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Tonight we put up our Christmas tree, the first Ravella/Gilbert tree. Actually we have two trees. One is artificial. It is perfect. It has p...

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Jim and I just got home from the movies. It is, surprisingly, our second one in the last two weeks. Siskel and Ebert we are not and we chuckle that our movie reviews don't always coincide with everyone elses. I try not to dip into pop culture too often on the blog but here goes! We took the boys to see "Marley and Me" after Christmas. We had heard how great it was. How touching and meaningful. Now we may not be dog LOVERS but we are most definitely not dog HATERS. However at one point I looked over and Jim was checking emails on his phone and I was mentally making my grocery list. ha. We left surrounded by people with tear-streaked faces. We tried to respect their emotional states but honestly wondered what could possibly have moved people to tears over a bad, misbehaving dog dying after living a long full life with owners who exhibited more patience than Job himself? Now y'all are thinking we are being hard-hearted but really these people must never have lost a spouse or there would have been a little more perspective, don't you think? (Oh, I'm going to get some comments from writing these things!)

Now, tonight, we just returned from "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and cried all the way home. Admittedly this movie was too long. They dragged out the plotline an extra 30 minutes at least. It was definitely a far-fetched story. And I did find myself constantly waiting for Brad Pitt to grow into his present handsome self. But overall it was a touching moving about the fragility of life, death, love and the ever-moving hands of time. Four subjects Jim and I find ourselves talking about often. We got into the car and with tears in our eyes, looked at each other and asked the question "how did we get here?". And the looming always-unanswerable "why are we here?". I think movies like this are good to make people pause and ask themselves those same questions. Jim's time with Andrea and my time with Troy was cut so short. Abruptly. Mid-stream. Even though Andrea was sick for a long time, both deaths were unexpected. I remember when I couldn't type the word death in conjunction with Troy's name. There just didn't seem to be a way to connect the two without alot of pain in the middle. Early in the movie, a clockmaker, who has lost his son in the war, makes a clock whose hands go backwards instead of forward. He hopes this will help reverse the unfair hands of time. I am still not really sure how this linked to the movie but it did strike a cord with me. After I found out Troy's plane had gone down I distinctly remember thinking, "Can't we just go back to yesterday? Yesterday I was just a stressed out mom who was plugging along with the mundane irritations of being the spouse of a soldier deployed and the mom while the dad is away. I thought that was hard but TODAY today I would give anything to go back to yesterday, the day before the last day." For many many mornings after the news I would wake up after minimal sleeping (maybe for only an hour or so) and there would be this split second between subconsciousness and awakening when I wouldn't remember my new reality. It was the only 15 second reprieve of the day. Then I would fully wake up and the magnitude of the painful truth would crush me all over again. If I could have only gone back to that Sunday and stayed there everything would have been okay, I thought.

A tragic accident also happens in the movie and they walk back through the minutes prior to it and all the events that had to take place in an exact order and with exact timing to have contributed to the accident happening. This also resonated with me. Wanting to go back and reverse time or make different decisions is an inevitabality when you lose your loved one. I contemplated many things after Troy died that I could have done to have gotten him home early and thus avoided November 27th. (Read the blog "God's Eyes" for more on the truths I came to regarding this topic). I remember thinking I should have just emailed Troy at some point and told him I was going insane, couldn't function, couldn't take of the kids, something, anything... anything to have gotten him home first. This was not necessarily thinking in line with the truth of God's sovereignty but there was no way for the thoughts to have not entered my mind.

God orchestrated the time, the events, the cancer, the crash and thus Jim and I sitting in the car tonight holding each other and praying for a chance to grow old together without anymore tragedies or loss.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-14

" There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven. A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. A time to search and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; A time to be silent and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace. What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils? I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves. He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one's lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor--it is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has {so} worked that men should fear Him."

We both recognize our time could be long or could be short. We both struggle with the fear of the latter. Do we stop loving because we are too afraid to lose? Believe me I have wondered that. But the answer always comes back a resounding no. Do I want Jim to fly again? No. To wear sunscreen? Drive the speed limit? Eat healthy? Yes. Yes, the Word says we must honor God with how we take care of ourselves and each other.

I Corinthians 6:19-20

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God. You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."

Here are my favorite quotes from "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button": (I have none from "Marley and Me").

"We were meant to lose people. How else would we know how important they are?"

“Life can only be understood looking backward. It must be lived forward.”

As Jim and I discuss the normal things couples and busy parents face like balancing our time together vice time with the kids, the best way to organize and run a hectic household, disciplining children, school issues, vacation schedules, etc... our pasts remind us we are not guaranteed our futures. So how we love, honor and cherish one another counts all the more. In the movie, the couple have a window of time (I am not giving anything away, the previews did that) to do those things. We aren't aging backwards but we all have our own windows. We should make the most of them.


  1. I agree about Marley and Me. I had heard how great it was and I was totally bored thru most of the movie.

    Now I want to see Benjamin Button - we'll see if I can make Jeff go with me!

  2. Thank you for that reminder...so beautifully written. Nothing gives you better perspective on what is important in life than loss. And I am entirely impressed that the two of you made time to see not one, but two movies together! I know that must be tough (understatement) with six kids in the house!

  3. Ging,

    I love reading this blog. It's the "after" that I promised you I believed in when you were at the bottom of the hole and none of us felt like we could reach you. It's hard for me to remember that God has redeemed so much of the pain, though it's not erased. Just redeemed. I need to read this more often. Just returned from Portland. Will try to call this week. Love, Cara