I sit on the porch, a light rain serenading me in the background. As the cool breeze caresses my face, I can't help but think of you. I don't know who loved rainy weather more - you or me. The fact that we loved it together, one of God's sweetest blessings.
It rained yesterday afternoon, too. I can't remember a Spring quite like this one ever before - cool, comfortable days, followed by even cooler nights. And, this rain. Here, in the desert. Here in May. Definitely, not the norm.
But, then again - since you've been gone, nothing seems to be normal. Most of the "no longer normals" have been hard to welcome into my life, but not this rain. I sit here on the patio and breathe it in deep. Then, I breathe it in deep again. It it precious refreshment to my parched heart. And yes, if I think about you not here enjoying it with me, it can bring tears. But, for some reason, these rain-induced tears seem to have a cleansing touch to them.
I think back to so many other rainy nights of the past. Me, here on the patio. You, just on the other side of our sliding glass door, seated in your favorite chair, watching a good game of hoops or enjoying a show all about elk. As the rain would pitter-patter, and my body would start to unwind, I couldn't help but call out to you.
"It's SOOOOOOO beautiful, Handsome. SO very beautiful out here. Love the rain!"
And your reply, (each and every single time)
"Enjoy, Baby! Enjoy!"
And, it hits me - for the first time in 104 days - that in your absence, enjoy has not been what I have been doing. In fact, I have been doing everything but enjoying.
I've been crying, trying, struggling and wallowing.
I've been hating, debating, flip-flopping and questioning.
I've been wondering, replaying, avoiding, and wrestling.
I've been remembering, forgetting, reliving, and rearranging.
Nope, it didn't even come close to making the list.
And, it hits me - for the first time in 104 days - that me not enjoying, would break your heart. Because, most of your enjoyment was a direct result of my enjoyment. It delighted your heart to know I was enjoying something. Big enjoyment. Little enjoyment. Mediocre enjoyment. It didn't matter. If I enjoyed it, you enjoyed the fact that I did.
"104 days, Beautiful? You've let 104 precious days, filled to overflowing with opportunities for enjoyment, slip right by?" As this thought - words I can almost hear you saying - penetrates my heart, I can see the look on your face, and yes, who could help but see, the shake of your head.
"I know, Handsome. I know. But, . . ."
"Uh huh. Nope. You've got nothing to say, Beautiful. No reason to justify your total lack of enjoyment. Maybe you need to get up from your seat on the patio and head inside the house and over to the door leading out to the garage."
I know exactly where you would be going with this line of thought, if indeed you were here with me. I know all too well what is waiting for me to re-discover on our garage door.
That yellow sticky note has been there greeting me each and every time I go out into our garage for as long as I can remember. And, you're right. (I know me admitting that would spark that cute look you always seemed to get when you were right, and I knew it.)
Joy. It is a choice. And, it is one of the precious fruit of the Spirit. Tucked in with love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control is joy. Second in line, matter of fact. And yet, with each precious fruit given by the Holy Spirit, it is up to me to yield, to surrender, to choose to allow this fruit to grow and rule in my heart and life. It is a choice - my choice.
Joy - like all the other fruit - is an all-season fruit. It is capable of being present in my life no matter the season I may find myself in. Spring - joy. Summer - joy. Fall - joy. Winter - joy. It is there to be discovered in the all of my life.
Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. ~James 1:2-4
And, I remember the words written in red, penned by you, my love. "Your choices determine your destiny and happiness. Choose to be thankful. Choose to be joyful."
It is this choosing joy - no matter the season, no matter the circumstance, no matter the situation - that eventually, as God works out His perfect will in my life, leads me to be complete, lacking nothing. It is this choosing joy - no matter how I feel, no matter how I don't feel - that eventually will lead me to my God-given destiny and true happiness found in and through Christ Jesus, my Lord.
As the rain quiets and the hush of the night closes in, I want so much to call out to you from here on the patio to where I wish you were sitting on the other side of our sliding glass door, "It's SOOOOOOO beautiful, Handsome. SO very beautiful out here!"
And, I realize the choice I have to make now is this: Will I choose to go 105 days without enjoying?
"Enjoy, Baby! Enjoy!"
And, with tears streaming down my face, my only appropriate response is this: "I will, Handsome. I will."
If only I could tell you. If only I could.
(Sharing the latest post from my new blog, If Only I Could.)