Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Finishing well

Early this fall I stood outside the sanctuary doors and visited with a stooped, white-haired man with a quiet voice. I stood closer to listen, and those fifteen minutes of leaning near challenged me tremendously. I knew him best by his tweed jacket and my after-church visits with his wife. But this Sunday afternoon, our conversation moved beyond the weather and his stay in our quiet community. He told how he came to know Jesus as a soldier in World War II...how life and its fragility became very clear during that time. He lamented his body betraying him now by aging, how he had work yet to do even as he neared ninety. He shared his passion now to use his extensive research in plant pathology and berries to help orphans around the world.  He was helping develop programs in Africa and Eastern Europe that would teach lifeskills to these children and allow orphanages to be self-sufficient.

And then, a child was at my legs, naptime needed, and our moments together were over. We said good-bye, and I went home to ladle soup to tired kids and tuck Moses into bed. I have thought a lot about that conversation in the weeks since. In a season of life when many sit idly, this man still desired to use his gifts and skills to serve the most fragile children of our world in the name of Jesus.

How I have wrestled with this...my days so full, the weeks, months, years marching on...and I wonder how well I am spending this gift of time. In stooped years will I have a story to tell that speaks not of self, but of love for others?

This Sunday, as rain fell outside tall, arched windows I heard that this man went to be with Jesus. I am holding close the gift of those moments with him and praying that I, too, will finish well.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

A truly divine appointment. What a gift that he shared his life with you in his last days. His life is a lesson to me too. Thank you for sharing.