Our lives were forever changed the day we lost Corey. He was an amazing man who loved the Lord and his family with all that he was. The pain of losing him is like no other. Our only comfort comes from knowing we will see him again someday.

I have moved the slideshow played at Corey's service to it's own post page above, titled "Corey's Memorial Service - August 10, 2010"

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Saturday, February 5, 2011

11+ years and heading for an eternity together...

     Many of you know that Corey and I were married the day after Christmas.  December 26th, 1998. We would have celebrated 12 years this year.  I appreciate that so many of you were praying for me that day and the days surrounding Christmas and our anniversary. I've had people ask me about how the day went and I wanted to take some time to tell you about how I spent it this year. It's taken me a while to put my thoughts together...
     Typically we marked our anniversaries with a night or two away, without the kids of course.  For many of our anniversaries we were in Vermont for the Christmas holiday, so we would find someplace local for an overnight stay.  A couple of years we stayed at a beautiful Bed and Breakfast in Ashland, NH called The Glynnhouse Inn.  All the suites are decorated differently but most of them have fireplaces and a corner hot tub next to the bed! One year Corey and I watched a movie (they have a DVD library) on the flat screen TV while hot tubbing with the fire crackling (okay, no crackling...it was a gas fireplace)...it was perfect!  What made the place even better was that The Common Man restaurant is right down the road.  This was one of our favorite restaurants for special occasions.  For those of you who are Vermonters, The C-Man, as they call it, is very similar to Fire and Ice in Middlebury. Corey usually treated himself to the prime rib. Some thoughtful person anonymously had one of the Common Man mugs mailed to me from their company store (gift shop) recently. Thank you for this whoever you are :) It was a really nice surprise that brought back sweet memories.  The C-Man store is located across the street from the restaurant (only at the Ashland location).  Corey and I would browse through it either before or after our meal. They sell lots of neat things and I could never seem to get out of there without making a purchase.
     Well, I had no idea how I was going to spend the 26th this year without Corey until just a week or so before the date. I knew I wanted to do something special to mark the day but figured I would just end up doing whatever...that it would be much like any other day. I really did not want to just brush over our anniversary. I felt like it would only be right to celebrate what Corey and I had for those 11+ years. I wanted to honor his memory and have time to reflect on all the good times we had together. So, the thought entered my mind that perhaps I would try to find someplace I could go by myself (bookstore, coffee house, etc) to just have some quiet time to think. The 26th fell on a Sunday so I was guessing that there wouldn't be a lot of places open very late that evening. Then I started thinking that I'd really like to have an entire night away, by myself...no kids. I ended up making a reservation at a hotel right in Burlington where Corey and I had actually stayed for our very first anniversary. I thought, how fitting that I would spend my first anniversary without him at the same place we spent our first anniversary together. Some of you may be thinking I'm a little crazy. You need not worry.  As I've mentioned before, going to places we've been together and doing things we did brings me comfort and helps me move through my grief. I know not everyone grieves this way but it seems to be working for me :)
     As usual, I planned too much for too short a period of time. I wanted to take time to reminisce over the almost 2 decades that I knew Corey, ponder goals for the new year, have some quiet time to just sit before God, and get a bunch of new stuff published on my blog, oh, and also finish a scrapbook album summarizing our 11 years of marriage.  Talk about unrealistic expectations. :) I really tried to pack light and consolidate but if you had seen me coming through the hotel lobby with all my bags, you would have thought I was staying a week.  Very little of the above actually happened but that was okay.  I tried to just let myself relax and do whatever I felt led to do.  I went away for the night really expecting God to show up.  I spent a good amount of time at the start of the evening in prayer asking him to bless my time 'away' and to direct me in how the time should be spent. I was really praying that I would come away with some good reminders of Corey's love for me. I read some scripture and listened to some music. It didn't seem like I had any "revelations" from God that night.  By the next morning I was kind of a little disappointed. I really was hoping to have something "big" to share with you on my blog ;-)  However, when I look at the bigger picture...the week leading up to Christmas as a whole, I can see that God did show up, just not in the ways I was looking for or at the times I was expecting. Another lesson in the fact that God works on his own terms. This can be hard to accept sometimes, but I remind myself that I can be thankful He doesn't operate on my human timetable since I know his timing is far better than mine...it's perfect! I just wish it could feel perfect all the time but then I wouldn't need to trust Him. I also came away a little disappointed that I didn't have more written reminders of Corey's love to hold on to. I was much more of a writer than Corey was (hence the blog...go figure!) I had brought along with me what I managed to grab of letters and cards we had exchanged through our years of being together. Not surprisingly there were many more of my letters to him than vice versa. What was even more disappointing was that I knew there were letters/cards from him to me that weren't in the stack I managed to pack. I came away feeling a little sad about this and so I sat down to intentionally think and list memories that I had to hold onto that spoke of his love for me. Those memories while many, seem like so little to hold onto.
