Thursday, November 22, 2012
Over the next couple of weeks I am going to be addressing some of the questions that have been submitted to me about dating a widow. I always welcome more questions so if you have any that arise over the next few weeks feel free to ask away.
One question that Vee and I have been asked over the last several months has been about our thoughts/views about heaven. This question has been asked in various ways but last week one anonymous comment asked "Do you worry about what will happen when you, Vee and Jeremy are all in heaven at the same time?" (I guess this is presuming I make it there :))
This can be a tough question for all involved and since it falls under the topic of "religion" (a sensitive topic for most people) it can be even more complex. Let me first start out with how Vee has described this question in the past. Although I have not lost a spouse and I certainly don't want to try to put words in the mouths of others, I have found that most widow(er)s find a great sense of peace in thinking about seeing their late spouse in heaven at some point in the future. Vee has spoken and written about this topic several times in the past. Her hope is that when she dies and enters into heaven she will be reunited with Jeremy and that they will be able to spend some time there together. This thought brings her hope. It allows her to find some comfort in knowing that she will one day get to see Jeremy again face to face. Her belief allows her to, in some small way, cope with her loss.
Before I share my thoughts on heaven I should probably preface a few things. First, while I have a Master's in Theology I am not expert in this subject. I have my own thoughts and opinions but it doesn't mean I am right.... nor do I think I have the answers to everything. Second, while Vee and I have talked about this subject before I am usually very brief about this subject because I know my thoughts about heaven are not a popular opinion in most circles - especially in the widow(er) community. Third, heaven is a subject that Vee and I have talked extensively about. We respect each others opinions but don't always agree on what heaven may look like. Last of all, I have noticed that most of our societal views on what heaven will look like come less from what the bible describes and more from our desires and hopes for what heaven will look/be like. Having thoroughly scared you and primed the pump for you to be completely angry at me... here are my thoughts about what will happen when Vee, Jeremy and I are all in heaven together...
I do believe that we will see our loved ones again in heaven. I believe that one day Vee will get to see Jeremy again. I believe that if I enter into heaven Vee and I will see each other as well. Where my beliefs differ from most is that I do not believe that my relationship with Vee or Jeremy's relationship with Vee will be of primary importance when we get there. On earth we are incomplete - we are distant from God who is the Only Being who can fulfill us. Without getting too much into theology, I believe that while we experience God's presence here on earth we will experience it to the full in heaven. We will finally be complete. There will be no more aches and pains. There will be no more sin or hurts. There will be no more death. And, there will be no more distractions that keep us from living fully in the presence of God ... things such as: Facebook, or tv, or money, or stress... or even spouses.
Now, obviously I don't mean to suggest that spouses are a bad thing or keep us from living for God - on the contrary - I believe that Vee helps me have a deeper relationship with God... but I also know there are times where I place Vee on a level that distracts me from God. In heaven I don't believe we will feel the need and longing for our spouse in heaven like we do here on earth - our attention and desire will be for God. Will we recognize our loved ones in heaven - I believe so! Will we be happy to see our loved one in heaven - I can't imagine it another way! I am not sure, however, that we will have spouses in heaven.
Having said all of this, I think the underlying question might be "Who will get Vee's loyalty in heaven?" or "Who is really Vee's true spouse?" To answer the first question I would say that when we get to heaven Vee's loyalty will be to God. To answer the second, I think that Jeremy and I are equally her truest spouses. I think that there is a tendency for some to think (and for those who date widows to feel) that the second marriage is "second best." While I think its normal and natural to have times you might feel "second best" it's probably best and most helpful to allow your widowed girlfriend/spouse to speak into that feeling for you. Vee continually reminds me that I am her choice, that she loves me, and that my presence in her life is as meaningful and purposeful as her marriage with Jeremy. Another way of saying it is this: Veronica's love for Jeremy is no more diminished by my presence then is her love for me diminished by her past with Jeremy. Once you learn to trust that the widow(er) you are dating truly loves and cares for you - the answer to who they "love the most" is easy for you to answer (even if others want to debate it).