This past weekend, some of my immediate family was sick, so I took my 7 year old son with me to join some friends for a celebration in Mt. Pleasant, which included a college choir, a band and orchestra, as well as community and alumni who joined the choir for a final concert. It was announced in March that Iowa Wesleyan University is closing forever this month and there was not much time for some to adjust to the news, including current faculty and students. I got my undergraduate degree from this institution, became a born again Christian there, and met many lifelong friends in the process. I have kept in touch with some of my former teachers and staff, and fellow alumni, but many I have not seen in decades. I could not help but think as we sang and sat there last Sunday, that this was a sort of funeral for this institution that has been in existence since 1842, long before our grandparents were even born. Have you ever mourned the loss of a favorite place, restaurant, business, or other institution that you have celebrated at one time in your life?
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: Ecclesiastes 3:1
Yesterday, I stopped by to visit with a friend who coordinates senior meals, and after talking with her, was invited to eat lunch with some visitors there. I had met some of these senior saints, several in their 90’s now, years ago, but even visiting now, I got to hear more of their life stories that I had not heard before. My father used to dine with these folks before he passed away, over 6 years ago, and I would join him on several occasions, but didn’t always get to have very lengthy conversations during those visits. We come to find out that each person has a story to tell, and if we just take a few minutes to ask some questions, there is much we can learn in the process. One of my favorite things I used to do with my dad was to take him to visit some of his friends he had known for over 50 years and they would sit and share stories with each other, and many of them I had never heard before. What questions would you ask of your parents or grandparents if you had an hour to sit and visit again?
Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. James 4:14
There are many closings and small deaths that we experience at different times in life, often without really realizing it. When we transition from one phase of life to another, when we move and start life in a new place, and as we watch our children grow, there are things that we will never experience the same way again. We can be somewhat sad when these things happen, or we can choose to celebrate those times as we grow and learn from them. May God grant us the ability to find joy in each experience we are afforded in this life and may we also have hope in those new opportunities we are given each day of our lives!
Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Proverbs 27:1
Yours in Christ,