The sacredness of the present moment . . .
The moments come to us and in the time we live them, we have no idea of the treasure they are, because we don’t know the earthquake or the fireworks in the next move of time. Only later, do these passing seconds appear in all their wonder and unseen meaning.
I heard Roy Hession’s wife quote this,
“Now is the ever moving point of eternity,
separating the past from the future,
neither of which have any reality.”
All we have is NOW, this precious now. And Don did live this present moment with relish like few of us . . . such as those simple and golden times with his grandchildren. He said to me, “I picked up the girls and WE went to the movies and that’s what WE like to do.” He didn’t say, “I’m taking the kids to the movie, and I’m just going to live through it, and I’m doing it for them.” No, he was with them very much as a WE. He was as childlike as they were. He took his grandson to Colorado recently and wanted him to see the places where he and Carole lived.
The last time I saw Don, he was sitting in a big chair and the little 7 year old was sprawled across his ottoman and over his lap, watching TV. She had her little arm up to him and she was holding his hand. I watched the two of them there for a long time. He had that kind of patience to linger in the moments that mattered.
Don was a soldier and a warrior and a Scotsman. And he always viewed life, kind of as a warrior.
Moments happen that only later do we grasp their significance and discover the presence of God in every blink of the eye.
It was the last morning of 2012. The night before, as was his custom, Don made a fire in the wood stove for Carole. He arranged it so that when she got up at 4 am, as she always did, there would still be hot coals to warm her.
So when Carole got up, at 4 am, she made coffee for Don. And got her cup and sat down in her yellow plaid chair, to “get to know God better.” Don came in later and she could hear him getting his coffee and sitting down, as was his custom, in his chair. They were both in the same room but they were very much alone because they were each “getting to know God better.” For a while, they sat together in silence.
And Carole was reflecting on the year 2012 and she was crying because she was so grateful, as she responded to the presence of God enveloping her. She began to write her thoughts from the bursting fullness of her heart. With tears she was writing this as a blog post. She said, “Don, I want to read this to you.”
“As I reflect on this past year, what stands out as paramount to me is the Lord’s unfailing fullness, his love, mercy and His grace. As I sort through his dealings with me, the exposures of my heart joys and conflicts,
I see Him standing before me this morning,
the Lamb of God, with his arms open saying, ‘COME!.’
This morning He whispered to me ‘Just as I Am.’”
Carole’s gift to Don was her love for God, living her life with the courage to “get to know Him better.” She lived it brilliantly and valiantly and it impacted Don to get to know God better himself. And so God came to Carole that morning and extended an invitation to her to ‘Come’ and through her, the Lamb called to Don, come! I know Don was listening deeply, as he would to Carole. He would have clearly heard the call of the Lamb in that poignant hymn. ‘Thou bids me come to Thee.’
The last stanza is
Just as I am, Thy love unknown
Hath broken every barrier down;
Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
And as Carole finished those last words, she heard Don’s cup of coffee fall to the floor. And from those words – the call of the Lamb to come – Don began his entrance into his new life.
Carole called 911 and tried to rouse him, “Don, get up, wake up!” He opened his eyes and said, “Give me a towel” – to clean up the coffee. (Ever the servant!) She said. “Don, I have called 911.” And he said, “Get my shorts.” So he put his shorts on, and sitting back down, he leaned back and was unconscious again.
He never revived. He had no need for time to face regrets.
So that’s how Don went through the Door. The Holy Spirit came and called them both to come to him as the Lamb. Carole was to come to the Lamb here ~ on earth. Don answered the call to enter the very Presence of the Lamb ~ in Heaven. In a marvelously divine way, God called Don home through Carole Angier Nelson, the love of his life.
Don was a minimalist. He didn’t accumulate possessions for himself,
he let you have what you wanted.
But his life was honed down to simple precepts, basic issues:
who he loved,
what he wanted to do for God’s dream
and getting to know God better.
Dream, Love, Know God.
I want to read Second Corinthians to you.
For we know when this earthly tent we live in is taken down
or we die and leave these bodies we will have a home in heaven.
An eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human standards.
God himself has prepared us for this and as a guarantee
He has given us the Holy Spirit.
I think it would make Don the happiest of all things if he knew that he was giving, even at his own funeral. And so I give you his inheritance and every one of us can take it and be changed and blessed by it.
As I read to you this prayer in First Thessalonians, I know it’s Don’s prayer and Carole’s prayer for all of you here.
“Now may the God of peace
make you holy in every way and
may your whole spirit and soul and body
be kept blameless until the day when
our Lord Jesus Christ returns.
God who calls you is faithful,
He will do this.