If you have been following my articles the last several years, you have been following my wife’s heart-transplant journey and how this event has impacted our lives. The journey continues, even after her death on Nov. 3.
The first two months after her passing, the pain was excruciating. I didn’t know how I was going to survive this devastating event. The care my family received from others was amazing, especially from so many in this wonderful town we call Salida. I could tell you story after story of how people loved on us and cared for us.
Sheri and I were married for 31 years, and I’m positive we would have made it another 31. For the last several of these years, Sheri dealt with many health issues. I did not realize how much I had slipped into the role as her primary caregiver. No longer being her caregiver, I’ve had to face many unique situations.
A time when this was very evident was when I took a trip to see my son and his family in Minnesota. When Sheri was still with me, we would get an escort from baggage check-in to our gate. Someone would push us to the front of the security lines and all the way to the gate.
Now that Sheri is no longer with me, I am starting at the back of the line. On this trip, I even had to sit between two people because I forgot to call the night before to check in.
This may seem a small thing, but getting on that airplane brought so many emotions out in me. I had to deal with many aspects of fear: the fear of being alone, the fear of being lonely, the fear of “Who am I now without her and who will I become without my Sheri by my side?”
I have learned that it is OK to experience fear in my life; the real question is what do I do with this fear? How do I choose to respond to the fear?
Do you remember the passage in which Jesus tells us not to worry (Matthew 6:25-34)? He says his Father cares even for flowers and birds, which are less important to him than we are. He concludes by reminding us to keep our attention on today: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.”
The children of Israel were hungry, they had no crops, and they were in the desert. Their former Egyptian slavery, even with meager rations, was starting to look better than freedom with starvation. So, they responded in classic human style, with grumbling and complaining. God counters with his characteristic holy style and, because of his grace, he feeds them with manna.
The manna he sent for them to eat did more than just feed them. It also taught them. First, it taught them to act on the grace God gave for the day by collecting the manna and enjoying it. Second, it taught them to trust him for tomorrow.
Every night they went to bed with empty cupboards. Every morning they woke up wondering whether the manna would be on the ground. Every morning it was.
The message is clear. Act on the grace God gives you today and wait confidently for the grace God will give tomorrow.
This is one of the tools God has given me in this very difficult journey. I still pray: “God, please give me the manna I need for today and help me to trust you with my tomorrow.”
The Rev. George Hill is care and discipleship pastor at Grace Church in Salida.