I sat in the backyard, slowly pushing my legs to make the swing sway. The warm sun beat down on my face as I watched my husband’s childhood dog run back and forth, chasing after some imaginary adversary. For the most part the world was quiet as I sat and soaked in this experience. This experience of staying in my husband’s childhood home. Yes, we’ve visited this home before. But with him gone, the experience was quite different. His footprints were everywhere, from the artwork in the guestroom, complete with his handprints, to the bookshelves on the walls that he once built. Even his self-portrait in the hallway reminds me that I’m staying in a house filled with memories of his voice, his footsteps, his touch. It makes him feel so close. It’s a wonderfully lonely feeling, one I both love and hate.
During our visit, it would have been easy to dwell in the immense loneliness that such memories bring. Instead, I took to heart some verses that my husband shared with me shortly before Thanksgiving:
“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:8, HCSB).
Moment by moment I chose to dwell on everything true and lovely about this Thanksgiving. I chose to look at all of the blessings right around me, extended family that has accepted me as their own, a husband that loves me, a beautiful daughter growing strong. These are all of the truths in my life. These are the things I chose to focus on each and every day.