I thought I would work until retirement age and even had squared off little boxes in a notebook for how many months I planned to work until then. “Mark off all the boxes,” my little sister said. I guess next week I can do that. It isn’t how I planned to retire, but I know from what my body is telling me, it is definitely time. The pain in my side reminds me the cancer is demanding attention, and by the end of each day I am more tired than before.
My heart, on the other hand, is another matter. Every visit with someone very dear to me reminds me of what I will miss, or rather whom I will miss (using the correct grammar there.) So many people have touched my lives in the past three decades at the Valley Courier alone and in the nearly three years before when I was at the Del Norte newspaper. I couldn’t begin to mention them all because I would forget someone, and everyone who has touched my life is worth remembering.
I appreciate all of the prayers, the flowers and cards, the donations, my goodness! How generous and wonderful are the people in this Valley! Ruthie Brown got the ball rolling, bless her heart, and when she gets a ball rolling, everybody had better clear out of the way. My boss Keith with all he has on his hands has stepped in to do so much as well. I appreciate the party he’s throwing for me and the story he wrote, complete with Cleave Simpson’s kind words. I am praying Keith will be able to find the right person to be editor here. In the meantime, please welcome Ellen from our home office who is graciously going to fill in for a few weeks. I’m trying to leave my desk a bit tidier for her. I have gone through a lot of drawers and heaped up quite a pile to go to the recycling center. (Those shorthand notes would be no good to anyone else.)
I also bought a big bag of candy for the candy dish, so as far as it goes, stop by for a bite.
I am not one to be in the spotlight, so all of this is very surreal and overwhelming. The whole experience is like it’s happening to someone else and I feel like I will wake up on April 1 and it will be an April Fool’s joke.
I am so grateful for all of the wonderful people who have come into my life, some briefly, others for many years, through this career in journalism. I am so overwhelmed with gratitude to those who are showing their compassion in such tangible ways towards me. I can’t express my thanks adequately enough.
I know many people are praying for me, and I feel that presence and power. I believe very much that God can heal even the worst diseases. I also know He doesn’t always do that, not here or now. Sometimes He lets us rest for a while.
The healing does not always happen on earth. Sometimes we have to wait for heaven. Either way is all right, because God can be trusted. He proved himself through His own suffering for us and with us. Pain and even death do not mean God has walked away from us to suffer alone. He holds us even then, especially then, more than ever then.
So whatever my future holds, I am confident in the One who loves me more than life itself.
And if I leave you with nothing else, I want to leave with you the hope of never being alone in whatever you are going through now or will go through in the future, because God loves you more than life too.
He always has and always will.