Nuggets

In my mind today, I have been feeding my brain with literature. I am studying again! Don’t moan back row, students. Be joyful that I am looking for God. It has been a while since I have had the strength to read and focus. What threw me out of my stagnating reverie was YouTube. Yes, even dinosaurs like me look at it. I usually look for gardening videos and Christian talks about the Faith. I’m a “ real gone cat.” That’s an idiom, students. I digress but I was scrolling the YT and saw 26 books every Christian should read by Peter Kreeft. I watched it about three weeks ago and just finished the first book : an autobiography called A Severe Mercy. Of the 26 books, only two were autobiographies. I decided to start with the autobiographies. It was this one or Confessions by St. Augustine. The latter seemed too heavy for my fragile mind. 

After I got the title downloaded to my kindle, I discovered it was written by a man from 100 years ago about losing the love of his life. When I watched the YT video I just got the book titles and hurried to my list to read before my flesh became weak again. Finding out it was about grief and losing the love of his life, I was all in. I knew in my heart that the book was no accident. I do believe that God wanted me to read it ; it was divinely inspired. 

My mind as well as my heart have been muddled wading through my husband’s death into eternal life. The nuggets of gold I mined from this autobiography reinforced my mind, soul, and spirit giving peace to my battered, grief stricken heart. Good News indeed! The first nugget of truth about true love: it is more than physical attraction. In the beginning of my relationship with Ken, we wanted to be together all of the time. We couldn’t get enough of one another. In the book the author describes this time as their Pagan love. I believe that many relationships begin in this whirlwind of romance and freedom. It’s often referred to as the honeymoon stage. Often weeks into the relationship this fades and the rose colored glasses are too smeared and dirty to see through. What then fosters a good, healthy relationship or marriage? Commonality. Do you share common interests, goals, and morals? If not, I bet the relationship failed. Remember the song lyrics : don’t go changing to try to please me, I want you just the way you are?  Did you really want your person just the way they are? Was it reciprocated, did they feel the same way? If you honestly answered yes, congrats! To move forward to a deeper love it is imperative. The reality of real love is possible. I live in a little southern town and I look out at the world and hope desperately that people, men and women, have not given up on the sanctity of marriage. The plan for us to be one and that love being a treasure trove that grows stronger throughout eternity. Ken and I have it ( present tense.) I feel it. 

Nugget number two was: there is no other joy in the world better than Christian Joy. I hear the back row grumble. What other joy is there that has no baggage, consequences, or price? Love, real love, is free. It is not self serving. It does not constantly think about “me.” We all as humans yearn for eternity. We have been trying to figure out a way to live forever since the dawn of mankind. Christian Joy is walking your earthy life to God’s beat. There’s nothing you can do to buy or win it. It is staying in the Light of Christ. The plan for us is to be happy. How in this upside down society that you and I live in could this be possible? Is there any chance of getting true love and Christian Joy? I pray that there is. I have children and grandchildren ( my posterity) that I want to have these treasures.  Walking a righteous path is so hard, but so rewarding ; remember eternity students? Students, when you have true love do you want to be with them forever? Absolutely! This brings me to my last nugget of truth, my Epiphany for all of us grieving people whom I know. Just like the author in A Severe Mercy, I still “ feel” my beloved ‘s presence. Some days are so heavy with the weight of him I have crying days. These were so many before my Epiphany nugget. I felt that I was crazy and losing my mind and my love forever. Not so! Listen up my widow and widower friends. The last nugget will bring you hope. I pray that it does. 

The big epiphany nugget from the book gave me something to ensure that Ken is somewhere waiting for me out there in eternity. Remember the marriage covenant? Remember Saint Paul and stating that when a man and woman become one then their souls are united as one. This, to me, gives hope and evidence to being together again. When our souls depart from earth they leave intimeness ( no clocks or time keeping in eternity) and have all the time in eternity. Ken and your love are free from earthly chains. If your heart shattered when they departed, good. Hold on front row students, I am making a point. If your heart shattered, it was a true love. It was real. It had and still has life. True love is eternal. Just like Saint Paul stated two souls become one so the other half fledged before the other, so our loves are still there waiting for our day to soar. The hardest part is our waiting. Not for our beloved who are out of time. Remember when sharing your lives there was never enough time. I yearned for our Saturdays of time shared with each other. There could have never been enough Saturdays to satisfy our love. I believe a part of my soul left when his took flight. A death of a part of me that resurrected with him lives on in eternity where every day is a Saturday. 

Does everyone get this “true” love? Sadly, I don’t think so. It’s hard to live a covenant. Do more people want “ true” love.? I think that our society and culture in America need it more than ever. I remember a woman who was considering divorce told me that the infidelity of her husband was too much. She said that she wanted a man who only saw her in the room even if Halle Berry was in the same room. Ladies and gentlemen, do you feel the same? I know I did, but I was blessed to have it for 33 years. He always told me that he had the most beautiful woman in the church every Sunday,  ALS and all of the trappings included. I know back row, you think he was blowing smoke but he would say he still saw the girl he married. The sacrament of marriage is real. The covenant is sealed with love. I thank God for it. I think that those who achieve it have lots to look forward to even in death. This covenant has been flipped in our culture. Students, take heart. Surely there are many other people seeking it too. Remember all of the feelings that I have of Ken being so close in songs, places, and the space surrounding us? The signs the kids and I have? They are real. They have meaning. How can I be so confident? Everything is created by God. Everything God creates has meaning. I will soldier on until my eternity journey begins. Then I will be with him in a time free zone ready to share eternal Saturdays again.  

