I was scrubbing our shower tonight in preparation for weekend guests coming. It's not something I've had to do in a while thanks to the generosity of a friend who has served us by having our home cleaned once a month this year (the BEST gift ever for a single parent). As soon as I pulled back the shower curtain, memories flooded my mind.
In the summer of 2020, Greg was doing really well - emotionally, spiritually, and physically. He'd had a number of difficult years but everything seemed to be on the upswing. I often teased him that he was the only person in the globe thriving during the pandemic. He loved being home with me and P all day every day and enjoyed the rhythms we had created as a family.
I, on the other hand, was completely stir crazy and struggling a lot with my mental health. To help me cope, Greg helped me brainstorm a huge to-do list - little projects and things I could do or we could do together to keep me from going absolutely bonkers in the monotony of lockdown. Maybe someone else would hate their husband doing this for them, but for me it was a lifeline and Greg knew what I needed to survive a season that had no clear end in sight.
My little projects were inexpensive and quick, but Greg had some others in mind. Our only shower had been losing water pressure and we were at the point of having just a trickle. Additionally, our hot water heater was failing and our showers were only mildly hot for a couple minutes even with the hot water fully on. While being stuck at home bothered me, the shower situation didn't: it was hot out anyway and I was anxious about the pandemic and wanted to save money every way possible. Fixing our showers was definitely not on my priority list. Greg, on the other hand, absolutely despised the trickle of water and was dreading another winter of luke-warm showers. We went back and forth for weeks before I decided to trust him and let him move forward without resisting or arguing. Within just a few days, he had fixed the water pressure and a new water heater was being installed.
Half a year later, it was winter. The worst winter of my life. Greg had died. It felt like hope, joy and beauty had died along with him. But every time I went to get a shower, it felt like he was taking care of me. I had strong water pressure and a hot, soothing shower. My sweet, loving, and cold-shower hating husband had fixed a problem long before it became a problem that I would have to fix on my own while at my lowest point.
Today, while cleaning the shower, I thought about how many family members have showered in our home since his death and how many times me and my son have done the same. Each time, we have experienced the blessing of Greg's love, care and foresight.
But my well-working shower doesn't just point to Greg's goodness. After all, Greg didn't know he was going to die that winter. He was doing so well! None of us could've possibly comprehended it. Yes, we worried that he might die if he contracted COVID-19, but we were on lockdown so that he wouldn't be exposed to the virus. That seemed to be the only threat to his life and as much as we were able, we had eliminated it.
We had not idea, but God knew.
When I look back, I see Greg's care, but also my Heavenly Father's. He knew what was coming, and he was getting us ready in ways that we wouldn't know we needed until it was far too late.
Comprehending God's sovereign plan is hard for anyone at any time. After a tragic death, it can feel painful to even consider the implications of God's sovereignty. I tread very carefully when I think about it and talk about it with others because I know how very painful it can be and how many questions can arise from a broken heart. Yet in this instance, in my warm shower with firm spray, I see a glimpse of the beauty of sovereignty and a hint of God's faithfulness. Not faithfulness that spared me from pain, but faithfulness that took care of me before, during, and after.
Those little instances of God's kindness, faithfulness and love are worth celebrating. Even when they occur in a season of pain and loss.