Earp Takes Aim | Faith, Culture, Life

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Sweet Potato

During my first year of grief, all those awful “firsts without Cindy” often gathered around me like an avalanche gathers snow as it rumbles down a steep mountain.  Maybe you recall that I wrote before about some of those “firsts” when the crushing weight of Too Many Firsts made last December almost more than I could bear.

Call me an optimist {or stupid}, but I thought all these “firsts” would cease after April 7.  I think I even had people tell me they would.  “Just get through that first year,” my well-wishers would say.  “that’s when all these first time moments will go away.” 

But they haven’t.

Easter is late this year, one day shy of “as late as it could be.”  For the three of you who may be interested, the reason Easter doesn’t fall on a fixed date is because it’s determined according to a lunisolar calendar.  Back in 325 A.D., The First Council of Nicaea established the dating of Easter as the first Sunday after the full moon following the northern hemisphere’s vernal equinox. 

But I digress.

My only reason for mentioning that is this:  Today, Good Friday, is yet another first.  But also, a very sad “last.”  It was the last treatment day for Cindy’s second full round of whole brain radiation. 

After treatment, we stopped by to visit Drew and then I asked Cindy if she’d like to celebrate her final treatment {little did we know}.  She smiled faintly, and said she thought she would like that very much.  I suggested Logan’s Roadhouse since she loved their sweet potatoes and she hadn’t been eating much. 

She liked my suggestion, so we pulled into a handicapped spot, got situated into her other set of wheels and rolled into Logan’s with “party” on our minds.  But just before our food arrived, my very compromised bride lost the grip on her glass of iced water {with lemon, of course} and the whole glass spilled into her lap.  Since the restaurant was even a bit chilly for me, I quickly gathered our things and we hustled out to the truck and drove home.

That potato never did get eaten.  Not that I didn’t try.  I mashed it and tried to feed her in very infant-sized bites.  I remember crying, trying to somehow will even a tiny morsel of nourishment into her starving body. 

And that was our last time “to go out” together.  To this day, I can’t pass Logan’s without a lump forming in my throat.  And though I used to love the place, I’ve always kinda figured Logan’s would be one restaurant I never would visit again. 

Except this morning, I’m wondering if maybe I should go.  Maybe I could drop by about 2:00 this afternoon and ask for the table over on the far left where we were seated last Good Friday.  If I do go, I won’t need a menu.  I'll just order an iced water {with lemon} and a baked sweet potato {butter and brown sugar on the side}. 

I’m thinking maybe I could just sit there for a while, remember my bride and then walk out with the meal entirely untouched— you know, just like last year. 

I don’t know that I will go.  Maybe I will, but probably not.  But I AM thinking about it.


I’m facing another first, too.  See, it’s Friday— but Sunday’s a-coming!  {Thanks, TC!}  My first Easter without Cindy by my side. 

I think I’m ready.  I’ll be teaching from Colossians 1:16-17, where Paul talks about Jesus being the “firstborn from among the dead.”  As I added a few final tweaks yesterday afternoon, I realized that Jesus was also experiencing a “first.” 

He was the “first” to execute a full and forever resurrection. 

He was the first to rise to life without ever having to die again.  

Just thinking of Easter in those terms has helped me put a different spin on losing Cindy.  You see, since He was “first,” that must mean He won’t be the last!

If Jesus was “first,” then there will be more!

And Cindy is a part of that “more!” 

So on my first Easter without her, I’ll be thanking God that my bride has already found her place among the multiplied others who are also “more.”  Can’t you just picture her?  Holding court among other spirited faith-warriors who, like our Lord— and like Cindy Wyatt— will never experience death, not ever again.

Armed with that bit of good news, I’m ready for even more firsts.  And there will be plenty more.  I find my heart suddenly wanting a LOT more firsts. 

Andrea is preparing to deliver Baby Isaiah…my first grandchild without Cindy to help me know what needs done at precious times like this.  But I will figure it out, because there will be more!  Right, kids?  There will be MORE…right?

Josh is getting married in October.  It’s the first wedding that I won’t have Cindy to lean on as waves of nostalgia wash over me.  But it’s my son’s first, too.  And I am so proud of the man he has become.  So plan on Stevie being the life of the party, crowd!

Drew will soon make a major life decision.  Another first.

Good firsts.

Happy firsts. 

Firsts that are bursting with shouts of new life, rekindled hope and undiminished love.

And I smile, eagerly embracing this new round of firsts that I hope will never stop. 

How come I’m smiling?  Because I know my bride is smiling, too. 

She’s smiling— and I’m also smiling— because Jesus went first.   

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