This is the first of 4 parts of Don Nelson’s eulogy
After many hours at the hospital, we were driving home. John, Carole, Jennifer and I . . . without Don. Carole said to me, “will you speak at the service?” After all the shock and trauma we had been through I felt really faint at the idea. I couldn’t possibly do the eulogy! Of course I said yes.
I’m so grateful for that privilege. It was so wonderful and such a gift to me because I had to stop crying and start thinking and praying, listening and remembering.
And it turns out that Don, “Big Don,” really was a big man!
Don Nelson left a legacy to every one of us. He’s left us with an inheritance and I want to be sure that today we take it away with us because it is a rich gift.
There are many fun things about Don. Nobody loved food like Don but Julia Child. There were funny things and wonderful stories (his children told us) but there was an essence that Don achieved in his life. This is our legacy.
Don went to heaven so suddenly, so quickly, that it was a great shock and causes all of us to stop and think about our own life. There is a fine gossamer thread between ‘Here’ and ‘There’ that holds us all. We forget how fragile life is . . . It makes you remember that life is a priceless gift and we all take it so much for granted.
When you get down to it, every life is a simple matter of only 2 issues:
1. The choices we make that shape our lives.
2. The treasure of every moment of time.
First I want to talk about
Bronnie Ware was a hospice nurse in Australia for 14 years. Living with the dying, listening to their last thoughts and reflections and above all, listening to their regrets. I have read articles from her book about the regrets of the dying, as they face the inevitable end of life.
The first is “I wish I had pursued my dream.”
That seems to be a major regret of those who know they are dying. Don Nelson did pursue his dream, which was God’s calling on his life. And to that purpose he gave enormous sacrifice with incredible endurance.
I was speaking with his dear friend and I said, “I believe he died in faith like those in Hebrews 12, not seeing the fulfillment. I believe we will see the fulfillment of God’s dream.” Big difference between our dream and God’s dream. God’s dream is much bigger, far better than my dream . . . and that’s what Don pursued.
This is his legacy to his children, their spouses and to his grandchildren . . . and to us. Don heard God’s dream for his life and to that, he gave everything!
I do not cease to pray for you and to ask
that you may be filled with the knowledge of [God’s] will
in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
Colossians 1:9 NASB