I had an interesting phone call this week. It was from a gentleman from whom we have leased a building for over 25 years. He called about some business matters but the conversation quickly turned to Michael.
He was telling me how sorry he was to hear about Michael’s death and that he couldn’t believe he didn’t know about it until recently. “I think about Michael every day”, he said. “Really! Every day!” I must admit I was a bit surprised. I know that through the years Michael had befriended the man in addition to doing business with him. But I didn’t know he would have been that affected in his daily life. He went on to tell me this story.
“I’m Catholic,” he said. “I was raised Catholic and go to a Catholic church. But, like most Catholics, I never read the Bible or had my own copy. Several years ago Michael gave me a Bible, one of the ones that’s easy to read. I read a little of it. Then I thought I should take a class to learn more about it. I took a ten week class where we met each week and watched a video, then sat around and discussed it. After that I took a class about the Old Testament and then a class about the New Testament. For the last two-and-a-half years I’ve been studying and reading my Bible. The more I read it the more I know that what it says is true. That’s why I think about Michael every day.”
Now don’t take all of this man’s observations as my own. But I have to tell you, in that moment, I was so proud. So proud of Michael who took the initiative to give this man a Bible. I’m sure he prayed about it, both before and after he gave it to him. And even though Michael’s not here, that Bible is still here, still leading this man in the word of God, still moving in his heart and in his life to bring him closer to God. We never know what impact our actions can have on others, even after we’re gone.
I must admit – after I ended my phone call with this gentleman, I looked up and said out loud, “You did good, Michael. You did real good.”
It’s been over 18 months since Michael died. There have been so many emotions, up and down and all over the place. But now comes a new one.
These last weeks I’ve been preparing to speak to a local group of ladies. Today I sat down to put all my thoughts together. As I did I came to an unexpected realization. I am at peace.
Now I don’t know what the different stages of grief are. I have stubbornly refused to read up on them and have set aside all the books people have so graciously sent to me on the subject. So I don’t know if this is “normal” or not. I just know that as I worked through writing today on a different subject I realized that I am now at peace. It doesn’t change my circumstances. I still look at his grave marker and the empty side of the bed and wonder how it is possible that I am here and he isn’t. I still think of him every day and miss him every minute. And yet God has given me peace. Surely, this is His peace which surpasses all understanding.