by Kit Hinkle
Some will go on to remarry. Some can’t bare the thought of it.
I know when I lost Tom, my first thought was to remain alone—after all, we were solid in our marriage and happy together. Could lightning really strike twice?
It’s been years and my thinking has changed. Finding someone new doesn’t mean I’m forgetting Tom—it’s just a choice for me to start the beginning of the rest of my life.
Some don’t feel called to find a person to begin the rest of their life with. My young widowed friend, Kate, has a career as an international missionary. Imagine how independent she is. She craves the companionship of a husband, but feels led to focus on her work and wait for the Lord to bring a spouse if that’s His will.
Some had rough marriages, and feel the bittersweet tangle of sadness and relief. Earlier in life when I lost a marriage to divorce, I burned over the man’s betrayal, and took stock in the part I had in it—my penchant for people pleasing. When I began to date again, I paid attention to my behaviors and waited for a man who was deeply in love with me and was flexible enough to work out our happy dance together.You Learn by Veronica A. Shoffstall After awhile you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul and you learn that love doesn’t mean possession and company doesn’t mean security. And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts and presents aren’t promises and you begin to accept your defeats with your head up and your eyes ahead with the grace of an adult not the grief of a child. And you learn to build your roads today because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans and futures have ways of falling down in mid-flight. After awhile you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much so you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers. And you learn that you really can endure that you really are strong and you really do have worth and you learn and you learn…
When I first read this poem twenty years ago, I thought through what it meant for me to learn how to do relationships correctly.
Some of us don’t need to learn about relationships—these ladies have an innate way of picking and relating to the right man.
Some of us haven’t learned, and will keep picking the wrong type of man and will repeat the same relationship patterns, maybe because it’s so easy to fall in love and who wants to be alone? If we’re not careful, we can fall right into an old trap.
I know I almost did. In the spirit of wanting companionship, I found myself last year going along with a man’s efforts to steer me into his world. It all seemed right, until some shifts in his behavior shook me out of my trance—reminded me of that first husband who controlled my world without love.
I stopped myself from entering a loveless marriage. In time I would have applied lessons I’ve learned and adjusted and became happy, but isn’t it a blessing to know that I’m not sacrificing true companionship for mere company?
I’m back on track, remembering what I learned all those years ago between my difficult first marriage and my blessed second marriage—that whom you choose to marry is one of the most impactful decisions you make on your life—that nothing trumps the joy of having a marriage based on dependable, faithful love. That companionship doesn’t come from just having someone there. I remember now why losing Tom was so hard, and yet filled with such closure. He really loved me. That’s something I won’t sacrifice just for the sake of having a body there.