    I thought back to a few nights prior when I had been reading in a book on the grief process.  In the last chapter of the book the author shared a bit about his wife's death from cancer and how he dealt with his own grief in the aftermath.  He says, "You see, I believe I haven't seen the last-- or the best-- of Joan. One day I will finish my journey on earth as she did, and as I stand before God, there she will be too, only better than I ever remembered her-- radiating the glory and goodness of God who made and loves us all. Then, I believe, I'll understand completely for the first time what love really is. I'll see how our love for each other on earth is but a reflection of the real thing." Part of a verse kept coming to my mind that next day but I just couldn't recall the entire verse or the reference.  It was something about, "now I know in part, then will I fully know..."  After some searching (that night of our anniversary while at the hotel) I was able to figure out it was found in 1 Corinthians chapter 13- you know the one...all about love.  In my memory, I can still hear Corey's dad Richard reading these verses at our wedding ceremony. Verse 12 says, "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." The counselor I saw for many weeks encouraged me when she told me, "Corey's love for you is perfect and complete now" (now that he is in heaven).  The love for me that he once knew in part is now fully known as he stands face to face with God and reflects God's love perfectly. One day I will know and experience fully Corey's perfect love for me and he will experience my perfect love for him.
      In my loneliness of missing Corey, I am trying to allow God and not other things to fill the gaping hole in my heart.  I am reading a book called, Heaven, by Randy Alcorn.  The book explores the topic of Heaven as described by God's word, the Bible. When I first got a hold of a copy of the book I jumped right to the section 3/4 of the way through that discusses relationships in heaven and what they will be like.  It addresses the question of whether or not there will be marriage in heaven.  Alcorn, using Bible verses for support, basically says, yes, there will be marriage in heaven. There will be one marriage between Christ and his bride (the church- the body of believers). Citing Ephesians 5:31-32, Alcorn says, "Paul (the apostle Paul who wrote the book of 1 Corinthians) links human marriage to the higher reality that it mirrors: "For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh---but I am talking about Christ and the church." Again, what we now know of marriage is but a "poor reflection" of what we will one day know as Christ's bride.  In my loneliness God has been impressing on my heart that I need to continue (probably moreso now in the absence of an earthly husband) to fall deeper in love with Christ.  I want to know what it would be like to experience as much love toward Christ as the love I have experienced for Corey.  I understand there is a difference between the spiritual and the physical dynamics of a relationship as well as there being different parts of love- love, the feeling and love, the action...but I sure would like to experience more here on earth of this perfect union that believers in Jesus will one day experience in heaven.
     As the girls and I were driving to the cemetery the morning before we were to leave for Christmas in VT, a song came on the radio with lyrics that matched these thoughts I had been having. It's called More like falling in love by Jason Gray. The basic gist of the song is that being a Christian is about having a relationship with Jesus Christ...not having a religion. I know a lot of people are wired to be more "logical than emotional" so falling in love with Jesus might not hold much appeal...Corey was much more into the "logic" side of what it meant to believe in Jesus...studying the Bible, history and the facts that supported the Truth that he clung to. I certainly agree these things are vitally important and as a way to honor Corey I hope in future posts to share some 'facts' that Corey clung to as he put his faith in Christ. He was always eager to share these kinds of things with anyone willing to listen.
     I mentioned that I listened to some music as I sat in the hotel room on our anniversary. I put in a Hillsong song title at pandora.com. If you're not familiar with pandora, it is really cool. You can listen to tons of free music. Basically you type in a song title or author that you like and the website creates your very own personal 'station' of songs that are similar to the one you told it you liked. I can't remember exactly the name of the song I put in, but it was one of the songs Corey really like to play on the drums. I wrote down the titles to some of the songs that it played for me and have added some of them to my playlist here on the blog. It's been time for some new music on here for a while! Well, I couldn't help but notice a theme with many of the songs being about God's great love for me and what my response of love should be for Him. I had my own private worship time that night. : ) Enjoy the new tunes!

2 comments:

  1. I had my music off until you wrote the last part...I turned it on and these are the words that played:
    I am not fit to understand, what God has willed, what God has planned...I only know at His right hand is one Who is my Savior.
    *deep sigh*
    love you Jill...You are a good help meet!

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  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Jill. I cried when I read your quote about "now I know in part, then I will fully know." There are a lot of things that (I am not skilled to understand) that I am looking forward to fully knowing in heaven. Being able to fully know the love of Christ, in heaven some day, just blows me away. I have been doing "A Woman's Heart, God's Dwelling Place" Bible study by Beth Moore & I've been just in awe of how God chose His people, set them apart & loved them, taking care of them, protecting them, and just His great desire to have a relationship with them...I have known God for a while, but I have truly been in awe of this love, and how HE would love ME. It hits straight to my heart every day. And the fact that that's just a poor reflection of the real thing...I am so excited to see what He really has for us for eternity! I am praying for you & the girls. Love, Beka :)

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