So much for an exciting 3 day "hip hop partyin'" weekend. That's how Mark would describe any weekend where we had an extra day off. And more often than not, with Mark it was a non-stop partying weekend, fun stuff going on most all the time.
Initial plans for a trip to Kansas were nixed, as Andrew told me he wasn't ready to be at the farm "without Daddy." Since I told them that we would make major decisions like this, the three of us together, I added in my vote, as well. I'm not ready to be at the farm without Daddy, either. We'll maybe try again next month.
Glad we didn't travel, since Ben boy came home with a fever Friday night & headed to bed for a 2 hour nap. That's so unlike our Benny, I knew something was up. He fought fever and coughing all weekend, so I took him to the doctor this morning. Bronchitis is the diagnosis, for both of us, actually. Mark would love the fact that we got a "2 for 1" at the clinic as the pediatrician listened to my chest and prescribed antibiotics for me as well. All for the low price of one co-pay, $25 :)
Poor Andrew, he's been so good to help take care of his brother, even helping cool him down with ice & cold compresses on more than one occasion this weekend. We've tried two nights to get to the cinema to watch "Real Steel", but Ben's afternoon fevers have put the brakes on those plans. Andrew broke down & cried this afternoon, as Ben's temp spiked back up. I think everything is a bit more emotional for all of us, so I let him cry as long as he needed to. Crying is healing, whether over spilt milk, modified plans, or missing a loved one.
As I waited for Andrew in the car during his guitar lesson, I did some praying and soul-searching. In my mind, I kept coming back to a weekly image of Mark, every Sunday morning in church. As we'd stand for the benediction, he would open his hands upward, placing them on the back of the pew in front of us, in sort of a cupped position. He would hold his head up high, eyes closed, smiling like he was taking in the warmth of a beautiful summer's day. At the end, he'd give a robust "Amen" along with the pastor. It was almost like he was "drinking in" the warmth of the Savior to help him as he left to prepare for his always-busy week. Even if we were holding hands, he'd drop my hand to do this.
Then I thought of my journey since losing him. I haven't been looking up towards my God with hands totally open, like my husband did. My hands have been clenched, even if just a tiny bit, to keep from putting everything at God's feet. Don't know why I'm doing it....okay, yes I do......I like to be in control. As Mark would tease, "So, how's that working for you, sweetie?" And I would have to admit, not so well.
So today, I sat in the parking lot of Great Neck Guitars in Wichita Falls, Texas, and cried out to God to forgive me for holding back. I told Him that I was opening up my hands, letting everything fall out of them, so He can work His ways in me. Giving Him 80, 90, even 95 percent isn't enough. He requires all 100%. And as smart as I'd like to think that I am, I'm not smart enough or wise enough or savvy enough to walk through this mess without turning all my worries over to Him.
And when I'm tempted to hold back, to worry about one or two little things I cannot control, like what we're going to do for the upcoming holidays, or what to do with my bird dog, or where God wants us to live in the next few years.....I will consciously think of that sweet image of the man I loved for over half of my life, holding his hands open to God and receiving His full blessing. Maybe THAT'S why he had such confidence and calm with whatever life dealt him (us), even up to the end of his life. Because he wasn't afraid of dying, he was only afraid of leaving us behind.
His being afraid of leaving us behind is all the incentive I need. I will keep my hands open, because I know he's watching over us. And I don't want to disappoint him. His family will remain intact, whole, and be happy again, eventually. With outstretched open hands, I ask for it, expectantly.