Well, it’s taken me quite a while to process everything, but I’m now ready to tell you about our visit to Alan’s sister’s home. They live in a beautiful ranch-style house in the hills of California.We’ve visited many times, including once for over a month when Alan’s parents died. Jan is five years older and has always been a fabulous “big sister” and somewhat of a surrogate mother. In all the years we’ve visited, we were never greeted like this before; there was a low-hanging cloud gloomily engulfing the entire area, as if even the weather mirrored the heaviness of our hearts.Many things had not changed since our last visit, like their next-door-neighbor’s gorgeous estate…or Mr. Grey warming himself in front of a cheery fire. We all sat around and visited, but it just wasn’t the same without Jan.We sat around the kitchen counter like we always do…but that just wasn’t the same without Jan either.Jan has been the “center” of their home for years, and just having her resting on the couch for a little while, smiling with her eyes closed, made us all feel better!Joli and Bret are building a home just down the hill, so Joli showed me around.Everybody’s been helping big time, and Uncle Frank is building beautiful cabinets. It’s going to be really lovely when it’s done!Joli has some fat, sassy laying hens and a chicken coop. The home in encircled with gardens, flowering trees, and an orchard Jan plantedand full of inviting places to sit and rest a while.Truly, Frank and Jan have built an idyllic spot for their children and grandchildren to enjoy life.Jan just retired last summer after being chosen as the “California Teacher of the Year.” She and Frank took a circle tour of the U.S. in their corvette last summer to celebrate, visiting us and many of their favorite relatives and friends.And now, just months later, she’s been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer in her neck and lungs…one from which she will not recover.In the midst of this great sorrow, Jan shared the joyful news that she had contacted a family friend who is a pastor and had made sure that all is well between herself and God, sealing her decision by wanting to be baptized!The cloud lifted, the rain stopped, and this is the glorious sunset God gave us as we left that night. I believe even heaven and the angels were rejoicing with us!
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him…and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Therefore, comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).