To go through a new door, one must close another — this is one of the bittersweet parts of the grief journey. I’m trying a new approach though…keeping the door of the past open at least vicariously through my children! I know, it’s cheating, but at least it helped me get through what is a big step in my life.
I bought a condo…all by myself (with the help of a fantastic realtor and the Lord, of course). It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever done in my life without Raouf, and it wasn’t easy. However, the Lord is so good and knows what grief walkers can handle. For me, he allowed me to make the initial decision and then have a few months before actually closing to work up something like excitement (I wouldn’t go that far, though) about the actual change. I still cried today…not in the 10 minutes it took me to sign the paperwork, but when my fantastic realtor walked in carrying a gift for me (see the card in the picture for this post).
Today, as I was in the house alone and trying to see what the key actually fit, I was standing at my front door when my sister comes up. God is good to give us the right person to make us smile and know everything will be alright. Her excitement for me helped, and I used the rest of my nervous energy to start attacking plants in the small garden patio until my son arrived. The best part was standing with him in my empty living room and praying for this new place — like so many places before, that God would bless it, protect it and use it as a place of peace and rest for all who enter. Raouf and I prayed that prayer for all our “dwellings”, so I wasn’t going to stop now.
The renovation process will allow me more transition time, but as I watched my son hang a new light fixture this weekend (since I’m taking the ones I want), I realized that my old house was becoming just that…my old house. Another place in the history of our family full of wonderful memories, but no longer full of the one with whom I most loved sharing it. Now, it would serve as a new beginning for my son and his bride-to-be, and they would make it “home” for as long as the Lord saw fit.
When we moved to Lebanon in the 90s, it was a land of exile for me. I longed to return to Syria and her people, but we could not. God used my favorite prophet to give me words of encouragement to help me adjust to that new place we had to call “home” for a season:
This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:4-7)
I heeded those words in Beirut, and I would heed them now and allow a new door to be opened in my life. This home of my exile will not have many of the special touches only Raouf Ghattas could add, but it will still have him, as I carry him in pictures and furniture he’s made. It will be different, but it will be good, and God will help me to plant myself there to His glory.
Maybe that’s the source of the saying, “Grow where you’re planted.” I’ll plant, and watch Him bring the increase.
Grace and Peace