I have been on a journey lately. Oh, not to any physical, tangible place, but a journey nevertheless. It has been a journey of learning to trust God, to seek His presence, to rely on His promises.
Part of the journey involves decisions my husband and I are making about an early retirement possibility for him. Part of it has to do with life and loss. Since early September, I have lost 2 women from my life, who taught me lessons I did not even realize they were teaching me until now. The first was a sweet friend, 94 years young, Vitie Sterban.
Vitie came into my life around 2004, through a Bible study for women at my then church. We first spoke when every woman there gave Vitie the business about climbing on stools to get down a clock to change the time for Daylight Savings Time – especially considering that she fell and broke her arm! We often talked after that, and I would call her from time to time and pick her up for lunch. She was amazing. She had more energy than I think I have ever had, loved to tell me all about her children, grands and great grands, even though I was clueless about who went with which family! She loved her Lord, her family, her friends and her church.
One of the most special days I spent with her was this past March. We went to Lancaster, PA, with her best friend (another 90-year-young lady), Vitie’s daughter and her friend, to see the Oak Ridge Boys. Spending the whole day with Vitie, listening to her enthusiasm for life, and her love of nearly everything was a joy. (It didn’t hurt that I got to meet her son, Richard!) Of course, either her daughter or I spent a great part of the day trying to catch up to Vitie – man, could she move!
But she taught me about joy. Joy in the Lord, joy in simple pleasures, joy in your friends. Vitie was unfailingly cheerful, positive, optimistic. Her smile could light up a room! She went ‘home’ to eternal joy with her Lord, Jesus Christ, on September 1st, but she will continue to bring me joy whenever I remember!
Another woman who I met through that same Bible study group was Joyce Silver. I did not know Joyce as well as Vitie, but she taught me much anyway. Even then, she was undergoing cancer treatments, but what a peace and joy she shared with everyone! She loved to have a houseful of people and cook for them. Joyce went ‘home’ in October out in Springfield, MO, where she has lived for the last 7 years, and her memorial service was just today. I am only just realizing what she taught me – how to be hospitable: abundantly, extravagantly, never grudgingly. How to be courageous and how to trust God in the good and the bad!
These changes have made me face the fact that, in this world, our time is limited. God gives us only so much time, and we need to spend it wisely along the way. How we live will help teach others and spread the Good News by our example. It’s a daunting responsibility.
So, I journey towards that home, too, with the lessons of these two amazing women to light my path, and teach me the way. May I be as joyful, courageous, trustful as they are, and may I in turn teach others much about my Lord as well!