Yesterday, Saturday, August 2nd, would have been my father-in-law’s 93rd birthday. That is, of course, except for the fact that last September, at the age of 92, John went to be with the Lord – eighteen days after Janet’s mother pre-deceased him. Needless to say, it’s been a difficult year for Janet and her sisters, Deborah and Nancy Dee. And as you have heard in the past, I have known my father and mother-in-law since I was a little boy – and it was very strange for me to not give him a call and wish him a Happy Birthday yesterday.
Not a year has gone by in almost half a century that I haven’t spoken with John on his special day. Until yesterday. And I couldn’t help but be reminded of the first birthdays of my own father and mother after their deaths and how odd it was for me at those times as well. When you are used to being a phone call away from someone and then, all of a sudden you can’t call any longer, it has a deep impact on you – or anyone else in a similar circumstance.
But, aside from the special reminder of August 2nd, things went pretty much as they do most Saturdays. We had a nice day and then attended church at 4:30, followed by dinner with our son, Andrew, and then we went for a walk. Typical Saturday. And that, in part, is what is so odd about life. Because we all have our rituals and the things we like to to. It’s difficult for us to imagine that if something happened to us, life would go on pretty much as it did while we were still around. Just think of the last time that you moved to a new neighborhood. Life went on in your old place without you, didn’t it?
And so it was with us and the rest of the Boyd family – things, after almost a year, are getting back to normal. Of course, we know that both John and Nancy are in a better place, and I have never seen someone confront death with the dignity and grace that John did. It really had am impact on me. And he had a great, long life, surrounded by a family that loved him and each other more than any other family I have ever been around, including my own.
The verse tonight is from Paul in his letter to the Ephesians. We are told, in Eph. 6:2, “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise – “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Certainly, Janet and her sisters did just that with both their parents. I wish our own children honored us the way our generation honored those who went before. But something tells me it just isn’t to be. My encouragement this evening is that God really does expect us to honor our parents – or, if they are already gone, to honor the memory of our parents. My prayer is that while there is still time, that you will do everything you can to take a biblical view of family and perhaps you will will have the kind of legacy that John and Nancy left their three daughters. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…