i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart) …
e. e. cummings
Thanks to Sarah Thebarge, author of The Invisible Girls, for encouraging me to ask this question: “What stories do I carry with me in my heart today?”
What If It Was The Last?
Last. A word that usually carries more negatives than positives. A time we’re rarely prepared for. A place where we often don’t want to find ourselves. For whatever reasons. Much deeper than the bottom of the chip bag or ice cream container.
As I was driving home from work the other day, God began to nudge me about the lasts in my life. I won’t give you the expected top 10. Just a few random memories of lasts that combined to make me who I am today.
Last day of work as a legal assistant. After years of dreaming of a career as a writer, I finally took the leap. No, not from the top of this tall building. But I have to admit that my co-workers at one of the top law firms in Phoenix, Arizona, were sure I was doing something just about as daring (and crazy)!
That leap was the turning point that turned my work life around. Since then, I’ve enjoyed the blessings of working as a writer for nonprofits, Christian music artists, broadcasting industries, higher education, and even AOL when it was just getting started. Only God.
Last meal together. I’m remembering the lunchtime conversation my husband Gene and I shared just minutes before he passed away. Something about Diet Coke and kidney dialysis. Still makes me sad. Still wish I would have poured that Diet Coke and served it to him with a smile.
Last box. I lived in the same house for 18 years with my parents. Then I moved out. Moved on. Packed boxes and moved to 13 new addresses. Each place never really felt like home until the last box was unpacked, unfolded, and put out in the trash.
Last laugh. With my friend Sally. Every time we were together, we laughed. Sometimes irreverently. Sometimes at the other’s expense. Sometimes just because we couldn’t help ourselves.
The last thing Sally and I laughed about together was jukeboxes. How we had to find some quarters so we could play our favorite songs. There was no jukebox nearby, and we were fresh out of quarters that day. But we still laughed. She died just a few weeks later.
Last drive. Once upon a time, I drove a fun red car. It was more than transportation. It was the first car I chose and bought on my own. With my vanity license plate “LVWRDS.” It took me many places. This car took me into the life of a widowed preacher and his three teenagers. And I had to trade it in for a minivan. That last drive on a country road in Oklahoma was fast and tear-filled. And necessary.
Last word in the last letter. The man I was sure I was going to marry turned out not to be sure about me at all. He told me on Valentine’s Day. He knew he wasn’t the right man for me, but I didn’t want to know that. I tried to accept the reality, but I failed miserably. My broken heart took many months to mend. Then I made a series of not-so-great relationship choices, trying to feel loved again. Just when my life was beginning to unravel, we reconnected. He wrote me a letter, and we were planning to get together. Just to bring closure to our troubled past. The last word in his letter? Love. He died a few months later. Before we could meet one last time.
Last stitch. When I’m making a quilt, the last stitch is the best stitch! If it weren’t for the encouragement of my sister Barb and my cousin Jane, I wouldn’t have had the patience to sew even one stitch. With their help, I made a quilt for each of my five grandchildren plus one for myself. That’s something I never could have imagined doing. Funny what love can do.
I could go on and on. I’ve lived for quite a while, you know. And your list of lasts will be much different than mine.
The bottom line: Sometimes we know when it’s the last. Sometimes we don’t. So live your life with joy. Expectancy. Openness. Adventure. Dreams. Farewells. Treasure each person God sends into your life. Give openly of yourself to each one. Blessings await.
Laura Warfel is a widow, writer, and follower of Jesus Christ. Her greatest joy is to bring others along with her on her faith journey. In 2015, because of the encouragement of the Launch Out Conference and Jon Acuff, she launched More Than A Widow on Facebook and Twitter. Today she blogs, tweets, and posts to help widows (and those who know them) find encouragement, hope, and resources for the journey. Her goal is to help all widows live beyond the label and live as more than a widow.
Copyright © 2017 by Laura Warfel