Written by: Vivian Wilson
I’ve always said that a secret isn’t a secret of more than one person knows it. Saturday, I found that is not always true. My children, grandchildren, my brothers and sisters, and my friends pulled off the biggest surprise of my life. I said “I must be a little slow”, to which they replied, “no, we are just gooood!” So many people knew and I was clueless.
Last week I spent Wed. and Thurs. at the hospital with Dad. Thurs., he was discharged to a skilled nursing home for rehab. So I was really looking forward to the ladies retreat on the weekend. It was perfect timing. I needed time away from the challenges of life, and spending it with my sisters in Christ was just what I needed. Everything was wonderful. I was getting to know them, enjoying the music, the laughter, the meaningful discussions, when things changed.
I was reading in my room before dinner when there was a knock on the door. Tracy, a co-conspirator, answered it. Cyndi, another co-conspirator, announced that my son, Bob, was here to pick me up and take me home. It seems there was a “water leak”, apparently of great significance, at my house, and the plumber couldn’t do anything without me being there. (Sounds a little fishy when I say that out loud). Oh well, surely my son and my sisters of Faith wouldn’t deceive me, right?
When we got home, sure enough, there was water all over the carport. Thank you, Terry Dostel. (He actually suggested a cupful, but my son-in-law used a hose to get the desired effect.) So I cautiously opened the back door, looking down, expecting to step on soggy, wet, carpet. That is the precise moment that the lights came on and I heard shouts of “It’s your time” and a chorus of “Happy Birthday to You”, complete with horns and whistles. (My grandchildren loved this part). I looked up and saw a sea of faces flooding my den.
I was overwhelmed, tears flowed, and the hugs and kisses began. I worked my way through the crowd receiving hugs and kisses from family and friends, 75 of them. They came from California, Kentucky, Virginia, Austin, and all over Houston. I have never felt more loved in all my life.
I couldn’t that night, nor can I today, articulate the feeling that I experienced. I have had some time to think about that night and read the cards and letters that were written to me. The common thread in all of them is love.
God in his grace, gave me an extraordinary blessing. It seems that most of the time when friends and family express the ways their lives were impacted by someone, it is at that person’s funeral. It was my “funeral”, but I am alive! It was sobering and humbling to hear so much praise for me.
What I know is this: This experience is proof that God’s love, kindness, grace, and all His goodness flow through the lives of those who love Him and seek Him. What my dear and precious friends and family see in me, those things that have made and impact on them, are glimpses of Jesus. I would love to take credit for being all the kind things that they said, but in fact it is God’s love in me. And it is His love in them that was touching me at the very core of my being. God loved me through them and He loved them through me. I have no other explanation for the profound presence of love that I felt.
I thought of Eph.3:17-19. —-“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
I think we should have more “funeral” experiences for the living. I want to be more generous with my spoken appreciation of others, to let my family and friends know that they are important to me, and to affirm God’s presence in their lives.
So, I’ll start with my friends who come to visit every week here in our “Living Room”. You are committed to growing in the Lord, and you are a HUGE part of the blessing God has given us through this blog. Without you, I would not be so blessed. May God especially bless each of you today.
Love in Christ, Vivian