The Fall of Our Lives and Goodbyes

Fall leaf glasses

The season of Fall has arrived, so says the calendar. A couple of years ago I also stepped into the Fall Season of my life via the big 6-0. When we were in our twenties and thirties, we believed the world was our canvas. So many hopes, dreams and possibilities lay before us. When I reached my forties, there still seemed to be hope for reaching all types of new goals and completing the yet-to-be attained long-term dreams. As I stepped into my fifties, I realized that I was starting down the other side of the mountain of my life’s journey; the realization that some dreams would never be fulfilled hit me hard. Now that I’m in my sixties, I’ve accepted a lot of the realities of life as a senior citizen but not all. At times I realize that some of my old career goals have popped into my mind and I’m deceived for a few moments, thinking that I’m still pursuing the corporate ladder. Then I pull myself back to reality and remind myself that for 35 years I had yearned for the day when I wouldn’t have to wake up to an alarm clock at 4:45; I remind myself that I am in that day and should appreciate and enjoy it to the max.

There are some real tough elements to the Fall Season of our lives. Recently a friend slipped into eternity suddenly and unexpectedly. Within a couple of days of his passing, I wrote a tribute to this very Godly man, which I intended to post on this blog from the cove. My heart was so heavy for his wife, my dear friend, that I just couldn’t post the tribute; it seemed inadequate. Everyone who knew our friend knew that he had lived his life in the image of Christ, that he deeply loved his wife, children and grandchildren; that he was a dedicated servant of the Lord Jesus – his life was spent serving his family, friends, neighbors and community. Therefore, most everything I had written in my tribute was shared by others at his funeral. It felt like I couldn’t adequately voice a tribute which our friend deserved.

To his family and friends, it seems his life was cut short; he will definitely be missed by all and will leave a void in the community which will be hard for others to fill. I don’t know what God’s plan was, if our friend had completed the fulfillment of his days or if he went home early; we will never know while we’re here on earth. What I do know is that our friend had poured out more love & dedication to his wife and family, more service to his neighbors, friends, church and community than most people do. Our friend leaves a tremendous heritage and legacy. The Lord spoke in depth to me about how that legacy will last forever; the impact he had on his grandchildren has permanently influenced who they are and who they will be as citizens, and some day as marriage partners, parents and grandparents; those he led to the Lord, mentored and prayed for were also impacted & changed and will pass that impact on to everyone whose lives they touch. Additionally, our friend saved at least 5 lives through organ donation; more lives, more families impacted. Because like our friend, we have all accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are secure in the knowledge that we will see our friend again in heaven. I smile in confidence that our friend heard the words “well done good and faithful servant” when he arrived in heaven. My fond memories of our friend include him picking blueberries in our yard with his wife and of him washing dishes in our kitchen, a dishtowel tossed over his shoulder. So, we said farewell to Marty, a Godly man, and now we are sending thousands of prayers heavenward for his wife, Sandy, and their family.

A number of us ‘seniors’ who are mutual friends have been pondering this Fall Season of our lives over the past couple of weeks since our friend passed. Many of us routinely remark about how, in our minds, we still feel like we are in our thirties. Consequently, it’s a shock and wake-up call when something reminds us that we are in the midst of our personal Fall Seasons. We ponder what it means, what it might mean in the future. We are reminded to not take one another or our lives for granted.

On the other hand, we need to remember that it is ‘only’ the Fall Season of our lives and not our Winter Season. Many of us most likely have a lot remaining to do; we most likely haven’t completed God’s destiny for us yet. Our physical abilities aren’t what they once were and we look a whole lot differently than what we thought we would when we hit our latter years. Many of us have to adjust the means by which we walk out this journey but we keep pushing on. For me, this means alternate forms of ministering and communicating; my physical abilities are greatly limited and I can’t get out and about like I did formerly so God has given me a new set of tools. For the past two years, the Lord has been saying “write”; though it caught me by surprise, I said, “O.K.”

I wasn’t mentally prepared for the Fall Season of my life and didn’t particularly want to embrace it. However, I have always been one to keep pushing towards the goal, even when the goal seemed unreachable or fuzzy. I admit that there have been quite a few times in my life when I got off track and went in the wrong direction but now God is using the hundreds of hard learned lessons to help others. We know that scripture says that God will bring something good out of those mistakes. He won’t allow them to be wasted. The way He’s using my past right now is through the written word and creating stories.

It may seem that our glass is half empty at this stage of our lives but we can choose to see it as half full; indeed we may only be halfway through our journey. We may be seniors but we still have a lot to give! Lord thank you for all you have deposited into my life; all of my blessings. I look forward to each new day; after-all, there are unique sunrises over the water every single morning and lots of interesting things to see around the cove. There are praises to be sung, prayers to be prayed, lots of things to learn and new books to write. I can’t do what I once did, my joints scream in pain and my hands shake but I have to keep going even if I have to push harder to do it. Besides, I have a different purpose now here in the cove: mentoring and encouraging the younger women, pointing out the way and sharing Jesus as the light for their paths and the Word as a lamp unto their feet.

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Enjoying a great book in the Olde Fishing Village

Story Keeper   Love this story!

   Greetings from Grandma Abigail and the Olde Fishing Village!  Things are winding down a little here in Blue Heron Cove. Many of the summer visitors have returned home so it’s time for Pap Wayne and I to have a little R&R time. You know that a few of my favorite things are sitting by the waterfront, mentoring other women and reading books by my favorite author. How wonderful to sit here on the porch combining several: enjoying the sounds of the harbor, the scent of the sea air and devouring the book ‘The Story Keeper’ by Lisa Wingate.

   Precious gems, diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds, are emerging as I journey through the interwoven stories and mysteries. I’ve been encouraging all of my women friends to read this book and yesterday I even recommended it to a young man at church. There are hidden treasures in ‘The Story Keeper’, literally and figuratively. Finding positives in what appeared to be major negatives in one’s life, learning to stop running, to turn around, look the scary past in the face and discover its redeeming qualities, that’s some of what I learned. I think it’s natural to make the quick assumption that there is nothing redeemable in one’s painful memories and experiences but it’s just not so.

   Jen and some of the other characters in ‘The Story Keeper’ have been doing their best to escape the poverty ridden history of their Appalachian Mountain upbringings. Mistakes, bad choices, abuse and fear are offered the opportunity to come into the light. Will they all exchange their personal captivities for peace, truth, courage and freedom? I can hardly wait for you to finish reading The Story Keeper so you can come on over and join me on the porch so we can chat about our discoveries.