“This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” John 11:4
I spent some of today with a special family who recently lost their mother, Mary. Today was the funeral. In meeting Mary a number of years ago, I was touched by her kindness, compassion, and willingness to listen. One memory I will treasure is the time when I was able to visit with Mary a few weeks back – she was in the middle of her physical therapy exercises. She had recently suffered a stroke or something. Anyway, she saw me and said hello. Mary knew I had lost Regina and had sent me a card or two even when she was sick. Mary looked at me between a ‘phew’ and an ‘ouch’. She said, in her kind but probing way, “How are you, Fred?” I told her I wasn’t doing very well. She said, “It isn’t easy. But keep moving.” Then she kept doing her exercises.
I don’t know. It was pretty simple advice, obviously. But coming from Mary made it special for me. I guess I felt that if Mary had been able to do it then I should be able to do it. Just keep moving, she said.
Mary was 80 years young when cancer finally took her away from all of us last week. John, her husband, preceded her by about 9 years – Mary had said several times recently that she was ready to go. I think she was honest – not crazy or out of control. She was just ready to go. And she looked forward to what was coming next.
Mary was a lady of faith in God. And I understand that many spend sometimes their entire lives figuring out how to exercise our faith properly – what it should look like and what is right and what is wrong and on and on. I understand.
But when it gets down to it, I believe and am truly thankful and unburdened to know that – regardless of how right or wrong we may think we are getting things – God will shower mercy and grace on those who have exercised an honest love of and for others all in the name of God. And today, I found comfort in knowing that God is just and good and will protect and care for faithful servants. Mary was one of God’s faithful servants, I believe. I believe God is caring for her right now – she is healed from her nasty cancer.
It wasn’t easy today. I wasn’t sure how things would go but I wanted to be with daughter Anne and her family. I am glad that I was able to find the courage to do what I needed and wanted to do – grieve for Mary with her family.
Yes, I thought about me lots and Regina and the pain and hurt and loss – but several times I intentionally tried to push it away. I wanted today to be about Mary and her family. It all hurt pretty bad, for sure.
Following the service and graveside ceremony, we went to a special place near the homestead and had a delicious meal together. We talked old times, good times, funny times. We remembered stories, wondered about things, and laughed. We passed and shared our food – it was a country cookin kind of place – around the table. Carrots, green beans, roast beef, chicken, mashed potatoes. We fellowshipped well for several hours. Anne said it was just how Mary would have wanted it for her family and friends.
Thank you, Mary. I will try to keep moving.