It feels as though God is collecting; gathering His own. Though death calls each day and the "silver cord" is loosed, this fall has seemed especially full of farewells. Since my own father's passing I have witnessed several friends and acquaintances saying their own goodbyes. Two weeks ago a local pastor gave his dear wife into the Lord's arms and today I see that another old friend has also made the journey.
Back in 1984 we lived in a small two bedroom townhouse with our two little boys. That spring the apartment next door came available. When Clif and Ava moved in it was like we had known them for years; the bond of faith undeniable. They never looked on us with judging eyes, but loved, encouraged, and challenged us. Each afternoon my apartment filled with the smell of good food as Ava cooked lunch for Clif. One day the smell of food turned my stomach and I knew I was pregnant. We met their children and grandchildren, and shared stories of faith. There was once a concert in Clif and Ava's living room; a couple of young Christian guys who loved to sing and play together.
Clif had once been a youth evangelist. He had a heart for young people, and it showed, but mostly he had a heart for people. He had a dry sense of humor; he once told me I looked swell but then again, I was pregnant. Clif's wife, Ava, died of cancer sometime after we had both moved away from the apartment complex. When a friend, in her grief, had asked "Why you?" Ava had replied "Why not me?" I thought of her and those words when my own father was diagnosed. Clif leaves behind a second wife and a hurting family, but goes on ahead to those who passed before. Yes, he has been gathered also, and heaven smiles.
Welcome to the North Pole.
6 hours ago