When I was married to Jerry, one of my favorite times of the day was coming home from work. I would pull into the garage, get out of my car, and open the mudroom door.
As I approached the kitchen door, I could hear Jerry exclaiming, “The Honey's home!!”
Imagine how I felt when I walked through that door! Knowing that my husband loved me so much that he couldn't wait to be with me. That he treated my homecoming as a major event. And when I had been away on a business trip, it was even more so.
It was fantastic. Whatever else happened with the ups and downs of our marriage, that never changed. If Jerry was home when I got home, he would greet me with joy. And I loved it.
For some reason I thought of that the other day. And I cried. Because that is one of the biggest things I miss about being married to Jerry – the sense of being treasured. Knowing that someone loved being with me that much. That I mattered that much to another person.
I love my family and friends, and treasure them more with each passing year. Times together are precious, and I wouldn't trade them for anything. I wouldn't be where I am today without them. They have helped me through some really dark times.
But there was nothing quite like living with the man who had vowed to be with me through sickness and health, richer and poorer, struggle, sacrifice, and success, until death us do part. And there was nothing like knowing that Jerry loved me even more after 20 years of marriage than he had when he saw me walk down the aisle and lit up so bright that he could have powered New York City. There was nothing like knowing how much he loved being together.
I was incredibly blessed. I knew it then, and I know it now.
I also knew that it was a choice Jerry made to love me like that. I wasn't always that lovable. I was sometimes tired and cranky after a long day at work. And even his famous bear hugs didn't always dispel that. (Sometimes they did, though.) :). Jerry chose to love me anyway. He loved me before he knew how I would respond. And I thrived. Blossomed. Grew in confidence. The confidence of his love.
I didn't need approval from others so much. I had his. I didn't need to make a name for myself. I already had one – Honey. I was comfortable in my own skin.
And then he died, and the skin no longer fit. No one was there to shout, “The Honey's home!” And there was a huge hole in my heart where Jerry had been.
Over time I developed a new skin. And family and friends filled in part of the hole. But not all the way to the top. The love between a husband and wife is different from the rest. It just is.
In faith I believe God can fill the rest of the holes with his love. It's not the same as bear hugs, and requires eyes of faith to experience. But I do believe it's possible.
Then why was I crying as I thought of “The Honey's home!”? I realized there was still a hole there. And I had been unsuccessfully trying to fill it with things that will never satisfy that desire.
- Feeling needed and important at work
- Sounding smart so people would ask my advice
- Looking for popularity on social media
There's nothing wrong with being smart, delivering value at work, or connecting with people. They're all good things. But I was doing them from a place of neediness. To try and fill the hole in my heart left when my husband died.
Here's the thing. You have holes in your heart too. Not necessarily the same ones, but somewhere. And it's just possible that you're doing what I was – trying to fill them with things that at best are temporal. And at worst don't even begin to satisfy.
Like me, you may even be doing good things – things that are helpful, valuable, and kind. But there's just something missing. The freedom that comes when you're not expecting your actions to fill the empty spaces. When the filling comes simply by being present with those you love. By knowing who you are. By being cherished by God.
Take a moment to reflect. Ask yourself this question: “Am I trying to fill my heart with things that will never satisfy – even good things?” And then let that percolate. You don't need to do deep analysis. Just ask and listen for the answer. That's what I did. I had a vague unsettled feeling, asked a simple question, and then listened and waited. What I heard was priceless. Because now I know. And I can already see a change.
You can too. You can experience the freedom that comes from knowing where the holes in your heart are so you don't fall into them. You can find other more fulfilling ways to fill them.
Know what else happened that day as I listened? I had a picture of the end of my life. The Angels were ushering me to heaven. The door was cracked open. And I heard God and Jerry on the other side of heaven's door exclaiming, “The Honey's home!”
Would you like die filled to the brim with love? Then ask where the holes are, and what you're using to try and fill them. The answer could be life-changing.
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