Just 9 months apart, Marilyn went to be with the Lord last week. She really did love Jesus and had a solid faith along with dependability that is rare in these days. She grew up in a Salvation Army home which I remember as 56 Lemon Street, Guelph Ontario. Her Mom, Ida, was my aunt, a half sister to my Dad. I didn’t know Ida and her husband Chuck as well as I would have liked to, and clearly, there were family issues going a long way back.
I’ve blogged before about my Grandpa Waters, who I did not know well. My Dad described him as loving, a good sense of humour who was all Salvation Army officer. Over the years I have met others who knew him either as the Chaplain to the theology students at Queen’s University or as a retired officer. Occassionally I have met people who knew him as an active officer but as his officership began in 1916 those people are fewer.
Whenever I was with Chuck and Ida or with Pat (Marilyn’s sister) or Ron and Marilyn I always felt that they were my connection to those days long ago.
So this week as we gathered in Guelph for Marilyn’s funeral service it was a reminder that in time all those names and faces begin to fade into history.
I grabbed a photo of this picture at Marilyn’s funeral – I know I have a better version somewhere (where is somewhere) so I am including this here to make my point. This picture taken around 1980 I believe, has Chuck and Ida sitting to the right of the photo. Pat is just over Chuck’s shoulder. Marilyn stands behind Pat and next to my parents. Wendy and I are squeezed into the top left corner. The large man sitting is my Uncle Bill. I only met him once on this occassion.
Here is Grandpa Waters, stationed with the troops on Red Shield Service during the war. You might see some resemblance to Uncle Bill. Though my memory was foggy I saw the resemblance the one time we met.
It was a bittersweet moment then to be in Guelph and to share with Stephanie and Matt as well as all the family and friends.
It’s a milestone, an achievement, an accomplishment that required lots of hard work, struggles through financial strains, many long days of reading and research and writing but today Jason convocated receiving his Master of Arts degree in Political Science.
When we brought Jason home from the hospital in January of 1984 we were overwhelmed with the responsibility that was suddenly ours – I was frankly scared! Over the years we’ve watched him learn to talk, walk, run – all the things kids learn to do. We were there when he rode his bike without training wheels, graduated from elementary school, went off to Australia for a year, moved to Peace River and the etc which makes up the past 15 or more years.
Jason has always had some things in common with his brother Philip – they are both smart! I know you would expect a father to say that, but it is true. Jason was reading books as a teenager that most adults would struggle with. He had some incredibly strong writing skills and he enjoyed working hard.
Philip enjoyed the whole outdoors, while Jason preferred sitting in the shade reading a book.
I have a memory that is very fresh though now 35 years old. Our first summer as parents we rented a trailer for a week. I took some of my books with me and sat in a folding chair under the trailer awning and read out loud to this six-month-old CS Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. I’ve often wondered if the reading out loud at early ages helped develop that love of reading.
Today we celebrate Jason – who is now an adult with three of his own children.
Congratulations Jason! Well done. We love you.
Dallas Wiilard writes, “if you don’t come apart for a while, you will come apart after a while.”
This next week is a wonderful opportunity for coming apart from the normal hectic pace of life, to change not only the focus but also the pace. I am desperately looking forward to it.
Yesterday was mostly travel but also connecting with a group of men, some of whom i know, but in creating a community, we begin to deepen our trust with each other.
I think about how Christ came in to his community building friendships and credibility with men and women, how he challenged their perceptions and beliefs, how he challenged their faith in God and assured them of His love. This week will be similar and, i believe that Jesus will be doing the same with us.
I am grateful for Wendy’s support and encouragement daily, but especially for opportunities like this.