I am now beginning to realize the vast difference between trials and tribulations and loss. In this life we all experience trials and tribulations. It is, unfortunately, a normal and expected part of life. Although for some of us these can be quite severe and traumatic, for most of us they are troublesome, but not life changing. For instance, my wife Mary and I encountered trials and tribulations throughout our 54 years together. These occurred continually, but not continuously; that is, they were not constant, but recurring. As I have described before, Mary dealt with health problems all of her life, beginning in her teenage years and continuing until her passing into God’s eternal kingdom last December. These I consider to be tribulations, things that were disturbing and over which we had no control. We learned to live with them, however, knowing that God had control of our situation and would bring us through, which he did every time. Even her eventual passing away was a blessing in that she was finally relieved of all her maladies and ushered into a realm where sin, sickness and death do not exist.
As to trials, we also encountered many of those. Some were to be expected, as we attempted to combine two people with very different backgrounds and temperaments, as well as skill sets and interests, into a unified relationship know as marriage. Fortunately God led us in a way that proved to be mutually advantageous for both of us, and which allowed us both to utilize our gifts and talents to pursue our dreams and achieve fulfillment. In the process, however, we were presented with many challenges which required us to make sometimes difficult decisions and created trials of our faith and patience as a result of those decisions. Once again, though, God provided us with a way through them, sometimes bearing scars, but always ultimately with a deeper understanding of God’s will for us and a greater appreciation of his loving care for us.
Now in all of these experiences there was one constant factor. Mary and I always experienced these trials and tribulations together. The decisions we made were always joint decisions. And everything we experienced, we experienced together. The end result of each one was a deeper love and appreciation for each other and for God. All of this changed, however, when Mary passed away.
I am still trying to deal with the great difference my loss of her has occasioned. Unlike all of our previous experiences, this one is completely irreversible and final. I will never again see her, hold her or gain insight from her wisdom in this life. The thought of that would be unbearable if I did not have the sure knowledge that our relationship will resume when I, too, enter the eternal kingdom, although in different form. That hope somewhat mitigates the pain of my loss. But it does not alleviate me of my present dilemma. I must continue on in life, facing whatever trials and tribulations may come, without her companionship and support. I must make decisions on my own without her sage advice. The positive aspect of this is that I am learning to listen more constantly and attentively to the Holy Spirit and I am ever more aware of God’s never failing presence with me every moment of every day.
Nevertheless my loss of Mary has proven to be much more traumatic than any of the previous trials and tribulation that we shared. That has proven to be a vast difference.