Words fail me.
They never use to. Words were always my friend. They had my back. Even when sometimes they were a bit unrefined, impulsive, sharp- they were there.
Over the past few weeks words have been hit or miss with me. Sometimes my mind is loud, the words are clear. But some days they betray me. They hide.
They hid when the funeral director said, “Tell me a little bit about your husband.”
They hid when the insurance company asked me for his date of birth.
They hid when I first awoke to an empty home.
They still hide sometimes, some hours, some moments. And though everything in me says to fight it, I think I’m going to let them hide a bit. They’ll come back to me. They always do.
On October 12, just a week and a half ago, I faced a day that I feared for four years. And yes, it was as bad as I imagined. Saying goodbye to my husband was excruciating. Saying goodbye to my best friend was even worse. But saying goodbye to the dreams, the hope, the future we clung to in order to breathe every day- that was the hardest of all. I wanted a forever with him. I demanded it. But life doesn’t always bend and break at your demand.
Andrew had goals. Andrew and I had dreams. That’s what happens in marriage. He stopped having his own dreams, and I stopped having mine. We dreamed together because that’s what you do when you’re one.
I dreamed of his life and he dreamed of mine. But one day the dreams shifted. One day we both stopped talking about big houses and Range Rovers. One day we started talking about the kingdom.
We wanted our dreams to align with our maker’s. We wanted God to dream with us, through us, rather than it being the other way around. But we still forced, demanded, pleaded.
And I think He will dream through us- just not quite in the way we wanted.
A few weeks ago, when things started to get pretty ugly, I decided that I don’t really like this place. You’re not really allowed to say that. People tend to hide your sharp objects and call a shrink when you say things like that.
Eyes off my Cutco knives- just hear me out.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about pain. I wrote about how it connects us to each other, how everyone has this pain story, and that pain story finds some kind of connection to your own pain story. But what I didn’t say is- when I hear these stories, your stories, I hurt for you, I connect to you, but I also dislike this place a little more.
I dislike this place that gives and takes.
I dislike a world where sometimes love isn’t enough, sometimes prayers aren’t answered the way we want, and sometimes everything hurts. It just hurts.
I dislike a place where good people experience bad things.
There are moments, moments in my story, moments in the stories I hear from you, where I sit back and I think about how much I don’t like a lot of the things around me.
I don’t really like this place. And I’m not supposed to.
I don’t want to spend forever here. And I’m not supposed to.
This isn’t something culture allows us to say, but damn it, I’m saying it, because quite frankly, I think I am healthier here in a world that has nothing more to take from me than I was in a world where I had everything I could have wanted. I am healthier when I live in a world that I don’t mind leaving one day than I was when I had every reason to want to stay here forever.
Nine days ago Satan pulled the only card he had left on me. He finally played the card that he used to manipulate me in fear for the past four years. He played it, and I’m shattered. My heart has a constant ache. I am weepy and weary. I am broken. I am angry. I am confused, and I am fearless.
My soul no longer carries the weight of the fear that has burdened me from that first diagnoses.
No one tells you that there is so much power in losing the thing you care about most in the world. There is so much power when Satan no longer holds any cards over your life. No one tells you that because no one wants to hear it. No one can bear the thought of it. But then it happens and your only choice is to live it. If you knew my husband, then you know that my only choice is to live it well.
So let it be.
From a world perspective, Andrew left a lot of goals on table. He left a lot of dreams unlived. But I know my husband’s soul better than I know my own, and I know that at the end he had one goal. Every single micro-goal revolved around this one giant plan.
Toward the end, my husband’s single goal in life was to hear the words, “Well done, my good a faithful servant.”
I have no doubt that this was achieved.
So let that be my goal. Let that be your goal.
I challenge you to seek how your goals in life might play into that. I challenge you to honor Andrew by seeking the kingdom rather than the earthly rewards. I challenge you to ask God to dream through you rather than it being the other way around.
I challenge you to live your life with the sole purpose of hearing those words that my husband heard a little over a week ago.
I’m going to take a short break from this blog, a little sabbatical to organize this mess of words in my head, and to find where a lot of them are hiding. But I’m a word person, so they’ll be back, and I’ll be back.
They say that if a writer falls in love with you, then you can never truly die.
What an honor it will be to keep Andrew Jordan Luetkehans alive for as long as I have breath.
Well done, Hans. Well done.