By Kim Robinson, Knoxville, Tennessee

A widow’s sorrow continues on year after year. The height, width, and depth of it changes dimension as time marches on. The celebration of the Lord’s birthday brings with it the season of my husband’s birthday as well. The last month of the year holds a certain dread—of having to face yet another lonely birthday, Christmas, and new year without my dear husband. But through it all, the Lord continues to be with me. Yes, there is this profound loneliness…but praise God, Jesus carries the grief WITH me and FOR me. This is something special that He lovingly does for widows who are His children.

It is week number two of a new job—in a new location and in a new role. I am stepping back in time it seems…out of an office and no longer wearing the manager’s mantle.I’m now in scrubs with a stethoscope around my neck and treatment cards in my pocket.

Today is December 14—my husband’s birthday. My widow’s heart has been heavy of late. I’ve been asking the Lord, starting days ago, to please help me get through this birthday and holiday season. This year I’ve avoided the department stores, where I invariably walk the aisles looking at clothes I would be pleased to buy as gifts for my “Dapper-Dan” husband.I have stopped myself from lingering at the greeting card racks, wishfully looking for the birthday and Christmas card perfectly suited to my Dan. No, instead I am sitting in my car praying for God’s grace and divine presence before stepping out and into a day of work enduring my very private and secret mourning. Within an hour I am stepping into a patient’s room— a patient I’ve never seen before.And there he is—a man in his 50s sitting in a chair—in his gown.“Good morning. Are you Tommy

[name changed]?” I reach for his identification bracelet.

“Yes, I Tommy. TODAY MY BIRTHDAY!! I happy!! I so glad to be alive!! You happy today my birthday?”

Right away I sense this meeting is something very special and out of the ordinary. I respond very deliberately and emphatically, “Oh, today is your birthday? Yes, yes…I am happy! Let me give you a birthday hug.”

Tommy hugs me back—real big, like only a “special blessings” person can! It’s a very familiar kind of hug— like from someone I know. I am instantly disarmed by the childlike simplicity and sincerity of a grown man.

I say, “My husband’s birthday is today as well.” Tommy begins to look pleased, but then he notices that I am suddenly no longer smiling. A certain uncontrollable solemnity has passed over my countenance. I add, “But he went Home to be with the Lord about four years ago.”

Tommy so sweetly says in a consoling manner, “Oh, I sorry, I sorry.No be sad. Jesus love you. He walk with you.Don’t be sad.You love Jesus?”

I say (almost as though having to remind myself), “Yes, yes, I love Jesus.”

Tommy adds the reinforcement, “He love you.He be with you.Be happy.I be happy.Be happy for Tommy.TODAY MY BIRTHDAY!”

A smile breaks broadly through, and I say, “Well, you know what, Tommy…I was going to be sad all day today, but now you are making me very happy!!”

There are these “you-had-to-be-there” moments that come right from the Spirit of God, and my meeting with Tommy was one of them. Our great God is always divinely at work setting up various appointments— causing paths to be crossed, messengers to be sent, encouragement to be given, and affirmations to be made. And He does these in the most personalized manner—so that you recognize His hand in them. He makes these moments all so familiar.

You see, my husband had an Uncle James years ago who was a “special blessings” child. James lived to be way up into his 50s—at a time when that was unheard of. Uncle James grew up to be a childlike man. He was a preacher of the Gospel—holding make-believe church meetings behind the garage, complete with chairs and a pulpit. As a child, my husband and all the cousins were compelled by their parents to be in attendance whenever James called for church services. In his own way, James would preach the Gospel and thump His Bible and admonish his young audience. Sometimes when no one was around, my husband would hear James bellowing out a sermon, and he’d peer around the back of the garage and watch in amazement at a man who seemed to be preaching to no one—yet being just as animated and adamant as he was with his neighborhood congregation in attendance.

I thought of that memory as Tommy ministered to my heart in the simplest of ways—there in his hospital room. God used Tommy to change the whole complexion of my day and the Christmas and New Years holidays that followed… “Jesus love you. He walk with you. You love Jesus?” Yes—thank you, Tommy! I do love my Jesus because He first loved me! Praise His holy name for His marvelous works among men and for his kind ministrations to the widow.