A Love-Hate Thing

I love “Papa’s bench,” the memorial bench I purchased that was placed at the reservoir five minutes from my house. I often walk and pray around the two-mile perimeter surrounding the lake while Denver frolics and fetches sticks from the water. I chose a bench because I wanted a place to “sit with” Wyndham. I didn’t want a cemetery; I wanted a nearby place with nature’s beauty and fishable water.

The bench went into the ground while I was visiting Kristen in Connecticut. The town employee, who has been extremely kind and thoughtful throughout the process, called to tell me it was in the ground. Hearing that I was away, he put tape across the bench so I could cut the tape and also so that no one would sit there before I did. See what I mean? He is thoughtful.

I arrived back in town the next evening right before dark. I was tired and hot after my drive home. I grabbed some scissors to cut the tape and walked down to the bench that I told you I love. I cut the tape away, sat down, and cried. Ugly cried. I talked out loud, some to God and some to Wyndham. I told God I hated the bench. I never wanted a memory bench. I wanted Wyndham. I loved it, and I hated it. All mashed up together. After a good cry and talk, I settled down on the bench. The reservoir was low, emptier that I had seen it in a long time. No wonder my town has a water ban in effect. Also, the sweltering heat from the previous few days encouraged grass to grow in the water, and I didn’t like how it looked. I didn’t like much that evening, as is likely obvious by now.

In the quiet evening, as I sat still, I began to hear what sounded like a waterfall. As I looked up, I saw water gushing into the lake. I told God…”Okay, I get it.” You see— I felt just like the low, way too empty reservoir…with ugly weeds growing to add insult to injury. And yet, God reminded me that He makes a reservoir possible by being the stream of living water. He will fill my empty reservoir—not with a slight trickling of water drops, but with a forceful gush of living water sent by His Spirit. (As I attached this picture of the outpouring water, I noticed the reflection of the shape of a cross with power lines attached. Oh ,the allegory here…God really wants me to get this message.)

On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.
Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
(Jn 7:37-39)

(Interestingly, and adding even more depth to this amazing promise from Jesus, is that Jesus said this on the last day of the Feast of Sukkot, which included a water ceremony and chanted prayers pleading for rains for the harvest. Jesus was ushering in a new way of thinking.)

I must remember this new way of thinking, remembering that He continually pours love into my heart through His Spirit (Rom 5:5), like that water gushing from the source.

Somehow, my town knows when to turn on the water flow when the reservoir is low.  How much more does my God know when I need a fill-up? If my reservoir isn’t full, this also affects other people, not just me.

I’m happy to have a bench that I love and hate. I need physical reminders of memories. I think that is why there are so many celebrations recorded in the Bible, so many parables told, and stones of remembrances collected. We all need reminders.

Oh, and another little reminder from God to share. Later, I think it was the next morning, I was speaking with God about how difficult it can sometimes be to feel His presence. After all, I had talked with, lived, with, touched, and talked with Wyndham for forty-five years and now I have memories. With God, I have talked with Him for years and have His Spirit and His Word, but I have never seen Him or physically touched Him. That’s hard, and I think is why Jesus says “blessed are those who have not seen, and have believed.” (Jn 20:29)  I told Him it is also hard to not know what it means to be in the spiritual state after death, and though I know Wyndham is with God, I felt a need for reassurance that all was okay. I asked Him if He could please let me know this somehow. I didn’t need to understand it, I just needed to know all was okay. This is all I said, as I did not really even know what I was asking.

After I prayed, I got up, picked up my phone, and had a message waiting from a sister in another region, Kathleen Johnson. This was her message to me. “Jeanie, in my quiet time I thought of you. As I was praying to God I had such a strong feeling that God wanted me to pass on to you that everything is all right..”

If that is not the Spirit at work, I don’t know what is. Of course, I cried in gratitude.

And now, every time I sit on the bench that I love and hate, I not only remember Wyndham, but am reminded that Jesus is my stream of living water…and Wyndham is more than all right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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27 Comments

  1. jackfrederick

    I love the bench, and I love Wyndham & Jeanie

    Reply
  2. Al Baird

    God just keeps talking to us, messaging us, texting us, signaling us, loving us. The love of our dear mate and our God never stops. Some wonderful day we will all be together again! Oh, happy day!!!

    On Tue, Aug 4, 2020 at 9:55 PM My Morning Cup – Refilled… wrote:

    > jeanieshaw posted: “I love “Papa’s bench,” the memorial bench I purchased > that was placed at the reservoir five minutes from my house. I often walk > and pray around the two-mile perimeter surrounding the lake while Denver > frolics and fetches sticks from the water. I chose a ” >

    Reply
    • jeanieshaw

      Yes, oh happy day that will be. I love to hear God speaking. Love, Jeanie

      Reply
  3. Cheryl Shine

    What a beautiful tribute and a bench in a beautiful place to remember him. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

    Reply
    • jeanieshaw

      Thank you, Cheryl. Love, Jeanie

      Reply
  4. jerrysprague

    Thank you for sharing, Jeanie! Your thoughts are so encouraging. My heart goes out to you! And yes, Wyndham is ok along with Bernie, George D., John Greenwood, Harold Lyle and many others!

