It’s Time to Let Go
On April 10, 2002, my first wife, Sue, went into the hospital for a routine hernia repair surgery. Everything appeared to go well. At 4:30 AM, on the 11th, I received a frantic call from the hospital. The nurse told me that Sue wasn’t breathing and I should get there as soon as I could. I woke up my son, Stephen, and we rushed to the hospital.
When we got to Sue’s room, we were met by a nurse. She took us into another room to talk to Sue’s doctor and a team of nurses. I knew something was wrong. They all kept telling us all that they had done to help Sue. I stopped them and asked them if Sue was gone, and they said yes. We asked if we could see her and she said that we shouldn’t because they had not had time to “clean” her up. We both said it did not matter, we wanted to see her.
Stephen hugged his Mom one more time, and I kissed her on her forehead, and said good bye. As we left the hospital, we were both in shock. How could this happen? It was just a routine surgery. Then I remembered Ecclesiastes 3:1 and 2, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die…” I reminded my son that we were not to blame God for taking his Mother home. He said he understood.
Over the next few days, grieving turned to anger in Stephen, and in Sue’s brother, Ron. They both wanted me to sue the hospital and doctor. When I looked into this and learned that there had been no heart monitor on Sue, I gave serious thought to suing them. But even though I learned that I had one year to file any suit, it didn’t feel “right” to go in this direction after seeking God’s will in prayer.
In March of 2003, I had a dream in which I could see Sue as if she wasn’t dead. She was driving home from work and was involved in a terrible accident. There was a doctor in one of the cars nearby, and the paramedics got there quickly; they were able to save her. After she recovered, she went back to work. Then on her way home that evening, she was again involved in an accident. This time, she died immediately. Then I heard a voice say, “When it is your time to come home, nothing man can do will change that.” I woke up knowing right then that it had been Sue’s time to go home. I called a friend, Sandy, and she said “Charlie, that’s God telling you that it was Sue’s time.” I told her that I knew it and I was now at peace. I no longer had any desire to sue the hospital and doctor.
As Mother’s Day 2003 approached, I knew I would not have time to go to church, visit Sue’s grave, and get to work on time. Because of this, I decided to visit the cemetery on Saturday so I wouldn’t be rushed. When I arrived, workers were digging a new grave near Sue’s. They had piled all of the dirt from the hole on Sue’s and another woman’s graves (this woman had been dead only three months), making it impossible to place flowers on either site. I was upset, especially when there was room on the opposite side of the new grave where dirt could be placed without a problem. I went to a nearby information booth with my complaint, really venting. Then I had to back off and apologize for my outburst. The attendant was very understanding and promised that she would take care of the situation for me.
At the time all this happened, I was working at Disneyland, “The Happiest Place on Earth,” so I needed to adjust my attitude in a hurry. That particular Saturday I was a cast member at Honey, I Shrunk the Audience, a 3-D movie. As I entered the break room and sat down, a friend asked me what was wrong. I told her what I had just gone through. As she was listening, another cast-member friend, Peter, came in and listened for a while. Then he logged in to the computer and got his next assignment.
When the time came for me to clock in and get my assignment mine read, “Go give Peter a break. He has just started the machine to wash the 3-D goggles.” I was relieved! “Thank You, Lord, for not placing me in the park with people right away!” This gave me a few minutes to get my attitude “fixed.”
When I walked into the goggle room, Peter asked, “Your wife died? How long were you married?” I told him we had been married for almost 33 years. “How do you do it? You’re always happy, I don’t understand. My fiancée died two years ago and I just can’t get over it.” Now, I knew that Peter was a Christian, but I was relatively new on “Honey,” and Peter didn’t know me very well, so I told him a story I had heard to illustrate the point I wanted to make.
A young man had a burden that he had to carry. It seemed so very heavy. He cried out to the Lord and told God that his burden was too heavy to carry. The Lord took him into a room and told him to put his burden down and pick any other burden in the room. He looked around the room and saw a lady from church. What burden could she possibly have? She was always happy. Upon looking closer, he could see that she had a husband who was an alcoholic and beat her. “I don’t want that burden,” he told the Lord. Looking around further, he saw another lady from church. Surely she couldn’t have a heavy burden! She always had a nice word for him and a great smile. Her burden turned out to be even heavier than the first lady’s. He continued to look around, and when he had almost given up, he spotted a small burden in the corner. He ran over and picked it up and said, “I’ll take this burden, Lord.” The Lord told him that was the burden that he had come in with. “How can this be?” he cried. “The others are always happy. I never knew they were carrying such burdens!” The Lord said, “That’s because they let Me carry their burdens.”
I told Peter, “All you have to do is let the Lord carry your burden. This doesn’t mean that you won’t still miss her, but He helps you with the pain.” Peter hugged me and we are still friends to this day.
In Psalm 23 we read, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in the path of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil, my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” In this passage we find that we are not promised a life without pain or troubles, but that the Lord is always with us; we not alone. He’ll carry our burdens, if we let Him.
Isn’t it time we let Jesus carry our burdens? He wants to. Hear His words in Matthew 11: 29: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” After you give it to the Lord, don’t go back and pick it up again; just let Jesus carry it for you.
By C. E. (Chuck) Garber
All scripture, unless otherwise stated, is New King James Version (NKJV)