For twenty-eight years, Sam was in and out of my house all day long. In the early years, he did everything for me. He took care of the farm and livestock, bush hogged, mowed the grass, changed light bulbs, took out my garbage, and got the mail out of my mail box. My newspaper was by the coffeepot when I went downstairs in the morning.
Sam literally did everything. He made my life possible.
I didn't hesitate when I bought a high-maintenance dog, because I knew he would walk Maggie three or four times a day while I was at work. He'd take care of her and Mamie (my second high-maintance dog) when I went out of town.
He slowed down over the last few years. By early summer, Sam could no longer walk the dogs. By July, he couldn't get Ensure out of the refrigerator, but he could still answer questions about how to do things.
Now, he's gone and I'm trying to figure out how to do things for myself.
It's strange and feels as if my life has been turned upside down. I've never locked my doors because I knew Sam would be in and out repeatedly. Now, I'm diligent about the deadbolts and the chain locks. I'm looking at security systems, considering electronic gates.
Because Sam was in and out all day long, I was always fully dressed. I've never had a "pajama day" or changed into pj's early. This past Sunday, it was cold and I was tired. I thought about getting ready for bed early but hesitated because of Sam. It hit me like a brick. Sam wouldn't be coming over. I changed into sleep pants and a t-shirt just after 5 pm, but it felt strange and oddly wrong.
Last night, it was dark when I turned into my driveway after church. A light was on in "Sam's house." For an instant, I thought, "Sam's still up." Just as quickly, I remembered. I'd left the light on myself.
My normal's been disrupted. I'm looking for the new normal, but I haven't found it yet.
I've told myself this isn't grief, but maybe it is. I don't wish Sam were back. He's in a much better place and he's no longer sick or suffering. I do, however, grieve the life I've lost.
The life I knew isn't coming back. I keep reminding myself of this, and that I need to figure it out. I know it will take more than a week to find normal again, and it won't be the same. As much as I hate to admit it, the old life is gone for good.
A new life is coming, and it's going to be good, too. I feel fragile and weak and uncertain right now. Six months from now, I'll have learned to bush hog, ground the leaves, made it through a winter on my own, and (hopefully) kept the pipes from freezing and the animals fed and watered.
A year from now, I'll feel safe again.
Today, though, I'm hanging on to the truth I know. My faith never rested in Sam, although I depended on him for so much. My faith is in God alone.
I'm not tough enough for this new place in life, but My God is more than able. I read the words of Paul this morning and grabbed on to them.
"And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.'" Most gladly therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.'" 2 Corinthians 12:9 nasb
I'm not to the "boasting" part, but I have the weakness part down pat. For now, I'm counting on His power and looking forward to the day His power dwells in me.
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: A Few Good Surprises