Even as children, we didn’t live close to each other, but the summer visits when we stayed for a week with the other cousins developed long-lasting family ties. Life went on, and we were separated by marriages, children, vocations, and distances created by those responsibilities. Still, we stayed in touch. After all, being cousins mattered.
About three months after the company where I worked closed down, my brother and his wife held a family get-together at their home in southern Ohio. These first cousins, who by that time were living in Indianapolis, came for the weekend. While there, they asked me and my roommate to come to Indianapolis and do some work in their home.
Well, I had some of the skills and tools needed, the ability and willingness to learn as I worked and, above all, the time. We went there on Sunday evenings, worked all week, and went home Friday evenings to take care of our dogs, cats, and chickens.
It was at a time when people were taking paneling OUT of their homes. But these ladies? Not so! They wanted paneling put IN their living and dining rooms. We did that! We also dismantled their crystal chandelier, washed each bauble, and reassembled the beautiful piece – and a whole lot of other stuff we had never done before. I don’t remember what all we did, but a fantastic side effect was the re-establishment of our childhood family ties.
(I’ve wondered if they really wanted the work done or wanted to help their out-of-work cousin.)
In a few years, both sisters chose to enter a Catholic convent, not at the same time and not even the same one. We were asked to help move one of them. Another few years and she chose to leave convent life; once again, we helped with the move, this time to West Virginia where her daughter lived.
One incident while she was in the convent stands out in my mind. We were attending a service there, and during a private conversation with Mary, I told her I was a Certified Lay Speaker in my church and was doing some preaching. I expected the gushing “good job” attribute which is usually forthcoming with the announcement of an accomplishment. Mary’s response? “Well, about time!” Nothing further. She never gushed.
During the years she was in West Virginia, we seldom saw each other. Then, this summer, when she took a turn for the worse physically, her daughter, Kathy, called. Since then, I have visited her at the nursing home several times, sometimes enjoying a nice time of reminiscing, other times wondering if she even knew I was there.
The last time, though, she was on her death bed, and Kathy had again told her I was coming. I was a bit later than expected because I visited with her grandson and his family briefly in the parking lot.
Mary waited for me to arrive. Knew I was there. Then gave up her fight. She probably was thinking of my delayed arrival, “Well, about time!”
We rejoice in knowing she is resting in Jesus’ arms now. What peace is ours because of the assurance of eternal life with Him! Make the decision now to take Jesus as your Savior and rest in peace this Christmas season.
Don’t wait until the last minute of life and be greeted at heaven’s gate with “Well! About time!” Or worse, not make that decision at all.