Is it the Best of Times or the Worst of Times?

sue_lamon-swing.jpgOur family suffered a great loss on April 21 when we got the call that my mother in law, Sue Lovett, had passed away.  Losing a treasured loved one is such a crushing blow, but at the same time it is a great relief for her as I fully trust she has been released from her pain and suffering and is now with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  My greatest hope is to see her again when I too leave this world.

While losing Sue leaves a great personal void, it also allowed me to reflect on a number of things that she influenced in my life.  While I can never fully capture all of these thoughts in one blog post, I can share two or three that I think you will find meaning from.

1.  Much of my spiritual development came from discussions with my mother in law.  When my wife and I first married we often had disagreement due to our faith backgrounds.  Rather than take sides, Sue was always good to listen and to offer advice only when asked.  She often told me that she was praying for me and she never hesitated to tell me she loved me.  I sometimes forget to verbalize this to my other family members, but I will now make a concerted effort to let them know my love for them both by action and by telling them.

2.  Sue and Lamon were the greatest grandparents I have ever known.  I don't offer this phrase to be divisive, but I do share it because I saw the impact they had on the development of our two sons as they grew.  Many times while the boys were young they spent extended periods of time with their grandparents.  The trips they took have become experiences that the boys have never forgotten.  It was heart warming to hear the comments of each of the boys at Sue's funeral service.  As my wife and I look forward with eager anticipation to the arrival of our first grandchild later this year, I can look to my wife's parents as great role models to show how a grandparent can show love to their grandchildren.

3.  I learned much about patience and listening from Sue.  Many times in my life I have spoken before thinking.  I often joke that "filet of sole" (sticking my foot in my mouth) can be tolerated if seasoned appropriately.  I could share many stories about how she taught me patience and care when I would jump to a conclusion without first thinking something through.  I will miss the weekly calls we often had where we would just touch base and see how one another was doing.  What I will miss most is hearing her say that she loved me; something that came at the conclusion of each call.

Much of what I experienced while spending time in this world with my late mother in law has made me a better husband, father, friend and leader.  My hope for you is that you too can have someone who cares enough about you to share with you honestly and love you without reservation.

My life has been influenced greatly by both of my in laws.  My intent is to offer the same help to others when they ask.