When I first blogged, probably a few years into having my own blog, I used to never mention myself until a friend and writer (L. L. Barkat) encouraged me to do so. And so I see what writing I do as not only in significant part a sharing of the faith, but about my own faith as well, often couched in struggle.
Now as I look toward the end of my life since I’m nearing 60 (of course we could have a few more decades, but one never knows), I am thinking of what legacy I might have left. In reality I see as significant whatever God does by the Spirit in and through Jesus on a given day in a specific matter which I may somehow be participating in by prayer, being present, or some other way in my life. Looking back, what ends up mattering are especially the relationships closest to us, to me- my wife and daughter and her family. And above all my life in God through the gospel and the church in being a Christian and a follower of Jesus. How our story fits as a small part in God’s story.
It is a broken life in some aspects, a key for me being that I could hardly get my feet off the ground because of deep emotional brokenness early on. Something that in a way I never fully overcame by faith so as to fulfill the calling I sensed from God for a good number of years. And that led me to give up and never really come close enough to realize that it was truly in reach until much later, when in some ways it was too late.
And now, if you will bear with me, I will share what I might like on my epitaph on a small tombstone. I would like to be buried beside my Sweets, my one and only sweetheart and love, Debra. Deb who I used to call Honey and now Sweets, has been my wife for 30 years this October. She has had to put up with my incessant anxiety and pointed criticism, which I hope is abating so as to be not as bad, hopefully moving toward not being offensive at all, since that should be my goal. I love her deeply with all my heart and life. There is nothing I would rather do than have a simple, nice getaway with her. In fact my favorite vacation ever (and I’ve had some mighty good ones) was when we spent a few days and nights on Mackinac Island during our 25th wedding anniversary.
Deb handles the finances and is right when we disagree I would say a good 90% of the time. I would have done much better if I would have listened to her even some of the time. But above all she is simply a wonderful companion. Quiet, which actually fits well with me, though sometimes there can be misunderstanding because of it. A person of strong, unwavering faith, not given even just a little to anxiety, worry, or fear, which is good, since I can struggle with all of that. They say there’s no perfect match, but if there was, I wonder who would be setting the criteria and based on what. And if in the end, such judgment would be found wanting. The Lord has used her to work on my difficult areas, to help me become aware of them in the first place. I feel completely at home with my Sweets. Of course there are problems we find with each other which are less than ideal. Welcome to training to becoming godly as we learn to submit to each other in the fear and love of the Lord.
Our daughter Tiffany is part of our family, though adopted, her biological mother being one of Deb’s sisters. We took Tiffany into our home and hearts close to her third birthday. It is a bit complicated, but she is as much a daughter as any other child would be. She belongs to us. Her life has taken some extremely hard turns and we try to be there for her and our dear grandchildren as much as we can, two precious granddaughters, Morgan and Mandie, and their father, Chris. They are always in our hearts and prayers.
We’ve been a part of too many different churches through the years. I admire those who are faithful in one church or denomination for decades. That is the ideal. This would easily take up too much space, so I would simply say that we love every church we’ve been a part of, no exceptions. The church has always been important in my thinking and practice of the faith, but has taken on new meaning through the sacramental life interpretation which I’ve adopted, along with the common life, all from the gospel of Jesus.
To bring this to a close, the word meaning scripture has been front and center in my life of faith for some time. Interestingly I work in the factory end for a ministry which is very much centered in the Bible, whose goal is to make its life-changing wisdom understandable and accessible to all: Our Daily Bread Ministries.
I used to listen to scripture being read, everyday for years, a good majority of the forty plus years I’ve been a Christian. Now I’m happy as long as I have both scripture (right now I carry a pocket NIV New Testament/Psalms and Proverbs pretty much everywhere) and a cup of coffee in hand. I try to slowly meditate over a book. I have that down pretty well on weekdays, and now am trying to get it down better on weekends. This is what keeps me going no matter what. To be in the word and hopefully get the word in me by the Spirit in and through Jesus, so that hopefully my life is becoming more and more conformed to his image. We need all of scripture. So I read the Old and New Testaments through as well in my complete Bible.
On our small tombstone I would like to have this verse engraved:
Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.
With a small cross probably after it.
And the a few words about my Sweets. Something like:
To the one, my dear one, who I love with all my heart, my companion in life and in following our Lord. Who deserved so much more. I love you, Sweets, and I hope we have a special place side by side forever, even as you get to be riding your horse, Duke, once again even with a paintbrush or pencil in hand.
My wife is often a person of few words, so not sure what she would want to have on it. And I know this post is only making a point. Whatever tombstone we may have will be much more simple.
Maybe this on the tombstone to end it:
As we await together the resurrection in the blessed return of our Lord Jesus.
And so is a shorthand summary of how I see my life. It would be interesting to see the same kind of summary from my friends and others. Of life now which is only the faint beginning of the life to come in and through Jesus.