It’s 4pm. It looks and smells and sounds and feels like Spring has arrived. I’m sat at the dining table; in the house where my Annie grew from tiny cell to toddler to teen to teacher. In fact, I am sat in the very seat she would always commandeer when we’d come back to visit Mom Ruth as Mr and Mrs Muliette; the seat directly in front of the radiator – the hot seat! Oh, I miss her. I miss her very much.
I’m taking a week-long relocation and dislocation. Relocating to Hayes, staying with Mom Ruth; and dislocating from my home phone while I commence the journey up Mount Admin (or is it down Paperwork Pit?). There’s such a lot to do. I’ve not come here to complete it, I’ve come here to get the measure of it and begin the process. I am hoping that a week-long focus will help me to get a good head-start.
Before me is a selection of box files, a telephone, my Macbook layered with various spreadsheets, websites and electronic text files and a selection of half-empty and half-full cups. But my bible sits near too. As I began my day on Monday I opened a brand-new file and saved it ‘Post Death Administration’. I didn’t like the sound of that file-name and so I opened the document by journalling my prayer:
Monday, April 8th 2013
Prayer: Lord, please lead me and guide me. Please help me to love you by obeying your commands which will bring me peace and joy. Your commands are not a burden. Help me to remember some of those commands which will be especially helpful in the process of all this admin. Help me to not be anxious about anything (Matthew 6:25-34) but to pray in all things (Ephesians 6:18) – especially as I will hit frustrations I am sure. Help me to not love money (Matthew 6:24; Hebrews 13:5) – this will release me from fear and anxiety. Help me to love my enemies (Mathew 5:43-48). Not that I expect any enemies but those customer sales reps who take more money from me at this time will certainly feel like that. Please give to me the wisdom that comes from above (James 3:17). I do not want to waste what I have (Matthew 25:14-30). I am thankful for it and I desire to honour You and serve You with it (Colossians 3:17). I ask this in the name of Jesus my Lord and Shepherd. Amen
Nothing cuts the bondage of red-tape better than the commands of the Jesus I love.
In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, – 1 John 5:3
There are many more things to think about and process in the coming weeks and months; things beyond admin. One of those things is whether I continue with this blog. This will be something that I commit to seek the Lord only on. Whether I do or I do not, this will not be my last post. At some point I aim to upload the Thanksgiving Service video in segments.
Another thing that I desire to commit to doing is writing personally to all those who assisted me and the family in preparation for the funeral and thanksgiving service. My desire is each day to handwrite a letter to the many individuals who were involved. I desire to use part of each of that day raising them up to the Lord in thanksgiving and prayer. So, if you’ve not heard from me yet, please bear patiently and know that I will – if the Lord wills and does not return before! – reach you.
Of course, I would love to have written to every single person who came and joined us on the day. Everyone. Every person seated. Friends, neighbours, family, guests…all of you. I am not sure I will get that time but I really want you to know that I am so thankful to God that you came. For those of you who came and left without the Lord Jesus Christ. I want you to know that I am praying for you. I might not know that you came – the sea of faces I looked out on made identifying you harder than a ‘Where’s Wally’ (I believe he’s fondly known as ‘Waldo’ in the USA) picture. However, I know that God called you to come. You might not know that; but God does. He had an agenda beyond yours and I pray according to it. For those of you who came and went with Jesus, I want you to know that you contributed a part as important as those who took to the platform. You were part of the Lord’s means of giving me (and the many others who stood and sang and played before you) great strength and peace and joy. Perhaps some of you came without Jesus but left with a greater desire for Him…? How much I am praying for you. I encourage you, don’t try the journey alone. Talk to another Christian about it – just tell them exactly where you are at. Even if presently – as one person explained to me after the service – you’re just sitting on the fence when it comes to God; at least there is a fence in your picture and that’s progress. Find the Christians who will bear patiently with you and not try to force you into snap decisions.
Following Jesus isn’t about a decision or series of decisions; it’s about a wonderful new life; a new journey – a far greater one, a far better one, than we could plan for ourselves or experience. The Lord is a Good Shepherd and He’s used to going the distance to find you and lead you out of every pit and through every valley.
Thank you again for your part in Annie’s Thanksgiving Service. Following our wedding day, Annie and I spent an equal amount of time reminiscing and also reflecting on things we would do differently if we had to do it again. It’s weird to look back on a funeral and say with confidence and thankfulness to God – it could not have been better.
To God be the Glory.