I find myself in an antithetical dichotomy of disbelief (for those who know me well you will see the use of those words for what it was intended, a serious mockery of myself). None the less… it is completely true and sadly accurate. In the same instant I can’t believe Pam has been gone for a year and a half, it seems like she was here filling my days with laughter and security AND it also seems like it has been forever since I felt the warmth of her affectionate embrace or heard her kind words of loving strength. 18 months. When she was here, I didn’t think there was any way I could live 18 minutes in a world without her and yet, here I am.
Lately my mind has thought often of what an encourager Pam was to everyone. I was blessed to receive the lion’s share of her cheerleading. She would constantly tell me that I was the most handsome man in the world, that I was the best preacher she had ever heard, that I was really smart… and on occasion she would even encourage me with the truth like, God knows what we are going through and we can trust Him or, in spite of how you feel right now, you did the right thing and God is pleased and I respect you more than ever and am so thankful that God gave you to be my man.
Recently I discovered some old letters from when we were dating and when we were first married. Reading her constant encouragement to me in those letters made me realize that I must have been much more pathetic than I remember. I must have been a pretty needy little guy because each letter was full of superlatives and hyperbole. In reality, those letters said much more about Pam than me. She was so full of the love of God, it flowed out of her in abundance to all who knew her, even to those who mistreated and hurt her deeply. She still delivered God’s love to them; I saw it over and over again.
It is the absence of that encouragement and support that has made the last few months that much more of a reminder that she is gone. There have been many changes, Houston is gone to basic training, Molli is in Illinois for her internship, changes at work, some hard changes. With Pam’s counsel and encouragement we plowed through this life. Now, alone, it is different. Different because even though she is gone, her legacy remains in all who knew her. Different because even though she is gone, God hasn’t moved. My dependence on God’s instruction to direct my paths has never been stronger.
I will never forget those last days we had together. We would talk at length about God’s plan. We knew that her passing was in God’s plan. We didn’t know why it was in God’s plan. Neither of us struggled with not knowing why because we trust Him completely. God is God and there is no one like Him. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. He created all that was, all that is and all that ever will be. He sustains all things. He created Pam and He created Tom and He blessed us by bringing us together for 25 years. He gave us 3 great children and wonderful supporting families. God brought into our lives the kind of deep meaningful, familial friendships that most people live their entire life hoping for. God is good! God is great! So when it was evident that God was going to call Pam home, the response was a natural one, “OK”. God you want to call Pam home now, “OK”.
Today life isn’t as easy or as fun as it was with Pam here but life is good because God is good. I think every day, “what is Pam doing right now?” She is where she was created to be, in the presence of her Maker. It encourages me to think how happy she is. It encourages me to know that she doesn’t have to struggle with the garbage she had to deal with in this life. It encourages me to know that she is with Jesus whom she loved.
Pam encouraged me every minute we shared together. She is still encouraging me. I miss her more completely than words could begin to convey, at least words written by me. In humility I have to admit as excruciating as the pain I feel at the loss of my sweetheart, I can’t begin to understand the pain that Jesus felt and God Himself felt as they were separated. Jesus left the presence of the Father to come to this earth and live a fully human life as God and to experience life as we do with all of its pain, temptations and sorrow and to be beaten, mocked, betrayed and ultimately killed by crucifixion. But all of that, as bad as it was, wasn’t as bad as what followed. Jesus took on Himself the sins of all mankind while hanging on the cross and because of that sin, in some unexplainable way, God the Father and God the Son were separated. That is an anguish that I can’t begin to understand. Pam would want to encourage you with these words, turn your life over to Jesus and receive His free gift of eternal life.
If this all sounds a little preachy, it is Pam’s final encouragement to you. When we were talking about her funeral Pam was clear, she told me I had to preach it and the good news of Jesus had to go out loud and clear. Pam continues to encourage us all.
How did she encourage you?