Hello Reader and welcome back to the lifestyle blog. I’ve had a solemn week, understandably so as I’ll explain in a bit. Jan and I had a lovely weekend at home, I didn’t take him back to campus until Monday morning. He’s doing fine and his spirits are high, always a good thing for a mother to hear. October is his birthday month, so I guess my nostalgia is understandable as I feel particularly blessed to have him in my life. The more I embrace the principles of stewardship, the more grateful I feel that my Father entrusted him to me to raise as my son.
This month I’ve been spending some time with Donna, Mr. Grey’s second ex-wife who’s been such a good friend to me over the years since I arrived in this country. For a long time, she remained my only ‘family’ here in my state and occasionally she would watch Jan for us when Mr. Grey and I would steal away somewhere for a weekend getaway. In turn we always hosted her and Rachael, Steve’s daughter, on our family holidays such as 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Easter and even Christmas. Then she got remarried to Bill, we bought a home in a different town and moved there, and I changed careers and started working away from home, so we didn’t see each other as much anymore.
Donna’s Bill suffered a massive heart attack at the end of September and spent a couple of weeks in hospital. Eventually his left lung collapsed and there was nothing the doctors could do to save him. He passed away peacefully surrounded by his loved ones. When Mr. Grey informed me, I was away in Amsterdam. I visited Donna and Rachael as soon as I got back and we spent an afternoon together reminiscing on our new status and comparing notes on what had transpired in each of our cases, an exercise I found to be quite cathartic. I can only imagine the emptiness they must feel coming home to a missing spouse, a missing step-dad. Jan and I have experienced that emptiness; coming home to a missing spouse, a missing step-dad. Death and divorce are strangely intertwined even though the former is beyond our control and the latter is man’s doing.
Bill’s funeral service was held this week on Monday. After I dropped Jan off at campus, I drove straight to the chapel where I joined together with everyone else to honor his life. Mercifully, Donna and her sister Nancy introduced me to friends and family as Rachael’s step-mum –bless her, for I really didn’t know in what capacity I was there anymore, except that we are instructed by our Father to mourn with those who mourn. Spending time with Rachael felt like old times again as we discussed her career plans and sundry. It’s unfortunate how one man’s decision and ensuing actions can have a ripple effect on so many lives, displacing allegiances and relationships in the process. As we all grapple with redefining our new status and relationships, I’m grateful that we are finding a way to continue honoring each other in this new phase of our lives. Though occurring under different circumstances, the outcome is similar –that of an absent spouse for both of us and an absent father-figure for both our only children.
When I got back home, I played one of my favorite songs by Don Moen -when it’s all been said and done. 🎼 “When it’s all been said and done, there is just one thing that matters; did I do my best to live for truth? Did I live my life for good? When it’s all been said and done, all my treasures will mean nothing; only what I’ve done for love’s reward will stand the test of time. Lord your mercy is so great that you look beyond the weakness and find purest gold in miry clay, turning sinners into saints. And I will always sing your praise, here on earth and ever after, for you’ve shown me heaven’s my true home, when it’s all been said and done, you’re my life when life is gone.” 🎼
Death always makes us re-assess our positioning in terms of how well we’ve lived. Have we loved well? Have we accomplished everything we set out to do? Have we run our race the best we could? Did we live our lives for the good of others? Did we consider and esteem others ahead of ourselves? Did we leave people in a better state than we found them? Did our lives count for something? Did we fulfil our purpose? Are we ready to go back to our creator? Have we done our part in advancing our Father’s kingdom? Will we hear ‘well done good and faithful servant’ when we return to God? These and many more questions have preoccupied my mind in this period, making for a solemn week.
In the final analysis, only what I’ve done for love’s reward will matter after I’m gone. When it’s all been said and done, when my body gives up my spirit, and my soul takes flight for the heavens, all that will matter, dearest Reader, is -have I loved you well today?