Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Gentle Man.

Every where I look, Lynn catches my eye.

My parents' house is full of family pictures, and it seems like, from every corner of every room, I am taken off guard by those deep, smiling eyes.  The eyes I fell in love with... those eyes that reached my soul that day, almost twelve years ago, when I came to know this strange, kind, quirky guy who has forever changed my life...

I arrived on the campus of Bethany Bible College, now Kingswood University, in September 2001.  Lynn was impossible to miss being student council president, organizing freshman activities, running around meeting and greeting everyone, doing the thing that Lynn did best... loving and leading people! I was not a very good participator of freshman activities, shy and preferring to keep somewhat to myself :).  I remember walking with him during one of the games that took us into town and watching him take off running through a parking lot to greet someone in a truck.  What a strange guy! I thought.

Somehow, though, in those first few weeks, we interacted just enough to know that we had many things in common, could easily talk to one another, and felt natural and comfortable being in each other's company.

One of those early days, a group of us were talking outside the cafeteria. They were making plans to go somewhere that evening.  I withdrew a little, knowing I wasn't able to go. I was scheduled to make a phone call to a friend "back home".  (It was not going to be easy, and I dreaded the drama of the particularly difficult circumstance in involved...)  I excused myself, started off towards my dorm, only to discover that Lynn was chasing after me, calling my name.  I turned and he looked at me with those eyes, such a unique mixture of happy joy and intelligent depth.  I felt like he was looking right into my heart.  Are you okay? he asked.  Yes, I'm fine.  I answered.  No, you're not, he said...

It sounds so simple and basic, but the truth is, no one had ever seen into my heart so quickly and easily as Lynn had.  He had this gift with all people, but I am thankful it was me he fell in love with :).  There were no fireworks or words from God that day... those came later.  But it was that moment that Lynn came to mean more to me than any one else I had ever met.  It was the first time he had touched my soul with his kindness and tender love, his unique ability to see people and build them up.  He came to love me profoundly and unashamedly, never hesitating to proclaim his love from the rooftops, shout out across parking lots, and touch me incessantly (after we were married...).  He didn't care if his love made people uncomfortable.  He celebrated love.  And I grew in the light of it, like a young sapling, being nurtured and protected in the warmth of the sun.  Lynn's love, in those early years, became to me a tangible expression of God's love.  His arms, as though God himself were holding me and healing my heart.  What a rare gift he was.

In grief, the hurt and woundedness in a relationship is magnified.  The failure and brokenness of our lives is powerfully painful.  But as the Lord heals a grieving heart, we are given this immense privilege of seeing with new eyes, looking back in time through a new lens, like climbing a mountain with the ability to turn back and see where we've been, how far we've come, all that's been accomplished... from new heights and new depths.

These moments can be profoundly enlightening when our hearts are guarded and protected in Christ... when our brokenness is kept in the context of His perfect love. And we would not have them if we were not being led, if our Guide was not present, leading us in the Way Everlasting...

He knows the way out of your grief,  Sunny said.

In this instance, I am so aware of the gentleman God is.  Many people have said that over the years, but I did not appreciate it until now.  God has never pushed me, (though he gently nudges me on a regular basis).  He loves me. He accepts me. God does not come down on me and criticize me.  He encourages me, instilling His courage within my heart.  God does not ask me to be happy Lynn died, and thank him for this pain, as some Christians would seem to think... He has never asked me to be glad that Lynn died, for all the good He is to bring of it.  God's love and kindness, His gentleness and long-suffering, are what nurture my faith in the midst of my pain and seemingly endless sorrow... It is His non-pushy nature that draws me to Him.  It is His ability to take me as I am and love me there, truly and purely, in peacefulness and safety...

I have been moved and changed by the love of a uniquely gifted husband.  I will never recover from His love.  He has ruined me forever.  The trauma of his death effects me still... always.  But, I find I am healed in the quietness of God's strength.  In the gentleness of His power.  In the peacefulness of His Holy etiquette.  And in the tenderness of His love.

I know now why it is so important to know God as gentleman, to lean on His kindness, and to benefit from His perfect love, His mercy and His grace.

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