Teddy Bear’s Heart

I’m not sure why my husband bought me teddy bears, but he did. One little guy was white and looked quite grand in his black sequined vest. He clutched a heart shaped pillow, embroidered with the word ‘love’, between his hanging paws. Teddy lived in a house full of kids, and eventually both paws fell free. I could have reattached the pillow, but I never did. It was a choice I made.

Unfortunately, life doesn’t come with a ‘do-over’ button. And choices have consequences. Looking back, you may wish you had chosen differently, and often the best we can do is learn from the past. When the change is beyond our control, sometimes it means shifting gears. In driving, it is a one-step process, you’re already moving, and the goal is to smoothly increase or decrease speed. But life transitions take time, especially when faced with unexpected heartache.

Honestly, when I lost my husband after a five-week illness, I told God that I wasn’t interested- NOPE, change that… I told God I would follow Him anywhere, but please NO more marriage for me. Don’t read anything into this about the state of my marriage. It was wonderful, God-honoring and I was richly blessed in our years together.

Suffering loss after a long illness drains you emotionally. Death is always difficult, but the repeated waves of rising hope followed by difficult news is exhausting. You fight emotions, people’s well-intentioned comments, and often lose the battle and begin playing the game of ‘What If.’

Then comes loss. It’s a fifth gear slam to full stop. Emergency brake applied! For me, there was no brain connection at this stage. Very little computes. Nothing in life to compare this to. Call it brain fog. The only way forward is shifting into neutral, and to let others push you though.

 Healing? Oh healing… ever seen a someone learning to drive a manual transmission? Spits and sputters, and constant engine stalls. Eventually getting the rhythm of depressing the clutch in unison with moving the shifting knob.

In my loss, my heart was like that teddy bear, my hands now hung loosely. There was no repair for a missing heart. We both simply had to learn to live without it.

 I believe my comment to God about not wanting another marriage was because I needed to decompress. To relearn how to live solo again. Eventually I got my engine running smoothly again. Now it was my schedule. My plans. My comfort level. 

The last time my pastor had mentioned how good his marriage was during a sermon; I silently reminded God, “That’s good for him, Lord, but not for me.”

When I heard this reply, “But what if it’s not about you. What if he needs you to complete the work I’m calling him to do?”

Man, did that bring my refusal to the forefront. In essence, God was saying, ‘I want you to be willing to go where I desire you to go’. It only took a few moments for me to agree to ‘be willing’ to do what He called me to do. Not that I believe that God was indeed bringing me marriage, He just wanted me to be willing. To yield to His plan for me.

So for the past year I’ve mostly been running from any interaction with men. Avoiding eye contact. Clinging to my comfort levels and disappearing anytime I feel the possibility of a connection. Yikes! I wasn’t very honest in my agreement to be willing, was I?

Last week I confessed to my study group my hesitation and my new commitment to not run the other way anymore. Being willing to engage in a conversation was a good first step, right?

 Two days later at a gathering, I sat at a table with a couple I knew. A few of their acquaintances joined us and soon after one man, about 15 years my senior, asked me if I was married. It was like being hit with a spotlight. I spluttered that I was a widow.

After expressing his condolences he asked, “Would you like to get married.” I think I physically gulped. Then I lied! I told him I hadn’t really thought about it. I followed that by saying that I was happy in the state that I was currently in. And as soon as was most naturally possible and in my ‘running away’ fashion, I removed myself from the table and I didn’t return.

Yes, Teddy now has a comfortably running engine with what appears to be empty hands. But he also knows that the Good-Gift-Giver has never failed, and His hands are always open. Teddy has filled his days with adventure, his arms with the people he loves, and is open to conversation on most subjects!

How’s your engine running, friends?

~Debbie G

#shiftingGears #soloAdventures #willingtobewilling #teddybearheart

Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:7

Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Psalm 143:8b


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