We moved to this lovely mid-west town, affectionately known as The Burg, two and a half years ago. Little did we know that we would fall in love with this town and it’s people.
Sure, it has it’s frustrations like all relationships, but the people here and the countryside puts you right back into perspective.
Shortly before we moved here we met a great couple that were part of us feeling at home. We became fast friends.
Early in our relationship we found that the wife, Shirley, had been battling cancer. We became fast warriors in prayers of complete recovery.
Complete recovery can have perspectives just like a painting. We never seem to see all the outcome or the image at once. Some see victory on earth, some see the battle and the hard work associated with it, and some see the victory being the dance and the songs in the courts of Heaven.
As humans we would like the earthly answer. It’s where we are now. So many have overcome the ravages of cancer and some the overcoming came too early and continues in eternity with no more pain.
That was our Shirley. I had plans with our friendship. We were going to tramp through woods and see wildlife. She was going to feed them as I took pictures. I chuckle as I write this. Not to mention her husband and her children and grand children had plans of a future together.
We just don’t know. As a Christian I believe in healing. I’ve seen healing. I believe we can, scripture says, raise the dead. But sometimes that terrible, yet beautiful, mystery of our God takes us to where we humans do not want to go. Death.
If we could just step back and see our life here, on this earth, is a part of the picture. Our lives continue into eternity. It hurts to lose. I know this.
As painful as it is I get to still be a part of the earthly tribe. The parts of Shirley that still live one. The heart of her husband that beats with joy, though pained, and a giving heart so big. Her daughter carries her mother’s heart for her own children and husband that shines with faith and love so deep for so many. Her son carries her creativity in levels that go so deep I am sure Shirley is rejoicing over them! And those grand children! An amazing legacy!
That brings me to the images I want to share. There is a property in Russellville, MO that has been in Shirley’s family for quite a while. It is beautiful! If you go there and sit on the front porch with her son and his wife you feel completely at home.
There is a peace there and a piece there of Shirley’s inheritance that I cannot find words for. There is hope there. There is vision for the future there.
A vision to help those who have struggled to come and farm and learn and use their talents to make their life better. A vision of hope for the hopeless.
As this project develops I will write more about it. But right now I honor Shirley and her inheritance. It is so wonderful to see that it never ends when our pained and broken bodies fail and leave this earth. Life does go on. History teaches us that. Memories are like gold and seeing someone living on in the hearts and talents and actions of those still here is priceless.
In the old barns they found the original tools for farming – made of wood!