    Reply
    • jeanieshaw

      Thanks for sharing, Jerry. Yes, he is okay and in good company. Love, Jeanie

      Reply
  5. Lori Seavey

    Thank you for how real you are. I love that you see the spiritual where others don’t. When I read the text you received from that sister I smiled and shook my head. Our God hears every word we say and He answers. 💕. I love you and I love how you put your heart into words for us to read.

    Reply
  6. Kitty Chiles

    Thank you thank you thank you for being who you are see you

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Reply
  7. Lapatic

    Good morning sister,

    This is Lapatic Francis from Orlando. Enjoyed reading your story this morning. Glad to see Gods’ faithfulness and encouragement to you. Blessings! In Him!

    Lapatic Francis YSIC ❤️ Orlando FL

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Reply
    • jeanieshaw

      Thank you so much for the encouragement, Lapatic. It means a lot. Love, Jeanie

      Reply
  8. Judy Ostrowski

    Jeanie I was excited when I opened my phone and saw on my email I love your post today I love all of them but this one got me thank you for sharing your heart I love the bench what a great idea !! Love Judy xo

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Reply
    • jeanieshaw

      Love you so much, Judy. Thank you for your encouragement.

      Reply
  9. julieksings

    That was so warm and tender! Thank you!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Reply
    • jeanieshaw

      Thank you, Julie. LOve you.

      Reply
  10. Bonnye

    Sweet cousin,
    I cried inside for you as I read your tribute to Wyndham. How special you are! What a wonderful gift that the Holy Spirit gave you! I hope someday to see you in person and sit on your bench..

    🥰Bonnye

    Reply
    • jeanieshaw

      Thank you, Bonnye. Love you always. Jeanie

      Reply
  11. Lisa Walczak

    Jeanne, I have been in your workshops and read your books. Today is profound for me. My husband and I are going into our 70s and we know that one of us will be missing the other soon. We hope that the graciousness you are showing will happen to one of us. YSIC Lisa W

    Reply
    • jeanieshaw

      Lisa, thank you for sharing your heart and wisdom. With much love, Jeanie

      Reply
  12. Beda Roberts

    Dear Sister,
    This was powerful. Although my loss is different than yours, I empathize with the pain. So many good things have come about since my daughter’s passing, many things that she would be proud of, yet I’d rather have her here with me and her family. I often ask myself how can 2 strong emotions coexist like this? Maybe in grief and loss only – because there was also love.
    May God continue strengthening you as you walk this journey.

    Reply
    • jeanieshaw

      Beda, Thank you for sharing. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. So true that such strong emotions go together. Beautiful and wonderful and horrible at the same time. You sound a very wise, courageous woman. Sending my love, Jeanie

      Reply
  13. debwright54gmailcom

    With you heart and soul…Praying for you and your family often…Have Wyndham’s pictures on the fridge. We love the fishing one so much…the I Timothy 1:5 reference. Love the bench, the gushing living water as the Holy Spirit is walking you through year this new and unwanted season. Thank you for always being your “unsinkable” self although I’m sure it must not feel that way….You’re gold, Jeanie! No mistake! Heaven is going to be one fantastic place…Let’s all keep “on our way” together arm in arm. We LOVE YOU! Sheridan & Deb

    Reply
    • jeanieshaw

      Debbie,
      I am obviously tardy in replies to comments. So sorry. You are so encouraging. Thank you for sharing this. Yes, heaven is going to be amazing. I love you and Sheridan so very much. Love, Jeanie

      Reply
  14. debwright54gmailcom

    Oops…sorry for the typos
    1)Strike “year”(line 5)
    2)“Let’s all keep going”(line 9)….♥️♥️♥️

    Reply
  15. tammytaxterfleming

    Amen! love this, Jeanie. Thank you for continuing to allow readers to journey with you. So encouraging. So real. Amen and amen.

    Reply
  16. Jennifer Evans

    Jeanie, everything you write moves my heart and usually makes me cry. The kind of crying that makes me grow inside and brings me closer to God. He has given you a gift and a mission. Thank you for using it and heeding His call.

    Reply
    • jeanieshaw

      Thank you, Jen. I love you and Rich very much and wish you all the best in your new adventure. Thank you for your kind words.

      Reply

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About Jeanie Shaw

After retiring from forty-five years in full-time ministry, Jeanie Shaw went back to school to earn her master’s and doctorate in spiritual formation and discipleship. She also serves as a certified Christian life coach who loves helping people discover the joy, peace, and purpose that come from finding and following God’s plan for their lives. She has taught classes and workshops all over the world and has written numerous books. She has four grown children, eight grandchildren, and a golden retriever who thinks he is human. When she is not reading, writing, coaching, teaching, or enjoying her family she might be found walking along rivers, learning new lessons about life.

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