“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love . . . “ (1 Corinthians 13:13)
I learned something about memories and legacy this week. It’s been a bittersweet few days as we’ve been witnessing the transitioning of John’s dear dad to his new home with Jesus . . . The transition was completed this morning, after his being unresponsive for many days. But this blog is not about his death. It’s about life, and living.
We last saw him on Monday, and also visited my precious and soon-to-be 95 year-old mom. We’ve been unusually blessed to have them both cared for in adjacent rooms at the same nursing home. Though we will miss Dad dearly, we are rejoicing in his presence with our Savior. As we made the close to three hour journey home on Monday, there was plenty of time for memories to flood both of our minds about years gone by. You know . . . life lived, examples set, amazing memories from life with these parents that God chose to bless us with. We’re so grateful to Him. Because of the freshness of Dad’s passing, most of what I share today will be about he and Mom Aron, but there will be another post about my parents later.
Life when we were growing up was different. than it is today To you young parents, this may sound a little old-timey or even, dare I say, foreign to you. That’s okay. Your life will one day seem that way to your kids, too. Life goes on and things change with time. That’s life. But there are some interesting things about the precious memories that surfaced on our ride home and through the last few days. Let me share a few with you.
John’s dad was always a hard worker, faithfully providing for his family down through the years. After attending the UNH school of Agriculture for two years, he raised chickens and sold eggs to a wholesaler for many years. At one time, he had 5000 chickens! That’s a lot of work, for little income. At the time he closed the farm down, they were living off the money he could make by exchanging the grain bags that held the chicken feed. The years following found him working for a dairy, making labels at a factory, and doing custodial work at the high school. Whether it fit his resume credentials or not, he did anything needed to provide for his wife and five children. Mom learned how to use what he provided wisely. The Coupon Queens of this decade would be rookies in Mom’s Kingdom. She knew how to shop. She’d look over the store fliers to see what was on sale, then make her menus for a week or two in advance. Then she’d make her list, determining what store had each item at the lowest price. A list was made for each store, and then, if you were privileged to accompany her, you would head out, not knowing when you would return. Seriously. It was not a “run to the store.” It was an expedition. But one which, as I look back now, taught me much about being a good steward of my husband’s paycheck. And she knew what to do with what she brought home. She could take the simplest of ingredients and make them into something really tasty . . . because she learned to work with just what she had. How I envied her culinary skills!
At some point, Mom was blessed with a small inheritance of stocks, that she also managed well and didn’t “squander.” They purchased a small piece of land tucked away on a secluded pond that included a little shack, and I do mean “shack.” It was actually a rustic boat shelter, but they were able to squeeze three bunk beds in it, and I can’t begin to tell you all the memories that the family has of camping out over there on “the pond.” Memories . . . I don’t think there was ever a time I was present in Mom and Dad Aron’s home when there wasn’t laughter.
Around mid-life, both Mom and Dad accepted God’s call on their life, and chose to follow Jesus as their Savior and Lord. They became faithful disciples, sharing their passion for Christ, and the gospel with their family and friends. They “lived” their faith and were a great example to their kids and grandchildren, who I’m sure, to this day, carry the imprint of their grandparents’ faith and “lives lived well.” I remember, when Mom went home to be with the Lord, Dad being so strong, because he knew she was safe with Him.
How did they do it? As I said at the beginning of this post, both of our parents managed whatever they had well. They knew the difference between needs and wants. Did we as kids have everything going that we wanted? No. Did we suffer for it? No. We learned early that the most important thing for them, financially, was to feed & clothe the family and have a roof over our heads. The mortgage was paid first , then the groceries, and then . . . .
No, money did not flow freely, but what did flow was hard work, character, integrity, faith, and one more thing that God used to hold all of the above together.
As John was going through some papers, and things of his dad’s a couple of days ago, you can imagine our moist eyes as he discovered the above photo neatly tucked in Dad’s wallet along with the “kiss.” Pretty, isn’t she? Mom appears to have sent the ph0to to him, with the kiss, while he was overseas during W W II. I can only imagine how many wallets have held that treasure! Now that’s a kiss that lasted a lifetime! That’s a LOVE that lasted a lifetime! And that, my friends, is the thing that holds every aspect of our life together. Love is not always easy in the hard times. And there are hard times! There are days you may not feel the emotional “high” of love, but love is not just a noun. It is a verb. We choose to love and stick with it!
When all is said and done . . . what will be remembered of you? What legacy will you leave? I only know that of all the memories that came flooding over us this week, I realized that there was not one “material” thing among them. The things we remembered were times of laughter, times of doing things together, demonstrations of character, integrity, and work ethic, priorities lived out, faith, and most important of all, a commitment to love for a lifetime. That’s a legacy. So, thanks for the memories, Dad. Thanks for the love. And thanks for the legacy. We love you, and we will take good care of Mom’s photo and her kiss. Perhaps John will keep it in his wallet for you ’til we meet again . . .
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love . . . “ (1 Corinthians 13:13)
That’s the view from here . . .