Saturday Holly married Jesse Long from Seaside, Oregon. Sunday we were busy with three services on the Lord’s Day. Chuk, Dan, and Wes left for Grand Rapids Sunday night and left the Granville Cottage occupied by only Lois and I, Hope and Hazard. Yesterday we spent the day recovering from the frenetic wedding week. Last night I began to fall asleep reading in the chair and went to bed early. Reading in bed a few minutes before sleep a message came in on my phone. I thought to wait until morning, but finally got up to check it. It was a message from Jesse, our new son-in-law. We all enjoyed an up-date on the couple from Cancun, Mexico by Skype! It was wonderful. They are very joyful and enjoying a paradise honeymoon.
Sunday while I was preaching Hope opened a hymnbook in front of her and found some writing on a scrap of paper. They were old sermon notes. The notes were on a message about prayer I had given. They were taken by Holly. Wherever we turn there are things that remind us of the treasure she was to have in our home for three wonderful decades of our life. Looking back it is almost as if we grew up together, we seemed so young when she came along. I was twenty-five. Lois was twenty-four.
When Holly was in beauty school at first she didn’t have her own car. I drove her every day for about a year. Every week-day morning we would join the other commuters and students and we would have a little talk. She would be spending the day among young women who didn’t share her convictions and devotion to Christ. It was a challenge in some ways but more than anything a confirmation of the ways of God. It was so clear that when we order our lives after God ways, when we fear God and delight greatly in his commandments, our lives are ordered and anchored. We spoke often of the importance of not only marrying in the faith but, saving yourself for someone who was consecrated to Christ. When Holly graduated they arranged a party to send her off. The family was invited that day. Her friends gave her gifts, a tribute and a bouquet of flowers. She thanked each of them for their friendship and help and when she walked away from the school her friends were in tears.
Her little silver car is no longer in the street in front of Granville Cottage. She’s taken her happy songs to the Pacific Coast. Her curling irons and make-up, her blow-dryers and beauty appliances, her clothes and treasures and books are all gone. She doesn’t call joyfully “I’m home” anymore and come in with her big wad of keys and chips and salsa. The house is getting quieter and bigger.
From the high-arched window in my study at church I glance out into the north parking lot and remember her breezing in every morning just in time to sing or teach her girls. I indulge myself in joyful tears. I get a big lump in my throat at church when I try to sing and remember her radiant, sincere singing on the worship team.
She has a habit of leaving people in joyful tears when God moves her on to the next adventure in her life. So it was when Her husband carefully tucked her into his bright yellow Camero and raced out of the parking lot of the church. She had left all of us tearful with joy and bursting with love. The light and influence of her life and her love for us and for her Savior linger even now with us. Everything that reminds us of her stirs our hearts with gratitude toward Him.
I will miss her all day every day for the rest of my life, but I’m praying that God will give she and Jesse a little girl just like Holly. Then I know that no matter what else happens to them their lives will be bathed in sunshine.
September 16, 2014