It’s been three months since I last posted in this space. On June 11 I wrote about changing seasons and as the last tomatoes now ripen on the lone patio plant, and a few leaves begin to lose their green, I reflect on the past weeks and anticipate the future.
Instead of trying to write new thoughts, perhaps it’s best if I simply copy some of what I wrote to friends after Bob’s memorial service on August 10th:
I repeatedly heard these words: “It was a ‘Bob service.'” I’m interpreting that to mean he was “present” and giving his approval (and perhaps a little surprised?) as children and grandchildren expressed in their own words how they saw and experienced Bob. Words that repeatedly surfaced: irrepressibly happy; filled with joy, humility, bombast, gratitude, heavy love—for God, family, strangers; adventuresome, curious, generous, a listener… We cried and laughed. We listened in awe to a men’s quartet enthusiastically sing Bob’s request: “Wonderful Grace of Jesus,” and the haunting, magnificently sung solo, “I Can Only Imagine.” We were comforted by the tender words of Rev. Dr. Jennifer Holz.
But that was then and this is now. Without too badly denting the bank account, I’ve handled computer issues and car problems. I’m (usually) preparing nutritious meals-for-one, and looking forward to a few lunch and coffee dates with friends. A Wednesday evening class at church on the works of C.S. Lewis stimulates the brain and provides fellowship.
Two words leapt off the page as I recently read the familiar verses of Isaiah 43: But now… After chapters describing judgment and war and disease, God reassures his beloved people of their future—that they are redeemed, loved, and protected. However, it was those first two words that resonated: But now… After the past six years of living with Bob’s health challenges, I am hearing But now… I cling relentlessly to this promise: The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged (Deuteronomy 31:8).
Perhaps you, like me, face coming days with more questions than answers. Stepping into new groups, eating alone at a restaurant, hearing only my voice cheering for the football team, plus scores of other new experiences are indications that I am entering yet another a new season.
Although the days here are still warmed by leftover summer sun, I know that the inevitable wind and snow and storms lie ahead. It will be—it must be—during those days that I will need to remember that the God of past seasons is the same “yesterday, today, and forever.”