A widow friend shared with me yesterday that she desperately misses having conversations with her husband. I knew him as an intelligent man, who listened carefully to others and spoke with wisdom. So I could certainly understand her heartache. “Sharing with friends is good, but they are not always around,” she said. I agreed with her. Our husbands were companions with whom we could discuss ideas or air those “just thinking” moments that were even off the wall. We might get a raised eyebrow, a teasing comment, or comical laugh, but they were listening even at the most inopportune moments.
My friends are fabulous; our conversations are uplifting, encouraging, insightful. I sincerely appreciate every one of them and don’t know what I would do without them. But I don’t make breakfast on Saturday morning in my pjs with them while we discuss the national news. I don’t invite them to my home, ask them to bring a book or a magazine to read while I also enjoy reading and just feel comfortable in their presence without a word passing between us. As much as we love and trust our friends, sometimes it’s not even appropriate to share personal family details or our children’s needs that we would have shared with our husbands.
I’m not sure I would describe this part of widowhood as loneliness, but it’s certainly a new state of being with different parameters, guidelines, and limitations. The adjustments seem to magnify our loss.
So what do we do? How do we compensate?
I know no other answer than to ask the Lord to fill those empty holes in our lives and help us to be content in this new state. This does not come overnight or without mistakes. Many years ago as a new widow, I expected too much from a friend and almost lost that relationship.
Talk to the Lord as a friend about everything. You don’t need to be concerned about framing your words properly or using just the right phrase. Tell Him if you’re angry or disappointed. Share with Him your questions, concerns, sadness, joys, and achievements. Then listen for His response, His answer, His still, small voice. He may guide you to a particular Scripture or bring to your mind one that you have memorized. This may sound crazy to you, but after going through an especially difficult time of struggle, I sensed the Holy Spirit saying, I’m proud of you. During a different challenging time, I sensed the Lord saying, Do you trust Me? The Lord does know how to speak to us.
I cannot explain how the God of the Universe can listen to each of us as we pour out our hearts to Him. But His abilities are beyond our comprehension. As Scripture teaches us, He is the all-powerful, all-knowing God, full of wisdom and understanding. He knows our needs even before we ask. Bringing our concerns to Him does not deplete or frustrate Him, or drain His energy. We honor Him though our constant conversations with Him.
I’ve been reminded lately of that wonderful Scripture in Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your on understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”