my eyes when the sparkle went out of Bob’s), chewing my cud (looking thoughtful; but really just passing time), with barely enough energy to switch my tail.


A Life Experience I wish could have avoided.

Everything changed with my husband’s last expelled breath; and my push from life as I knew it when I was "Wife", into the space I now occupy as "Widow".

E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.

Widowhood changes everything.