As she reached for the weathered photo, her eyes lit up. She let out a hearty laugh. “Remember this?” It was a picture of their first date. Her husband of over 60 years looked at her with a gentle smile. I have a feeling he remembered.
Nancy’s memory was sharp and she proceeded to tell the intricate details of their first date which had occurred over sixty some years ago. His memory was not as sharp but he listened attentively as she helped to fill in the gaps of what he had forgotten over the years.
As I sat and watched them immersed in the memories of days gone by, I knew that I would remember this. I would remember the courage and joy that were so apparent in this woman of faith. She was battling cancer, and had been for four months at the time this photo was taken. She was in pain, but you would never know it. With each click of the camera, she was so very alert, very present, smiling with a light in her eyes. She knew that these pictures would be around after she was gone. I can’t help but think that she had in mind what she wanted them to remember. Joy. Courage. Faith. That’s what I will remember.
Nancy died two months after this photo was taken. Many have grieved her absence, but more than that, they have celebrated and been so very thankful for her presence in their lives. They remember the hearty laugh, the straightforward way she had of sharing her thoughts, and the sacrificial way that she showed her love for others. They remember her courage to push through pain and live joyfully in spite of her pain. They remember that it all stemmed from her faith in God and the love that she has for Him.
Psalm 103…a Psalm about forgetting not and remembering.
1Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits— 3who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 4who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, 5who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 6The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. 7He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: 8The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 9He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 10he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 11For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 13As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; 14for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. 15As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; 16the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. 17But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— 18with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. 19The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. 20Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. 21Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. 22Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the LORD, O my soul.
Can’t help but think that Nancy is now praising the Lord in a whole new arena. As I remember her faithfulness to God here, I can only smile as I think of her being part of the “Heavenly Host”, praising Him in a way we can only imagine.