In October I found myself in a van full of college students on a road trip. A campus minister friend had invited me to tag along with him, his wife Gail, and a group of students. Our route just happened to take us through Gail’s hometown, a sleepy little place in northeast Kansas. It is a deeply rooted farming community where many families have been for generations. As we wound through town we passed a well-kept cemetery.
There have been three funerals in my church over the past year. One of the people I knew fairly well. None were in my circle of close friends. Two of them were a couple married fifty-four years, Jim and Barbara. Barbara lovingly cared for her husband in their home until his Alzheimer’s became so severe that it was too difficult for her. Once he was moved into a care facility, she visited him daily, looking out for his needs. She picked him up and brought him to church every Sunday. One of the holiest moments of my week was seeing her pull into the church parking lot on Sunday morning.
Here is fair warning. I am about to write a couple of articles on the topic of death, more or less. I would blame it on the fact that I just turned sixty but that wouldn’t quite be true. Even as a young person it seemed to me that I thought more about death than the average teenager.
I have hosted mini-retreats like this several times over the years for women in collegiate ministry. Women have joined me New Mexico or Colorado for a few days together. It never fails. Whether there is high content or low content. Whether there are three of us or ten of us. They love being together and listening to each other. They come away encouraged in the Lord. I am confident this time will be no different.
Guadalajara is a beautiful city. One thing that fascinated me the year I lived there was the abundance of statues and fountains all around the city. Some of them commemorate Mexican history or honor a military figure. Others are simply designed to be beautiful.
A few years ago my father was hospitalized with pneumonia and I flew to New Mexico to be with him. Late one evening I was stretching my legs while wandering the halls of Lovington General Hospital. I wound up at the nurse’s desk chatting with the nurse on duty. As we talked, I noticed a little sign on the wall by her computer station. It read: “People don’t interrupt my work; they ARE my work.”