Jennifer Kirk

21 Days of Selah

February 3, 2023

Yesterday was the 14th anniversary of my first husband’s death. I do not fixate on the date of that event, so February 2nd doesn’t hold a landmine that forces me to remember. That “moment” is irrevocably woven into the fabric of my DNA. It is blood in my veins. There is nothing within me anymore that is not colored by Tom disappearing from the visible world.

I initially wrote “the loss of Tom” in that last sentence, but that is a wrong characterization. I cannot see his physical form, but I haven’t lost him. What was essential of him has never left me. I still call out to him when I need strength or protection. I am still connected to him through songs and memories and certain objects and especially through our children.

And his death gave me the greatest gift of my life. An interruption.

My entire life was moving at high speed in one direction. I was on my path. I had a 5, 10, 20-year plan. The rhythms were planned. The cadence was set. Delicious certainty.

Then one Saturday night, after we put our 3 young children to bed and were following our normal routine of deciding on a movie to watch, life slid sideways and onto a track I had never traveled. An aneurism had burst in his brain as I struggled to comprehend what I was witnessing. He died a few days later.

In the days and weeks that followed, I did my best to hold it together for the kids. But every moment that they were at school, or with a neighbor, I would take the only article of clothing that still had his smell and curl up in the fetal position and surrender to grief. It was going to have its way with me, and I let it.

There was no space for plans. There was no space for cadence. There was only the edge of a cliff where my old life ended. There was only Selah.

Over the last few years, I have intentionally introduced a pause to do a short, intense, writing series on various topics. It forces me to take the things that are invisible and bring them out into the light. In previously published installments, I have written about attachment and integration.

On Monday, I am beginning a new writing series called 21 Days of Selah: An exploration of the imperative pause. I’ll share a new piece of writing every weekday for 21 days.

Perhaps it will call you to stop, rest, reflect, contemplate, and to step back and consider what life is whispering amid your busy days.