Well, another week's come and gone. I'm at home alone for awhile, a neighbor friend has taken the boys out to dinner, I think the plan is Burger King 'cause they have arcade games---who knew? The neighbor's a young man I've known since we moved here, way back in '92. He's a student at MSU, actively involved in a local church, and has always had a soft spot in his heart for AJ and Ben. He messaged me a couple of weeks back, saying that he was off every Friday, and wanted to spend time with them, if it was okay with me. Okay with me? I've been praying for someone to do that very thing for my boys...he said it just felt like it had been laid on his heart. I told him I knew Who had laid it there. God is good.
So, while they're off having boy fun with a good Christian friend, I'm trying to get caught up on chores for the day. Today thus far I've written a check to a plumbing service, only to find that they didn't really fix my problem (they'll be back Monday for a do-over), called a garage door opener repair service, who's diagnosed that my circa-1979 opener is on its last legs (a new one to be installed on Monday), and ordered new tires to be put on my car next week. Amazing how much money one solitary homeowner can spend (or plan on spending) in one day. All of these items would've been "honey do's" for Mark before. Now it's my territory. I don't like it, but I'm doing it, and I will learn to do it as well as a left-handed girl from Western Kentucky can (Mark's apt description of me most anytime I attempted something new).
The boys went with me today to the grief counselor for the second time. I think he connects with them on their level, and he's coaxing them to talk about their feelings. I'm still the one doing most of the crying, but they are beginning to process the grief on their terms and in their timeframe.
Coming home from our first visit last week in the car, Ben said, "Mom, my heart feels different." I replied, "Ben, what do you mean?" Ben: "Jeff just made my heart feel different, I feel changed." Me: "In a good way?" Ben: "Well, duh, yeah Mom!" That was good enough for me. We need our hearts to feel different. We need to know that our God in heaven is using ordinary people in ordinary ways to meet our needs on extraordinary levels.
A young man feels led to spend quality time with my sons. A friend calls out of the blue, just to check in. She drives by, drops off her daughter as a babysitter, and lets me talk as we walk around Target, shopping for storage ottomans and clearance capris. A coworker of my husband's, that I've never met, but heard much about, emails me with stories about how his life has been changed for the better because of his friendship with Mark. A loving friend accompanies the three of us to the circus.
Folks I don't even know email & call me about my column in the paper. Friends we haven't seen in 10 years send me flowers, "just because". Moms of my preschoolers from last year call me, send me texts and cards, to tell me they are thinking of us & praying for us.
In the midst of all of this grief, God is still God, He is in control. And I feel darn lucky to have such a great network of Christian friends.