Written by Kate Krumreig
Are you a person who remembers dates? Like, specific calendar dates when important and/or memorable things happened in your life? I weirdly remember specific dates for A LOT of things that have happened to me, some of them incredibly joyful and happy to recall and some of them just the opposite.
I have struggled emotionally this week as today approached. I was an absolute whirlwind of weepy, cranky, tired, angry, quiet, contemplative, back to weepy...you get the picture. October 31st holds two very memorable events for me.
On October 31, 2010, I moved into my first apartment after having lived with my best friend and her son for four months. My now ex-husband and I had made the decision to divorce, I was alone, and she didn't even blink and I when she graciously allowed me to live with her as I figured out what to do next. In time, I found this great upstairs of a duplex house in town and, now that I would be living solely on my part-time teaching salary, the price was right (still is, for that matter)! Moving day came and the closest members of my church family at the time moved me in. It was an exciting, scary, overwhelming day yet full of so much love and support. I remember two of my friends thinking that we needed a few "first week" supplies - dish soap, sponges, TP, etc... - and they made a quick Target run. They came back with all of that and then WAY TOO MUCH more, including a baker's rack for kitchen storage. I remember sitting on my kitchen floor once they all left and just crying, beyond grateful for the love they showed me that day and the support I knew I'd always have from them. Today marks 10 years that I have been in this apartment of mine and, despite the quirky habits of some of my downstairs neighbors over the years, I love this place. I am incredibly grateful to call this tiny spot my home and, sometimes, cannot believe that I have spend an entire decade here.
On October 31, 2013, I got in my car on dark and stormy night to go on my first date since my divorce. I met up with this guy I had known for years for a cup of Starbucks decaf tea and began the most beautiful relationship of my life. I will never forgot thinking that I had completely biffed this date because, after an hour of what I thought was an amazing conversation, he said he was tired and needed to get home to bed. Umm...what? It wasn't until he walked me to my car under his umbrella, gave me a hug and a very intentional kiss on the cheek, that I knew I had to see this man again. I later learned that he was tired from his earlier chemotherapy treatment and I was honored that he chose to spend that hour with me. I was beyond blessed to spend the next eight months of life with him. Our relationship did a number on my heart, healing and strengthening it from my failed marriage, bringing me laughter and joy that I didn't think I could experience again, and giving me hope that he and I would grow old and live the rest of our lives together. That, unfortunately, was not meant to be. Glioblastoma (a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer) took him quickly. I was alone again. 7 years have gone by since that first date and I find myself wondering, "How? When? Why?"
Approaching today, my brain has made me incredibly aware of my loneliness. I miss my people. I miss him. I miss hugs, and kisses, and having someone to come home to, and Saturday morning coffee together, and making meals with and for my friends and family, and lazy weekends, and impromptu road trips, and...the list can go on and on.
I have been reminded though, from that small, quiet, Holy Spirit voice in my heart, that I am never alone. No one is alone who is in Christ Jesus. He is always with me and I cannot be more grateful for that. Deuteronomy 31:6 says, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
If you are one who loves a musical connection (I am!), the Stephen Sondheim musical, Into the Woods, provides a beautiful one. The song below, No One is Alone, takes place just before the finale of the show, as the four remaining lead characters try to understand the consequences of their personal wishes, and begin to support others' wishes over their own. The song serves a dual purpose, showing that even when life brings you its greatest challenges, you do not have to face them alone, and also that life never guarantees us a "happily ever after".
No One is Alone from Into the Woods: https://youtu.be/5xaxP_kErTU
Father, thank you for the many, many blessings you have given me and continue to bring me every single day. I ask that you make yourself known to me today, reminding me that I am never alone, even if I may be feeling lonely. Encourage me to reach out to my family and friends when I am feeling this way and help me to find my strength and courage in You. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.