My dear Paul went home to be with the Lord on Monday, September 16, 2013 during a flight from Johannesburg, South Africa to the U.S. We were returning from a 12-day mission trip with a group of 19 other short-term missionaries.
During the past two weeks, I have begun the painful process of learning to live without my devoted husband, lover, best friend, companion, and fellow-adventurer. In addition, Paul has been a most enthusiastic cheerleader of my writing efforts.
Someone mentioned that I should share this sad event on Facebook, particularly for those who may want to know about Paul’s passing. I know we are living in a digital world and “everything” gets out on the internet, but how could I share in such a public way this personally painful event that has changed my life forever.
Last night, during a particularly fitful, sleepless night, it came to me that God ordained me to be a writer. That is what I do. That is what I need to do, not just for my own need for expression, but also to pass on my thoughts, ideas, and experiences in order possibly to make a difference in someone else’s life.
That is why I have decided to use my blog, “Digging in God’s Garden,” to initiate some of my memories and musings and funnel them through my Facebook page. It will be a sort of catharsis for me and, goodness knows, I need to get back to blogging with the official launch of Catie’s Secret coming up in November.
The following poem will, I hope, set the tone for what I share here in the days to come. It is symbolic of the enthusiastic and adventurous way Paul, who was a pilot for most of his life, lived his earthly life and embraced eternal life.
“Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds -
and done a thousand things you have not dreamed of -
wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence.
Hovering there, I’ve chased the shouting wind along
and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,
where never lark, or even eagle, flew;
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
put out my hand and touched the face of God.”
John Gillespie Magee, Jr.