A Glass of Water and a Missing Plate

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A Glass of Water and a Missing Plate

By Brian Craft

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I found myself sitting at the edge of the railing, drinking a cup of coffee while watching the waves come in one morning during the 2017 Widows Link Cruise.  The waves crashing as the boat moved through the water was such a beautiful sight to watch.  God’s creation being viewed on a marvel of man’s creation.  As I closed my Bible, I sat back and a thought hit me.  “As beautiful as a quiet morning in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico is, the most beautiful part of this trip was what I saw at dinner last night.” This is my first time accompanying Widows Link on the cruise, I did not attend the first two years.  One of the last nights of the cruise I saw something that was beautiful, warming, and full of the Love of God.  At dinner, I watched as twelve ladies sat around a table recounting the adventures they had gone on the previous five days.  At the same moment, the waiter (who had been amazing at waiting on us hand and foot each night) reached in to fill one water cup while taking a dirty plate away.  Something so simple yet so touching.  

You must understand, I have been working with Widows Link since before Widows Link was created.  I will never forget the look on my mom’s face when I mentioned to her, “Why don’t you become a missionary to widows?”  The look of wonder, shock, and overwhelming desire filled her face as tears streaked from her eyes.  Since 2011, the life of a widow is one I have seen first hand as she has experienced it. Working with Widows Link has helped me see even beyond what our family went through.  

So many things most of us take for granted are the very things that widows miss and long for so deeply.  Many times, I forget and take for granted how amazing it is to have someone at home who is waiting to ask me how my day has been, to share in cleaning up from dinner, or to fill up my water cup so I won’t have to get up from my meal.

The Widows Link Cruise is one of my new favorite ministry ideas because it helps feed so many of these widows' needs, all in a matter of 5 or 6 days.  I loved sitting at dinner and watching as widows from all over Alabama shared stories from their families, their hurts, and their victories in Christ.  As this waiter from Asia was filling up the glass, I saw Christ reaching out and reminding a woman that she was His child, she was holy, chosen, and dearly loved.  She is a daughter of the King, a child of the Most High God.  On this cruise, I watched connections being made and joy being experienced.  

As I listened to several of their stories as we filmed them, my heart and mind were overcome with a thought: “I admire these ladies.”  Many times, it is easy for widows to shrink into their pain and hurt.  Many spend years in isolation, never really feeling like they matter or that life can go on.  Pain and loneliness grip and strip many widows from living out their life on purpose and with joy.  The twelve ladies who went on the Widows Link Cruise in 2017, refused to allow their pain, hurt, and lack of companionship to rob them from living life to the full.  I saw women in their 40’s and 50’s swimming with dolphins and some widows in their 70’s exploring Mayan ruins.  Experiencing this first hand, showed me the power of this ministry.  Widows Link is about connection, discovering, and empowering widows.  Nothing I can imagine can effectively do this any better than the Widows Link Cruise.  Watching the dirty plates disappear and dessert menus being passed out, I couldn’t help but smile.  These women's hurts and pains may have been forgotten by the world since the funeral, but not by their Heavenly Father who loves them so dearly.  I saw that at dinner, in a full water glass and a missing dirty dish.

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Marlene Craft