Saturday, May 30, 2009

His Three Time Zones

Mike also has three time zones that he’s moving through from time to time.

The present, right now, what’s going on.

He’s weaning himself away from his law practice….despite valiant efforts by Jeremy the Angel to lock the door on May 1, Mike hung onto several cases that he just HAD to finish. There are two (were two, now one) for which he said he has a moral obligation to see to completion. Those lucky clients are getting the last and best of his legal skills.

And there are a few odds and ends, but just a few, in the locking of the office building. We have not disconnected the phone as yet and one administrative assistant is still on site. Our bookkeeper is also recalibrating withholding taxes and paying bills. It’s not that it NEVER ends but just not quite yet. Mike says that June 16 is the last day, the absolute last day, and I can help with the final once over. Then, we hand the key and the deed to our friend Van, who directs the Kokomo Rescue Mission. They will get our building and the parking lot, making the entire block which was once Bolinger now part of this mission.

We are filling our days with day-to-day. In addition to crafting a few more pieces of furniture in his shop, Mike uncovered another project, this one in the garage, one that has been festering for years. A friend ‘loaned’ him the shell of a Lotus because Mike offered to restore it.

I write here about things I do not understand. I have helped move the shell, lift the shell, upend the shell, and hold parts of shell together so bolts join parts. Today, it looks a bit more like an automobile, in a shell-kind-of-way. There’s a steering wheel and it’s attached to a column. No engine, no tires, no wiring as of yet. Yet.

And in Mike’s present, we are sharing sweet moments. At times, we are almost two halves of a whole, sensitive to thoughts and actions. We give voice to important things. We pray together. We laugh together. We share tears. And then more laughing. Always, we need to come back to that.

Coming time, the dying time.

Mike says that about every 10 minutes, he slips into this zone and it makes him ‘so sad.’ What will it be like? Who will be there? Will there be pain? It’s both natural and pointless to linger here so my job is to reassure him that I will be with him and, more importantly, God will be with him, and we are not there yet.

And then, the great future time.

Pastor Mark gave us a book by Randy Alcorn called Heaven. It contains intriguing topics like “What is life like in Heaven right now?” “What are the saints doing in Heaven right now?”

Alcorn has challenged some of my long-held beliefs, based on scripture, yes, but also my more metaphoric, symbolic reading of scripture. Using the same texts, he builds a case not to refute but to suggest that a more tangible reality exists in the next plane.

We talk about heaven. Who will he want to see? Who will be there to greet him? We know that Jesus will open His arms to this child. Also, we envision his dad, my dad, our son and…we both came to this...our favorite Wheaton professor, Dr. Joe McClatchey. As we talk, we can see their faces, each with its individual smiling personality, waving in the newest resident.

My brother-in-law mentioned today that as long as he has known Mike…they are childhood friends…everything has always been about competition and Mike always had to be first. They played baseball, they roofed houses, they collected the city trash, it was always a contest. “And look,” he said, “again, Mike’s going to be first.”

Mike looked across at me one day and said, “I’m going to miss you so much.”
Tears on both sides.
And then, God gave me this.
“You know, you won’t. And in God’s time, it’ll be a snap of the fingers and I’ll be with you again.”

My special privilege is to walk this path toward heaven with my husband. I will come closer than many people and, most probably, return to my normal attention. Will it leave me changed? I believe it will.

As we face Mike’s death, we find that we are distilling life to its essence. Most things that are normal concerns land in the trivial pile. Life is about the people that we love. Hold them close.


  1. I really need to read your blog before I put on mascara! Your insights and writing are wonderful, Lynne. Love to both of you!!

  2. This is a great book you are writing...