Giving Thanks…for the oddest things

In the moments after Michael died I remember laying in bed next to his body and, while my heart was breaking in two, I remember thinking that someday I would praise God for our sufferings and his death. If not in this life, then in the next. For I knew His ways are not my ways.

Yes, it sounds odd. It sounds odd even as I write it down.

Through the grieving and longing and purifications of this past year and almost a half since he died, praise has been woven through the tears. Actually, I find myself praising at the oddest of moments…moments when I am in the darkest of nights, moments when the pain is too great to bear.

Perhaps this could be seen as a coping mechanism. Perhaps shock. But in knowing life through my 38 years living it, there is something more than those things, as real as coping mechanisms and shock are.

The something more is a knowing beyond comprehension that God is good. And that He only wills what is for our salvation.

It is easy to take those two truths for granted. To use them as platitudes and then, when the rubber meets the road and husbands die, we murmur and tantrum to try and get the attention of the One who allowed it all to happen. To make Him see “what He did to us” because how in the world could this be good?

I’ve murmured. I’ve tantrumed. But I’ve also praised Him in the midst of Michael’s death.

I’ve praised because God deemed this necessary for the salvation of Michael, myself, and our children.

I’ve praised because I see but through a dim glass and soon face-to-face.

I’ve praised because we’ve encountered God, the ultimate longing in each of our hearts, in ways that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

None of this praising takes away the suffering. None of it makes the cross lighter.

But it does turn the cross into an instrument of goodness and salvation. And peace.

“Mom, I’m so sad that dad died but I’m also so happy for him.” The kids find moments of praise, too.

As we approach Thanksgiving, the concept of being thankful is at the forefront of each of our minds. In this tumultuous time of life upheavals and world upheavals it’s difficult to cling to the things we usually are grateful for. Maybe some of those things have been shaken and sifted.

And yet we can still find praise.

We can shift our earthly understanding to the heavenly one. For, in the light of heaven, we will see as He does. The story, finished…the tapestry, complete. Each moment of His will played out day to day will make sense and, if we remain close to Him on earth, we will praise Him for each of those moments forever, in heaven.

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  1. Jennifer Holley on November 25, 2021 at 1:08 am

    I have done the exact same thing. My husband died from glioblastoma on Sept. 12, 2018. He was 42. I can remember thanking God for bringing us closer to Him because of the diagnosis, even as he was sick and we struggled to get to Mass 30-45 minutes early to snag a handicap parking spot and pew. I still thank God for everything He has given me, including the experience of being a widow. It’s the strangest thing. I just don’t know that I would be where I am now in my relationship with God without everything we went through. It is truly amazing all the blessings I have received since he died. I feel like he must be constantly praying for me.

  2. Katie Heath on November 25, 2021 at 2:40 am

    So beautiful. So true. It is in the darkest times, if we cling to that Holy Cross, that we will be made new. Maybe not how we want to be made new, but new just the same. And, we will become more like Him. Always my prayer, to be more and more like Him.

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