I have several diminutive friends who are giants when it comes to prayer. They goad me, they teach me, they push me to that goal: conforming to the image of Christ. I think every believer needs such friends, people who love you no matter what and tell you what you need to hear, no matter the cost.
One such friend bustled up to Mike and said, "You know, if you hadn't gotten sick, you would have never quit the practice of law."
There's no reason to dispute this. I can count on one hand the number of local attorneys who have successfully retired and gone on to live out their years in peace and happiness. Wait, I can count them on one finger. Wait, no I can't.
More typical, and spoken in ironic cadence: "He died at his desk" or "They carried hm out from his office."
So my friend is probably right. We'll never know. What I DO know is that Mike continues to step into new arenas and experiences new sensations as he also continues to confound his doctors.
In our Christmas letter, I know that I made mention of smelling roses. I have been and continue to be grateful that God has given Mike this gift of extra time. And, as we working mothers used to say to assuage our guilt, it is quality time. The swan song desk and chair are now old pieces of furniture. He is nearing the completion of a boat (earlier blog); has located a small engine; will christen it by summer.
But, recently, through the mentoring friendships I have, God pointed something out to me. This extra time isn't really for Mike. We know, both of us, that whenever the sand finally runs out of the hourglass, Mike will take up residence in heaven. No matter how great might be the beach, the lake, the ocean, his workroom, our private times, Heaven is Heaven. He (and I) will run into the Father's arms and be ushered into unspeakable glory.
No, this extra time is for me. For our children and grandchildren. For his mother and mother-in-law. For siblings and spouses. For nieces and nephews. For friends old and new. For our believing brothers and sisters. For those in our circle who have yet to take Christ into their hearts. For the community, local and world-wide, who continue to join with us in prayer.
What a gracious and loving God we serve.