Ray and I left home on Friday to go to Columbia, Tennessee, for his high school reunion. Ray and I talked about how glad we were that we were there together. I loved hearing stories from Ray’s childhood.
I’m glad I didn’t miss that.
We’ve been to so many that it has become a bit of a reunion for me, too, since I enjoy seeing people I have met at previous ones. Of course, many people didn’t have a clue who I was unless I was right beside Ray and they guessed that I must belong to him. One of my favorite reunion giggles to myself was when I saw another woman look straight into my face with that, “Now, who are you?” look. I knew she wasn’t supposed to know who I was since I wasn’t in their class, but she didn’t know that! This happened several times.
Those of you who have been reading Daily Encouragement for a long time know that I love to find out about good things that are happening in the world. This summer I have been especially glad to hear good news in the midst of so much bad news. I heard a lot of good news this past weekend. As I share some with you, I’ll make up the names, just in case some of these folks would rather “keep their names out of the paper.”
Don is now a judge on the state court of criminal appeals. For thirty-six years, he has worked with Boy Scouts. I know the Boy Scouts are controversial these days, but I am confident that Don has been involved so that he can bless boys. In the last few years, he has worked with a troop of homeschooled boys and he spoke of them with high praise.
Jack has MS or something similar. He always makes a point to encourage Ray and me at every reunion.
June has spent her life helping others as a nurse, including time in the Peace Corps. She can’t imagine ever retiring.
Janet is the head of the teacher training program at a Christian university, but she has grandchildren who are homeschooled.
Linda and her husband have spent their summers in his home state for decades. Now they live there permanently while being serving members of a small church in a very worldly part of the country.
Tina worked in a caring profession until she retired. She has suffered great difficulties in her family, but she is a joyful person who devotes volunteer time in Stephen Ministries to help others.
On Saturday night Mike spoke briefly to his classmates and their spouses. He encouraged us: “If you still have your parents, be close to them. Take care of them. You’ll miss them.”
Ray was especially excited to see Tommy. They played together in the same neighborhood and I have heard Ray mention him many times.
Tommy is an example of exactly what Mike encouraged his classmates to do. Tommy’s sister has taken care of their mama in the past, but when his sister moved to be close to her grandchildren, Tommy moved his mother into an assisted living near his home so that he could take his turn. It was Tommy’s wife Judy who first talked to me about this. She said that Tommy goes to see his mother often. Judy said, “He’s a mama’s boy. I don’t mind.” It takes a mature woman to be really okay that her husband loves his mother and to be willing to give him time to take care of her. Throughout the weekend, I saw loving affection between Tommy and Judy, too.
Ray told Tommy how much he appreciated Tommy’s mother welcoming him into their home when they were growing up. Tommy replied, “Well, your mother, too.”
Ray and I actually ran into Jim and his wife Sherrie a month ago when they and we were in Nashville for a concert–a fiftieth reunion concert for five bands who had been popular when we were all children. When I came out of the restroom, Ray was talking with a couple I didn’t know. Ray had already heard of what I’m about to tell you now. He put his hand on Jim’s shoulder, told me how very proud he was of Jim, and then related this story.
Jim had a career as a banker until he retired to care for an elderly parent, but not his own mother or father. Jim retired to “sit with” his mother-in-law. “Sitting with” is a term we Tennesseans have long used to describe what non-medical professionals do when they stay with and take care of the needs of an elderly person. My own Granny had a long career of sitting with elderly folks.
Jim sat with his mother-in-law with such grace and caring that after she died, other people in Columbia began to ask him to sit with their loved ones, too. Jim told them yes. And now, he is sitting with his own mother.
Ray’s classmates were once little children growing up in homes with their mamas and daddies. Now they are making a difference in the world. By loving and training your children each day, you, too, are rearing children who will make a powerful difference in the world.
Whatever you do in word or deed,
do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks through Him to God the Father.