Recently, as my children and I were having an evening full of fun and conversation, I candidly asked them how they would feel if someone asked me out on a date. (No, I don't have anyone in mind. But someday, I am hopeful that I will again experience the kind of love that Todd and I shared...not a carbon copy, but beautiful and rich none-the-less.) Although they didn't give it the total thumbs down, they both responded they weren't sure they would like that much…I got questions like "Why would you want to do that?" (6 yr old son), and "If you ever got married again, would I have to call him 'daddy'?" (10 yr old daughter) I immediately wanted to reassure them that this in no way could ever diminish my love for them or their daddy. One of the things I said went something like this: "I will always love Daddy…I cannot NOT love Daddy—there will always be a hole in my heart that cannot be filled because I love Him so much." Well, my children's response to this was to immediately remind me how much our love for Todd fills our heart and that our love for him is one of fullness, not emptiness. They talked about how Daddy's place in their hearts used to be as a part of the ring of all people they held in their hearts who loved them, but with his death he had moved from the ring to the center (where he touched everyone in the ring). Even though I thought I understood exactly what they were saying (and agreed with them and thanked them for reminding me of the truth!), they felt the need to draw pictures to make sure I fully understood. They were in concert with one another as first my daughter, and then my son, drew a picture of their daddy in the ring of people (all holding hands). They spoke about how his spot wasn't taken when he moved from the ring to the center (and they erased him from the ring and drew him in the center), but how all those people who loved them (and I think they even included "all those who ever would love them" like they were stretching it out to include their whole lives) just pulled closer together and how Daddy was now touching everyone in the ring because he was in the middle.
Our children can teach us so much. I know this retelling cannot do justice to those beautiful moments (nor should it), but I am so glad my heart was opened to the profound truth they spoke to me that day…of how the fullness of love was made to triumph over the emptiness of loss.
May the fullness of the love, of all those who love you and whom you hold dear, fill your heart to overflowing. If you are feeling especially lonely this day, I pray you will let God's love fill your heart and mind with the (heart) knowledge of how much He loves you.
"I have loved you with an everlasting love…"