Prizes…and a bag of marbles…

I just put up my vacuum cleaner after stepping over it for several days, right smack in the middle of my bedroom. You’re probably thinking, “well, whoopee do, Melissa, glad you can clean up after yourself” (which actually would have been a major feat this time a year ago).

I was slow to put it up because it now holds the shattered pieces of the most prized possession Tony ever gave me.

Last Friday was a heavier than anticipated day as it marked the 1.5 year mark. Other milestones had come and gone with little effect, so this one took me by surprise. I finally pulled myself together, even decided I’d “look cute” for the day to perk myself up. I reached into my beautiful jewelry case (another prized gift from my Tony) to get out a necklace, shut the door, and crash.

My jar of marbles fell from the top. My jar of marbles Tony gave me as an engagement gift. My jar of marbles spoken of at Tony’s memorial service. Shattered. Marbles everywhere.

I just stared at the glassy mess. I pressed my back against the wall and slowly slid to the floor. I didn’t know how or what to feel.

What was I supposed to do now? Tony had clearly given me instructions that we were to throw one marble away every year on our anniversary.  I had faithfully done that for the past two years without him.  Was I just supposed to put the marbles in another jar? But it’s not THE jar. Who knows if I’ll even live long enough to completely empty the jar anyway. What do I do with the marbles?  Tears began to flow.

I finally got up, walked to the kitchen, and pulled out a ziploc bag. I got on my hands and knees and put the marbles in the bag, being sure every one was accounted for, all 74. I looked down at my hands at one point and noticed they were cut in a couple places and bleeding from the glass. How fitting.  Then, I put on my big girl pants and I swept and vacuumed up the pieces of that jar, keeping just two larger jagged pieces.

My jar was gone; my marbles now intact in a ziploc bag.  And after walking past them, stepping over my vacuum for several days now, several days filled with heartache for another dear friend in the midst of tragedy, I’m finally getting some clarity on what I am to do.

I am to let them go.
I am to let my marbles go.

As I wrote in my last post, I’m memorizing Phillipians 3. These are actually the very verses I awoke to on the one year anniversary of Tony’s passing…Phil. 3:12-14 ~
“12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

At first reading several months back, I wondered why on earth would God bring me verses about “forgetting.”  But as I studied those often-quoted verses, I learned that Paul wasn’t saying that he was not remembering the past or permanently deleting the past from his memory, but instead he was encouraging believers to leave what was in the past behind them, to not let it hinder what God has placed ahead of them.

So “forgetting” what is behind me in this season means beginning to let go.  For as I let go, I am able to “strain” toward my goal, to press on to take hold of my ultimate prize, my Jesus.

And it’s quotes like these from Tony (this one written to his best friend over a decade ago) that give me peace that I’m continuing to honor his legacy as I press on.  He writes:

“I am understanding more and more about what Paul meant when he said he was seeking the prize in the race of life.  I get so tired in this race, and the only thing that keeps me going is the hope of the future “prize” and my friends.”

So I press on. I hope. I get tired. I keep going. I lean on my family. I’m there for my friends, in good times and in bad.  I allow God to use my story, allow God to use me, all of me.

I’m not sure what I’m gonna do with that bag of marbles just yet, but I am confident that one by one, I will honor my precious time with my husband, as I let each marble go.

Dearly loved, letting go, straining forward,

One thought on “Prizes…and a bag of marbles…

  1. *Tear* written with so much depth and sincerity. These words show how much strength you have and your determination of how your letting God do his will. Seeing you today showed me how much of a great spirit you still have…it was great to see a familiar face at church. Thank you for sharing.

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