I’ve always loved Easter. When I first got a car in Israel, one of the first things I did was go to the garden tomb with some of my friends. That meant getting on the road at 3:30 or 4:00 am, but it was always so wonderful to be there early in the morning for sunrise services. In fact, that was one of the things I did with Rich when he visited me here in 2007. My god-children, their parents, and Rich and I went together… a very special time for all of us.
This year I celebrated, as I usually do in Israel, at the Garden Tomb with Cee the mother of my god-children, and two of my god-children (Yotam and Noa) and another friend. An amazing time of worship in the heart of Jerusalem, proclaiming for the whole world to hear, “HE IS RISEN INDEED!”
As the speaker focused on the sorrow of the disciples, whose lives had been changed after following Jesus for three years, it really hit me that the three years with Rich and my new family had irrevocably changed my life, and the grief became a lot more real to me somehow. For the first time, I let myself weep in the arms of a friend, as the waves of grief so unexpectedly hit me.
I have so struggled with the “only.” Wondering if I really had the right to grieve. Oh, I have grieved, but when people would share that they had been married for 10, 20, or 40 years when their spouse died, how did my grief compare to theirs? Rich’s and my time was so brief; I was “only” married three years…
I found a new release at the Garden Tomb as I pondered anew some amazing truths. The disciples had walked with Jesus for three years, and their lives were changed–forever. And God, who so graciously brought Rich into my life, took him to Himself. Yet my life too is now changed–forever. I will never be single/unmarried again. Now I am a widow. But that is not the end of the story.
Jesus was raised up from the dead; death does not have the final say. Death is not the end. No one can take from me the good things Rich and I shared, not even grief. And nothing can take from me the future God has promised through Jesus, not even death.