Life has a way of sending us curve balls which help to refine our thoughts, actions, and interests. We grow and change over time and sometimes, a momentous event changes everything in an instant.
I previously wrote about the sudden death of my father-in-law a few weeks ago. We lived 7-8 hours from one another so "close" isn't exactly how to define the relationship we shared. But he was intimately involved in my life in a once removed way. He and his son, my husband, spoke numerous times per week by phone. My husband trusted his dad like no other man in his life. He still revered and looked up to his dad, though he was well aware of his dad's faults also. So while we weren't extremely close in our relationship with one another, we were close through our connection to a man we both love. (I won't write in past tense about his love for his son because now his spirit lives where love reigns eternally.)
I found my ability to concentrate severely hampered in the first few days of being with family in Indiana. Part of it was caused by sleep deprivation, part by grief, and part of it from being constantly surrounded by people and conversation and things to do to help get ready for the memorial service. I mostly used my phone to respond to texts, check email, and answer the ones that were expressions of comfort and condolences to our family. What I found myself doing was deleting the many emails that come in daily. I subscribe to several blogs, some devoted to family and homeschooling, some about home decor, and some of a spiritual theme. I saved the homeschooling ones to be read when I could concentrate. I deleted the home decor blog posts thinking I would go back and look at them on the actual blogs when I was home again. Mostly, I read the spiritually themed blog posts and was amazed and encouraged at how God was speaking to me and our family in our grief. There were so many times when the blog I was reading spoke thoughts that had been expressed by one family member or another or by a friend in the same 24 hour period or they were just the words I needed to be able to cope with the day. For instance, two days after my father-in-law's death and after our arrival, the (in)courage blog had an article titled "How to make it through a tidal wave" and it just calmed my fears and grief perfectly. (http://www.incourage.me/2013/02/how-to-make-it-through-a-tidal-wave.html) And on the day of the memorial service, I was sent the verse of the day by K-Love and it was from the "time for everything" passage in Ecclesiastes including the words, "a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance." (Ecclesiastes 3: 4) The entire passage had been read at the memorial service just hours before. When I read those words again, sent to me in an email, it felt like another reminder from my Father that this is all in His will and that death is a part of life, with a hug thrown in also.
The other thing that has happened since I have been back home is that I have not gone to those blogs and looked at those missed posts. And in fact, I have deleted most of the posts that arrive daily in my inbox. I haven't unsubscribed yet, but I find myself trying to be more mindful of my time and the use of it. I know my Father has appointed the number of my days and my work here on this earth. Somehow, how to decorate my home just doesn't seem to be as important as how to continue to positively impact the education of my sons. Nor is it as important as reading the spiritual posts that come my way or as important as responding to my friends and family with whom I communicate through email or facebook. All the fluff just doesn't matter right now. The death of a loved one seems to have brought my own life, goals, interests into sharp focus and helped me to use my time to dwell in concentrating on what's most important in my life at this time. Of course, every person has to pick and choose what's most important to themselves at any given time in life.
Update: I wrote this post just weeks after my father-in-law's death and nothing much had changed. It has now been just over two months since his passing on. Until this past weekend I continued to delete most of the home decor type blog posts coming my way; I sifted through the ones relevant to homeschooling and where my family is in that journey; and I read most of the spiritual blog entries. And then yesterday during a family discussion about the use of our time, we decided to go on a type of media fast- far less TV, computer time, facebook and video game time for all of us. More to come about this new development.