Thursday, November 14, 2019

Only Now . . .

Dear friends,

Almost every day, someone asks me, “How are you doing?”  It’s a simple enough question, yet a simple answer seems to elude me.  How am I doing...really?  Most days, I answer, “I’m doing well, thank you.”  It’s a sincere answer, but an incomplete answer.  I’m doing well, but there’s the constant awareness that life is quite different now...that my former responsibilities and commitments as a husband have ended.  Thus, there is a certain weight of finality to which I’m still adjusting. 

This time of personal transition includes my return to the ebb and flow of pastoral ministry, the continuation of my book-writing, “Tears & Triumph: A Journey Toward Resurrection,” my involvement in the November 3 worship at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Cedar Falls, Iowa, in celebration of their 40th anniversary, and the counting of Naomi among the recently-departed Saints for whom candles were lit on All Saints Sunday.

This coming Thanksgiving marks the two-year anniversary of Naomi’s moving out of our house and becoming a full-time resident at Anam Glen in Rockford.  This was the most devastating transition of my life, learning to accept the unwelcome solitude of an empty house.  But I survived the crushing loneliness that followed...and I grew in my trust of Jesus to walk beside me during those excruciating months of transition. 

Only now, in retrospect, am I able to comprehend the broad landscape of my caregiving role the past ten years.  Only now, am I beginning to embrace the promised peace of God that passes all understanding.  Only now, am I gradually becoming aware of the new beginnings God provides as I trust in the Holy Spirit to strengthen and guide me.

How am I doing?  Thanks to God’s love in Jesus and to God’s love through you, I’m doing very well...really!

Walking this journey of faith with you,

Pastor Mark

Looking Back

Dear St. Mark friends, 2019 is a year I will never forget.   On January 13 of last year, my second granddaughter, Madlyn Olivia Hagen,...