My laptop died – and also some companions on my journey with Jesus.
The death of a laptop is inconvenient but with a small amount of money and more patience than I possess one can move on without a large sense of loss. Roy Thompson lost his son over a decade ago. He said you never get over it. It is like losing your arm. You do learn to live your life without the arm, but you never get over it.
There have been several who Kay and I have lost in the past but 2011 has been filled with many too many losses. In January sweet Jason Malouf was taken home and while we celebrated his life the loss to all who knew him has been great.
When John Gilman left us in April I lost a companion who believed love was the primary thing Jesus wanted for us and I had been the recipient of that love for over 50 years as we walked together, wrote together, and loved our wives and others together.
The accolades that poured out for Roy and Evelyne Cook at their memorial services could have gone on and on. They were in our lives for over 50 years. They were a home base for us as we processed life – especially in the strange world of Washington, D.C. It is unnatural to walk through that neighborhood and not stop by for a cup of tea and laughter and wisdom.
Warren and Lenore Carter welcomed us to the West and invited us to be party of the first part in matters of the Kingdom in this part of the world. Losing them has been painful – only helped a little because as Warren’s health deteriorated he often expressed the strong desire to go be with the Lord and with Lenore.
Mark Hatfield died on August 7th. His leadership in Oregon for over 60 years has been reason for thousands to celebrate his life. My reason to celebrate included more than his public contributions. He talked me into attending Willamette University. It was at Willamette that I met Jesus. It was at Willamette that I met Kay. It was at Willamette that I met Doug Coe, Bud Sharpnack, John Gilman, Ken Rawlings, Jerry Minifie, Kelly Kenagy, and several others who shaped the rest of my life. That one decision began a wonderful journey..
One way I have experienced God’s grace is that death of a companion eventually frees the mind to remember and to rejoice in all the good things we shared along the way. And so Bill Bussiere, Kelly Kenagy, Bud Sharpnack, Shari Marsh, John Dellenback, Roy and Evelyne, Warren and Lenore, Ellen Hellyer, Stu Murtoff, Gibby Parent, Nancy Meyer, Ray Nelson, Mary Swanson, Jonathan Coe, B. K. Kirya, Samuel Nimabona, John Reid, Bill Mitchell, and on and on are still shaping my life. I have lost some parts of the Body, but the effects of being joined with them will last for eternity.
Years ago one of my friends said that our sorrows are multiplied by our regrets. When we have lost someone and we regret all the ways we did not live our relationship with them in full measure there a many regrets that add to our sorrow. The wonderful insight on the Last Supper by Fredrick Buechner has encouraged me to engage fully each time I am with valued companions.
“I think of the Last Supper as haunting in another way as well—not just as a kind of shadowy dream of an event long past but also as a kind of foreshadowing of an event not all that far in the future, by which I mean our own last suppers, the last time you and I will sit down with a handful of our own closest friends. It’s hard not to believe that somehow or other there’s always going to be another time, and therefore it won’t have the terrible sadness about it that the Last Supper of Jesus must have had. But not knowing is sad in another way because it means that we also won’t know how precious this supper is, how precious these friends are whom we will be sitting down with for the last time whether we know it or not. The sadness is that we don’t see that every supper with them is precious beyond all telling because the day will come beyond which there will be no other supper with them ever again.” Secrets in the Dark by Frederick Buechner
Kent Hotaling — December 2011