This has been an emotional week. Yesterday, Janet and I celebrated our 43rd wedding anniversary. However, our plans were thwarted by a tornado in the area that caused us to spend a significant amount of time in our lower level, watching the weather updates and hoping that family members in the area were safe and sound. We were fortunate that the deadly winds passed north and south of us – leaving us untouched in the middle.
But throughout the years, Janet and I have enjoyed our special day together regardless of where we have been. And usually, the simpler the better. We did make an exception several years ago when we travelled to Hawaii, but that was the rare occurrence that only happens once in a blue moon. Usually, we try to get to the Greenbrier in West Virginia, a place that feels like home and is easy to adjust to. Regardless of where we are, I am always glad to have Janet by my side – that’s the important thing.
But this week also has brought sadness. People were injured in the tornado yesterday and today marks the third anniversary of the passing of Janet’s mother. Nancy was a wonderful mother, as well as mother-in-law, and nobody really expected her to pass away when she did. In fact, she died the day after our anniversary the year we decided to celebrate our 40th in Hawaii. It was a shock to both of us and needless to say, we cut our trip short and flew directly to Richmond, VA to make arrangements for the funeral. Our children brought our clothes out and met us there.
It was the first time that Janet had lost a parent – but I have been without my folks for many years now. And sadly, Janet’s father passed away only 18 days later – a real blow to the entire family. Both parents gone in less than 3 weeks. Of course, two trips to Williamsburg and two events to grieve.
Thankfully, Janet and her sisters have always been close and they have been there for each other ever since the death of their parents. Keeping the memory of their parents alive is of great importance to them and they get together several times each year to spend a few days staying in touch with one another and sharing their lives.
I think that it is safe to say that the entire family misses John and Nancy. John was the patriarch of the family and Nancy was kind, wonderful and nice to everyone. In fact, there was nothing to not like about Nancy – much like Janet, she was loved by everyone. And while we miss them terribly, life does go on and the pain of loss starts to fade with the years. However, it is nice to know that as believers, they are both with the Lord.
Paul affirms our place with the Lord in our verse for the evening. The apostle tells us, in 2 Corinthians 5:8-9, “we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.” My encouragement this evening is that God promises us that believers will be present with Him eternally. My prayer is that you, while suffering the sadness of loss, will rest in the knowledge that those who have gone before us, and who believe in Jesus, are indeed present with the Lord – for all time. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…