Spending Time With John

At spring break, I looked at my calendar and realized my college daughters were coming home at the end of April. Yikes!!

I had a sinking feeling. I had to get into high gear. No time to blog.

The basement room where we store their college stuff (last year it was one daughter, this year it is two!) was packed. Packed with boxes from John’s offices.

The writing was on the wall. I had to face it. I have been meaning to face those boxes. Trying to force myself into action, I moved it all from storage into my basement last fall. My intention was to sort it out before spring.

But I didn’t.

Pain is easy to procrastinate.

I ignored the boxes all winter long. After all, it was the holidays, and then it was cold down there. Other days I was writing a blog or having lunch with a friend. Besides, I didn’t know what to do with all of those law books.

Honestly, I was paralyzed.

With my college girls on their way, my paralysis began to quickly thaw.

I got a little over ambitious. I decided that, not only did I need to clean everything out, but, while I was at it, I should just go ahead and move. Moving is always a terrific catalyst for extreme home organizing. After all, I have really good reasons for wanting to move anyway.

So, I looked around at houses for sale in the area. That was a good reality check. It is easy to say you want to move but seeing what is available gives you accurate perspective. I had a fresh appreciation for our home.

I was getting ahead of myself. And the Lord.

There were things that had to get done first. In my heart, I knew the Lord hadn’t asked me to do something extreme (i.e. moving). He had just gently directed me to the boxes…to the task that was at hand. I simply needed to move forward with. that. one. step.

So, I cleared my calendar last Monday morning to focus solely on John’s boxes. And I prayed. I asked the Lord to send someone to help me. I wasn’t sure who to ask- people are busy with their very real lives.

On that Monday morning my sister and I were on the phone and she said she could come help me.  I hadn’t even asked her, nor do we typically get together during the week. What an amazing answer to prayer!

An hour later, she showed up with her game face on and firmly, but gently, propelled me forward. Little sister became the big sister’s boss. I needed it.

Her tireless focus and energy kept me moving through one intimidating box after another. All the while, she respected the fact that I was tender. The things we were going through were holy in a sense. They were the very real hard evidence of John’s life and career.

We worked quietly.

All along I have known that going through the boxes would be one of my last opportunities to “spend time with John.” Every box, every file a portal to our past life. Whenever I read his writing, I hear his voice. It immerses me. His memos and notes and papers are all proof of how he engaged life with his trademark curiosity and insatiable love of people and learning and teaching.

The evidence of his life is overwhelming. How can he seem so real, so present but be so far away?

I separated wheat from chaff.  Medals from his years spent swimming, inventions he made as a kid, photos from his first cameras, college keepsakes, old resumes, papers he published, accolades from clients and students- all of it saved for this summer when I will go through them with our kids.

And we will treasure spending time with him together.

I don’t know what the future holds for me. But, I do think that faith means we are willing to move forward each day. We demonstrate we are trusting the Lord to meet us as we take the next step and anticipate His guidance. Sometimes the step is little.

A friend told me, “A boat has to be moving in order to be steered.” I think it is true.

So, in faith, this boat is moving forward and has an almost-cleaned out basement on board. Girls, you can bring all that stuff home now. I made room.

May the Lord give you courage for your next step, no matter how big or small and may there be a Sarah to encourage you for the task.

May the Lord bless you on every journey,


PS Sarah, I. love. you.