Monday, February 28, 2011

Blessings, Past and Present

Blessings, Past and Present

It has been quite some time since I last wrote for this space, but I wanted to alert those who still check in from time to time that one or more of my children may be reflecting in this spot next Thursday, March 3, the third anniversary of the passing from death to life of their mother and my wife of 31 plus years, dear sweet Linda Faile Talley.

I cannot tell you how many times I have been told that I must be one of the most fortunate men alive to have been blessed first, with Linda, and now, with Alison! Like father, like son, I suppose – my dad has been equally blessed with my mother, Bobbie Griffin Talley, and with his current wife, Patricia Keith Talley. My father, who lives with dementia, is blessed, along with our entire family, by the most incredibly caring wife you could imagine. One of the last pieces of his mind to slip was his recognition of the beautiful blessing that Patricia is to him. Even now, he longs to see her every day as the final chapters of his life play out in a rest home. He is not disappointed, for Patricia is well known to all at Senter’s Rest Home, located about a mile from her home.

This life is hard, is it not? There are so many ways of looking at difficult circumstances, such as asking “Why me?” or “Why not me?” Those are questions that my dear friends, David and Pam Carson ask as David lives the last days of his life (barring a miracle from our God, Who is, indeed, capable, but may not heal, in His sovereign will) with the same tumor – Glioblastoma Multiforme – that Linda had. Another of my close friends, Mark Poindexter, had surgery last week to remove a brain tumor. We know that it is malignant, but we do not know the grade, yet. Please pray for Mark and Kim, and their daughters, Lauren (with husband, James Peavy) and Sarah. Oh, we do hope and pray that Mark’s tumor is more manageable!

So, why would I speak of blessings in the title? Well, because alongside of God’s sovereignty, in equal measure, is His goodness! Evidences of His grace and mercy are everywhere, even in crises, but sometimes his goodness shouts to those who are listening! Do you think David Carson and Mark Poindexter are aware of His goodness in the beautiful, loving families that God has given them? Absolutely! Am I aware of my own blessings that far, far exceed anything I remotely deserve in Linda and Alison? Without question! I told Alison recently that in the center of many painful realities of this existence, my “lows” are considerably higher than they were a few years ago, and much higher on the chart than they would be without her. She blesses me with 100% support and encouragement at the same level that Linda did. Amazing! Is my primary hope in Jesus? Of course! And He sustained me as I endured loneliness at a level that I did not think possible because of the loss of life and love from one of God’s most incredible human beings of our time, and wouldn’t you know it, He brought blessing back to me in an equally beautiful and valuable package, though of a different nature (personality, past experiences, etc.) altogether.

I had not intended to write nearly this much – I had only intended to alert you to a coming post on Thursday – but since I am on a roll . . . When you marry for the second time, it can be quite a delicate proposition to speak of your previous spouse. Not so in our house! We both recognize and believe with all of our hearts that God is sovereign and God is good. Alison has never once shown the slightest hint of discomfort (jealousy is not even on the radar in the slightest form) when I speak of Linda. In fact, Alison has often asked my children and me about Linda. You may think it odd, but we went to Rome, Georgia this past Thanksgiving to be with Linda’s parents and all of her siblings and their families. What an awesome time it was for all of us! Was it awkward? No! Linda’s family is one of the most incredible, caring group of men, women, and children you will ever meet, and they welcomed Alison graciously into “the family.” Was it difficult? Certainly! It was painful for all of us to remember Linda so poignantly in that setting.

As we drove away from Rome, Alison was unusually quiet (that is not a jab – I talk at least as much as she does!). After a bit, I noticed that she was crying. I asked why, of course, and she said that she had always known that the cost had been high for the two of us to be together, but she felt the emotions of the entire family together at a level she had not experienced to that point. Blessings, past and present!

Well, I could go on, but I had better stop. If you have read this far, I would encourage you to get a life! Just kidding! Thank you!!! and, PLEASE return on Thursday to read the children’s (one may speak for all) words of praise and tribute to the beautiful, lovely lady who pointed others to Jesus, Linda Faile Talley.