I can’t take credit for the statement, but I think it is a true observation. The observation is this: “No one is remembered for what they planned to do”.
“No one is remembered for what they planned to do”. How do you argue with that? In his book entitled “Love Does”, Bob Goff maintains that love is primarily a verb rather than a noun. Love is an action item rather than a feeling.
It had been my intent to do it differently, but I failed miserably. I told myself that I would stay in touch with Nancy and Ken. It was important to me because I wanted them to known they are important to our family of faith. Actually and perhaps selfishly, there was more to it than that. I wanted them to know their friendship is of value and importance to me personally.
Many years ago, I met Nancy and Ken through my friendship with Nancy’s brother, John. He always invited them to attend our Thanksgiving celebration and our Easter service at church. John was the kind of guy that never accepted “No” for an answer if he was anticipating a “Yes”. Consequently, Nancy and Ken generally met John’s expectations. They were in attendance on those two occasions and their presence always made both the Worship service and the fellowship hour that followed seem more special.
John was a robust member of our church and was always in the midst of much. One of his Spiritual gifts was engaging people to play. He was the kind of guy with whom everyone was drawn to share time. John, by his own admission, liked to “stir it up” just to watch and assess your ability to think on your feet and toss it back in his direction. He thrived on the back and forth stuff. I guess we both did.
John obviously had a playful demeanor. He was easy to like and fun to be around. That playful spirited demeanor was like a magnet that drew people to him. That magnetic attraction often culminated in a (I don’t know that competitive is the correct word), but his out-going spirited personality drew you into an on-going engaging experience with John. Consequently, John’s death on November 1, 2013, was a significant loss for all of us.
Somehow, having on-going contact with Nancy and Ken fills two purposes. They are dear people and delightful to be around. In addition, their presence also serves as a tangible reminder of the difference John made in our lives.
For whatever reason, Nancy and Ken didn’t make it to our Easter celebration last year. They also were not present for our Thanksgiving celebration. It was my intent to call, but you know what they say about good intentions. Did I mention that no one is remembered for what they planned to do?
This past Sunday morning as Sunday School was wrapping up, I caught a glimpse of Nancy and Ken out of the corner of my eye. They obviously were making their way to the remembrance garden located outside the fellowship hall at our church.
I silently excused myself from the class and hurried outside to join them. It was such a joyful time to reconnect. Subsequently, we made our way into the church for Worship. Just as the service was beginning, Freddie and Madison, a young couple and their infant daughter, made their way inside the church. By happenstance (I prefer to think it was Divine providence), they sat on the same pew as Nancy and Ken. Freddie and Madison are an absolutely precious couple.
The first Sunday that Freddie attended our church well over a year ago, he came without Madison. She was out of town. Freddie interestingly sat in the same location where John, Nancy’s brother, always sat. When I met him following the morning service, I found out he and his wife were new to the area.
As I looked toward the pew where Nancy, Ken, Freddie and Madison were sitting, I became a little teary eyed. In fact, in my welcoming remarks, I stepped down from the platform where I was standing and walked down the isle to the pew where Nancy and Ken were seated. I asked them to stand as I expressed gratitude for their friendship. I also highlighted that their presence served as a tangible reminder of our continuing love for John and for the many ways he had enriched our family of faith.
I then turned my attention to Freddie, Madison and their precious daughter Evelyn. I asked them to stand. I wanted to introduce them to Nancy and Ken. When Freddie and Madison purchased a home in Dripping Springs, they unknowingly selected the very dwelling place that John, Nancy’s brother, had built and made his home.
It was both a feel good and tender moment for all. One of the strengths that John beautifully role modeled for us toward the end of his life was his recognition of the importance of relationships.
John completely figured it out. He invested the final months of his life primarily focusing on relationships. He purposefully chose to invest his remaining time encouraging and helping others. John actually looked forward to going for chemo. The experience gave him an opportunity to interact with other patients undergoing the same thing. He made it his mission to cheer people up. He radiated with a sense of joy and purpose.
Ministry became his passion. John would be pleased to know that the new young family living in his home, have gravitated to the family of faith where he invested his life in friendship and service.
All My Best!