As you read this, I will be out of town with my sister, Sally. Her husband of 42 years died last spring after a long illness that left him house/bed bound. Sally hadn’t been able to leave town for over two years and desperately needed to get away. So, a few months later, we met in Las Vegas for a couple of days. At the end of the visit, she asked if we could make it an annual trip. So, now you know my whereabouts.
Sally is three years older than I am and we were always very close growing up. We even stood up for each other at our respective weddings (only four months apart!). We had a third sister, Joellen, who was the oldest and she seemed to always be “the odd man out”.
After our daddy celebrated his 80th birthday, we realized that we would one day be just the three of us. We vowed to work on forging a closer relationship while our parents were still with us.
We met a few times for a Sisters’ Weekend and were well on our way to a renewed and revitalized relationship. Then, two days after his 85th birthday, Daddy passed into eternal life. So, our master plan was proceeding “according to plan”.
Then the unforeseen happened. Joellen developed A.L.L. which is a fatal form of leukemia from earlier treatment for breast cancer. She spent seven months in the hospital before she eventually succumbed. Now our plan went haywire! It was just the two of us and Mom. Thirteen months later, we lost Mom as well. And then there were two.
So, what does this have to do with you? Have you ever read (or heard of) John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men? The title of the 1937 book came from a Scottish poem written by Robert Burns in 1786 called To A Mouse. It tells of how he, while plowing a field, upturned a mouse’s nest. The resulting poem is an apology to the mouse:
But Mousie, you aren’t alone
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Often go awry,
And leave us naught but grief and pain,
For promised joy.
So, while it is critical to be proactive about your life, especially your spiritual life, you can “have it all figured out”, but in the end we don’t know what God has planned for us.
My advice to you (and to myself, of course) is to keep your affairs—temporal and spiritual—in order. Nurture the relationships in your life. Maybe someone in your life is now estranged. Try to build a new bridge. Even if it’s not the right time for reconciliation, you will be more at peace for having tried.
We all know the parable of the Prodigal Son who was estranged from his father for a long time. And yet, when he returned home, he was welcomed with open arms. We believe that this is a true account of what we can expect from Our Father, but wouldn’t you rather come to him as his BFF (best friend forever)?
I encourage you to put as much effort as possible into your Faith Journey. It is not about just coming to church on Sunday. It is about the journey to closeness with God—coming to know Him in a way that is only attained through effort. Be ready for that final encounter; we do not know the hour or the day.