My Question for You

Everyone has questions.  Believe me, I have had my share the last several months.  After Mike’s memorial service, there were questions. And I welcome them. We planned that service intentionally to honor Mike and give glory to God. To be honest, I don’t remember too much of it. But what has become evident is that many people who attended the service were touched in some very personal way.  I know that only because they have told me. But what I don’t know is how they were impacted. And lately I’ve been wondering about that. When someone says, “I became a better person that day” or “My life will never be the same” it leads to me to wonder why?  What specifically touched your heart?  And has your life, indeed, changed?  If so, in what way? Sometimes it is hard to find the words to describe what happens in this life. But I’d like you to try. So, I pose this question:

If your life has been touched in some way as a result of our journey through Mike’s illness or at his memorial service, can you put that into words?

I am determined not to waste this time of grief. That may sound odd, but it is during extremes in life that I tend to learn the most…and grow the most. And I learn a great deal through other people. So I challenge you to reflect on this experience and to draw out the very things that have shaken your core or caused you to shake your head in wonder. As I go through this process daily, I see that there is a whole lot going on. And knowing your story will help me to see part of that bigger picture. It is up to you. In your own time. In your own way.


3 thoughts on “My Question for You

  1. Kim Stirtan says:

    For me God became even more loving and real….yes you can have a real relationship with God….the perfect peace that I felt being around Patty and Mike during a most difficult time could only come from a loving God

  2. Peggy McGowan says:

    Much of what Mike & I talked about during the middle of the night was very, very special and very, very touching and personal. I can say that he brought me closer to God. In the beginning, when he talked to me, he read verses and I sat on the ottoman and heard him read; I didn’t “listen”; as days went by and I realized that his illness was real and that his life was coming to an end, I wanted to “listen” and I also started to “feel” what he was reading. I regret not “listening” in the past, but he taught me how special & wonderful it is to have God in your heart, in your life….took me a long time to get to this place and it WAS and still IS a life-changing experience. God is in my heart and Mike is right by His side as I go on and keep on learning. I can see Mike’s face, I can hear him reading his cards, I feel his passion for the love he has and has shared with so many of us. As he said “I just can’t explain it”.

  3. Susan Ennis says:

    Purpose. My life has been infused with reflections about Purpose since August. At first, it was an unintentional focus upon the thoughts of defeat: “What could God’s Purpose for Michael’s illness and suffering possibly be?” Literally on my drive in November from Western Pennsylvania to the Connecticut coast, my thoughts wavered continually between “What could possibly be God’s Purpose for the loss of Mike” to reflections and evaluations about these questions: “What’s my Purpose, and what am I doing about it? Do I have a Purpose? Is my work for a Purpose? Do my relationships have Purpose? Have I lost my Purpose? Did someone deflate my Purpose?” I could not eliminate the pulsating rhythm of Purpose from my mind. I was not interested in thinking about myself, but the car ride was quiet this time, and my thoughts were the noise. In hindsight, God, with a little help from Mike, was tossing around the concept of Purpose, not in my mind, but in my soul, for most of the hours of my trek across PA, NJ, NY, and finally into CT.
    During the memorial service, Purpose flickered a few times within me, but I was mostly marveling at the Clarity of Purpose that Mike and Patty, under God’s grace, had been so obviously sharing for years! I was so proud to listen to Mike’s witness and testimony. When I realized that the video of Mike would be shown, I was afraid that I would have to leave the sanctuary. However, it was helpful for me to see Mike and hear his words in his own voice. I was proud of him. Why proud? I guess because two childhood friends from Garretson Road both grew up to be “all right,” despite facing the world every day. I remembered our childhood years with happiness and knew that almost like “siblings” separated over time, we had discovered and traveled such similar paths to lives of faith with roots in college. And, both Mike and I had been teaching others for all of these years: starting with our younger siblings, and extending our guidance and instruction to so many friends, acquaintances, and co-workers. Natural mentors. Encouraging supporters. These were comforting thoughts for me, despite concern over Purpose in my own life at that time.
    Within a day, I reversed my travel route to return home in time for Thanksgiving. The ride was still long, especially the tedious part of the trip across PA. I started to reflect again on Purpose, on my career as a teacher (year 31), and about how personally I learn and grow. I asked myself, “Are you applying your teaching expertise to learn for yourself?” I realized that I had recently been negligent in this, for many reasons. Since then, I have been re-discovering Purpose in all aspects of my faith and my life. It is an optimistic and hopeful path. It is an intensely personal journey. Reflecting on Purpose for my life and faith has opened many possibilities to discuss Purpose and has reminded me to remain fearless about change, about plans, about relationships, and about making a difference in the world. I still have A LOT of work to do!
    Patty – thank you for sharing your thoughts with everyone, which is why I went in-depth here a bit to share mine. God bless you and your family today and always!

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