So I've had the last 5 days to do whatever I wanted. I pretty much did nothing. That seems to be par for the course lately. I watched tv, found a new series I liked and watched too many movies. One movie had some music in it that so reminded me of Jim. We loved listening to music together. 80's music...the best! We had our favorites those days; Journey, Boston, Foreigner. Today as I watered I thought I would put on some of that music that I have just not been able to listen to. It has been hard to hear those songs that meant so much to us both. But today, I thought, just go with it. So I played 80's rock ballads. And of course cried like a baby. The song that pushed me to write this is Foreigner's "I want to know what love is". This song came out in 1984, a year after I married Jim. And looking back, it was the most appropriate song for me; a broken, used up young woman who was just looking for someone to love her.
I've shared my past here on my blog before. I was raised by alcoholic parents. I am sure that my parents told me that they loved me when I was younger, but I truly cannot remember hearing it. I am not vilifying them, just stating what my life was. They were both broken people also. My mom, so unsure of herself as a wife and as a mother. I have a couple of letters that she wrote to my father when she was pregnant with me. She felt like she had no clue as to how to live the life of a wife and mom and be successful at it. That is not surprising as she was raised by a mom married multiple times. Who was off and gone a lot of my mom's growing up years. I never heard the whole story from my mom, I think it was just too hard for her to tell. But I do know that she came into adulthood hurting and in a very fragile place. And that fragility showed itself in her drinking and taking pills. Often leaving me home alone when I was younger than 10, I would wake up and the front door would be open and I was home all alone.
My father, oh how I idolized him. He was my hero. My dad the homicide detective, the former tail gunner on a B17. My dad, the man who saw too much and did not know where to put it all. So he buried it under gallons of alcohol.
Most days I came home from school never knowing what awaited me. Most of the time I remember listening to records, the music carrying me away from my loneliness, my fear and despair.
For so many years I lived that song...wanting to know what love was. I became the thing I hated; I drank, I did drugs, I gave myself away in a desperate attempt to find love. One night stands do not a love story make. I just felt that I was not worth anything more, anything better. I allowed myself to be used and abused and felt that was all I was ever going to have in my life.
It is funny, how when we give up our ideas, our crazy schemes for how our lives should be, that right around the corner, the Lord has something incredible waiting.
Late summer 1982. Working as a midnight shift cab driver...I know, right? Can you even picture that? I was working right next door to a Hobo Joe's in Lake Havasu. Getting off at about 6 am I would go next door for a cup of coffee and wait for my ride home. I was not interested in any more relationships, if that was what you could even call them. I just wanted to work, sleep, get up and work again. Then one day, drinking my coffee there at Hobo Joe's, the assistant manager comes over to me and hands me a postcard. It was a big gorilla, and it was captioned, "you want to fool around?" I was told it was the cook who had sent it. So long story short, I meet this tall, skinny cook with a short afro and a tall chef's hat. We sat and had coffee and then went under the London Bridge and talked for hours. He told me he was going to be a pastor. Wait, what?! I stayed and listened.
This man, this man that the Lord sent me...ok, I am crying again. For so many years, feeling invisible, forgotten, unwanted. And this man looked at me like I was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. He treated me like a lady, not a tramp. He really looked at me, and he really saw me. And despite that, he really loved me. Because that is what the Lord had in store for me, for us. The Lord saw this fearful, damaged woman and said no more. No more being alone, no more fending for yourself, no more being lost.
At the time, all I saw was Jim. I had never known a relationship like the one we had. And I had also never known that you could have a real relationship with the God of the universe, the God who created me. I never knew that until Jim spoke to me of this God. This God who gave His son to die for my sins...and oh how many sins I had. A God that loved me so dearly. A God that had a plan for me. Here I thought, wow I finally found a guy who really cares about me. A man who makes every day something special. Now I know what love is. Oh, how right I was and how very wrong I was. Yes, that was love, but then Jim introduced me to LOVE and how my life changed.
I am so grateful for that LOVE today. I have a tangible thread tying me to Jim and that is the love of the Father who brought us together in the first place. I no longer need to say I want to know what love is. I see it every day. In the eyes of my children, in the laughter of my grandchildren. I see it in the tree outside my window that Jim and I sat by for the last few months of his life. Watching the birds come every day, bringing us joy. I see that love in the grass that Jim planted for my mom. In the garden he grew. In the flowers that bloom every year. I see that love when I look at all the people that the Lord brought into the life of this introvert. People who care and who help and who are just there for me. And yes, even in the car he built for me. Every day I have real and undeniable signs that not only is God good, but that He shares that goodness with me. Every day, even in the pain of grief I have the joy of my memories. I have that blessed assurance that I will one day be with the Lord, that I will see Jim again. That although the body dies, love never does.
Do you want to know what love is? A song is nice, but a relationship with Jesus is so much better. It is truly the thing that keeps me walking each day through this life. I know what love is and His name is Jesus.
But if you want to listen to the song, here is a link