Sarah Anderson Alley 

Sal the True Love Gal

Quote of the Day :

“But love is the final reality ; and anyone who doesn’t understand this, be he a writer or a sage,, is a man flawed in wisdom. “

Sheldon Vanauken

The Grief That Stole Christmas

The Grief that Stole Christmas 

In my mind today of course I am thinking about Christmas. Looking at Christmases past on social media, remembering how much I put into Christmas before ALS. Each year I was so jolly and even enjoyed the elves’ shenanigans! I have always been a NUT for Christmas to the point that I drove my family nuts. Here is an example of my overzealous behavior: 19 elves. I heard that gasp, students. What a NUT, right? 

This year was the year of “The Grief that Stole Christmas” since my sweet husband is celebrating a Celestial Christmas. Some of his best, worn out dad jokes were about canceling Christmas. The closer Christmas came,  the more frequent the cancellation threats.This year is a new season, a new normal. I know that I don’t have the corner market for grief, but it really hurts. Writing is therapy, and I am so thankful for all of you, students. 

First new normal was no big gathering at our house on Christmas Eve. We always hosted every side of the family and would have sometimes over 50 people, relatives and friends. Then the old Griefy Claus caused a collapse in our world. No gathering. I then had an idea, a wonderful idea! An awesome, wonderful idea! Intimate Christmas Eve with our kids and grandchildren. I was not the most chipper and we were missing two Grands. Guess what happened? We had a fabulous time! We could feel the love. We shared wonderful memories of their Dad, brother, and all of our crazy Christmas past. The new normal will be Christmas Eve with Gram at noon, KFC, and shared time. Enjoying watching the kids play. So Bah Humbug Griefy Claus! The kids were gone and that left the three amigos. Ben, Abbey, and I watched SpongeBob Christmas and so many others. We laughed until we cried. Last but not least, a good, hot shower, tucked tight in bed, It’s A Wonderful Life in color on the bedroom tv, and the sweetest daughter beside me made for the best Christmas Eve ever. Ben was busy with the elf work that robbed my Christmas Eve sleep all those years before as a healthy mom staying up til the wee hours of the morning. I slept like Patrick Star under his rock. (SpongeBob reference, parents!)  

Before I knew it, the alarm clock was going off. Ben said, “Mom, we have church.” We had the perfect excuse to stay home. There had been a winter storm with dangerous low temperatures. Don’t forget Griefy Claus! The one thing that Ken never canceled was church on Sunday, especially the high holy days. That was a rule of our Home: God first. It has been our trusted compass. Ben got me up and ready. We gathered the food items for my mother-in-law’s gathering to drop off, then grabbed her for church. Here comes Griefy Claus! She had burst pipes and no electricity. We ended up with a lot of good ham and another gathering collapse. New season. Ben learned to make pecan pie from one of our good friends. We wanted to give something special for people that doesn’t come from a store and means a bit more. I was ever so glad to be in church. I cried but it was tears of joy. My joy meter was 100% before we were to the Gospel. Our daughter leading music and pies for the church family made my heart swell three sizes. Although the other traditional gathering collapsed, a new one was born. We had Ab’s boyfriend pop in and my other son, too. It was like a trip back in time. They were laughing and playing video games. It was the BEST. Just our little brood. I felt Ken and Nick were right there with us. My husband was a father first and foremost. He worked so so hard his entire life for us. The children we shared came through, heavenly and earthly. Grief didn’t stop Christmas. Somehow it came just the same. The love never left us. This morning Ben and I talked about dying young and the old saying only the good die young. This life is so full of grief, the earthly one. It makes a Celestial Christmas sound even better. Not the Monty Python heaven, back row. Stay with me! That is why we believe that there is so much more on the other side. No GRIEF! Let’s not forget that mortality issue. Remember the first time you realized that you were destined to be dust? Eye opener! The whole world does fall in love this time of year. It is the most wonderful time of the year. Why? That’s right front row, light entered the darkness and Jesus Christ entered our earthly drama. He brought the best Christmas gift of all.

Merry Christmas everyone! 

Sarah Anderson Alley 

Sal the Griefy Claus Gal

Quote for the Day:

 “Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality.” -Emily Dickinson 

“What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes part of us.” -Helen Keller 

“Say not in grief that they are gone, but give thanks that they were yours.” -Hebrew proverb 

Things Griefy Claus taught me:

  1. Don’t think that my children will love the same tic-tacky Christmas trappings (decorations) putting them up and down! No decorations next year just a tree, the memory one, and one nativity. Peace is better than the grief!
  2. I get that a new chapter has begun and I have to be a BLT: BRAVE LITTLE TOASTER. There is a purpose for me on this side of heaven. 
  3. I will miss Ken until the day I die.