Jo Ann’s funeral program read, “Celebrating a Wonderful Life.” Mel was so brave! After 39 years of marriage where they did everything together from kids to camping to playing in the M.S.U. alumni band to standing beside each other in the hand bell choir at church…after that long of constant companionship, can you imagine losing your mate in an instant? The hand bell choir played during the funeral, and Mel not only played his part, he rang Jo Ann’s bells too. What courage!
Mel asked Alan to bring some reflections on Jo Ann’s medical career. That took a lot of courage too. Alan won’t really be able to replace Jo Ann. As a 34-year veteran at the hospital, she had an expertise and insight that he’s not going to find already available. Alan did the adult patient care and Jo Ann did the pediatric patients…every day…for 16 years! That’s a long time working side by side with somebody. Mel was our family dentist; they were family friends. We will all miss them!
Grappling with the ephemeral nature of life and the painful reality of death is tough. I told Alan that if I die suddenly of a heart attack or accident…be happy! I will have gotten my wish. The only thing even better would be to be translated like Elijah, but unless the Lord comes back before I die, that’s not likely going to happen. Watching at the bedside of Aunt Annie, Mrs. Velde, and my parents has left me with the deep sense that death is indeed the most difficult thing any of us face… the last great “Headmaster” in the video game of life, and if I don’t have to fight long…so much the better!
But, we’re encouraged to “count it all joy” when we face tribulation, knowing that the fruit of enduring and learning to overcome our flesh by our spirit (through the Holy Spirit) will result in the love of God being “shed abroad”…given out to others…and in the end everything will turn out for good and “an eternal weight of glory” much greater in positive value than the negative losses we suffer here. Now, that’s a hope worth clinging to! Eternal life by faith in Christ, who died for us. Eternal peace and joy in heaven just by accepting the gift that God has already provided for us through the death of His Son. What a promise and hope!
Are you ready to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord this coming Sunday?
I am so ready!