Notes from Jan

One Good Question

November 11, 2015

Annie and I spent the better part of the day in the spacious library or  near the fireplace at the Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia. It’s been a slow day and a good one for us two “Lavender Ladies” as one of the children dubbed us.  Annie Willis and I both widowed within days of each other last November needed to be together this November.

We slept late, then breakfasted on complimentary coffee and a shared roll.  The feast began between bites as we talked about books,  David and Jud,  our children and grandchildren, Christianity, politics and history, especially our own.  Annie’s a reader, question asker and thoughtful woman about this life and what’s next. Good traits in a friend and a gift to our family.

After awhile we hushed and moved from the coffeeshop to the library, where we each curled up with our books.  Annie reading: Spiritual Questions for the Twenty-First Century, essays in honor of Joan Chittister and I plummeting to the depths through, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.   We’re about as different as our book choices. Annie’s petite and agile.  I’m not so much.  She’s deeply southern and I’m a mix  but we like each other a lot. I’m introverted and Annie’s infused with enough zest for living to fuel both of us on a down day.

Between sips and before losing ourselves in the writings of others, we’d talked of the place of spaciousness in our lives, making space for forgiveness, healing, loss. Choices.  Questions.  Gifts  of freedom that come through age and experience.  Like the freedom that comes from breaking  out of boxes and limiting notions about ourselves, this world, the Church and God.

Each day brings choices, some more life-changing than others.  We talked of the story in the gospel of John 5, a decision to stay as is  or to get off the mat and move by faith, even with just a speck of faith.  I found myself asking, “Where is my Bethesda? How am I choosing to stay shriveled on the sidelines, waiting for somebody else to give me a lift into the healing waters, somebody else to make my life better?”

And as is often true for me,  neither the best questions nor the answers came from me.  Jesus who stands with and beside me(and you)  at out pool of Bethesda, quietly asks just one good question,”Do you want to get well?”

Sometimes the best gift’s just one good question.

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  • Reply Susan McMullen November 11, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    That you are hearing that particular question and giving it consideration at this time says a lot about your courage and faith. You are already rising, dear Jan. xxoo

  • Reply Wendy Lane November 11, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Good friends in the Lord are such a blessing and gift from Him <3

  • Reply Dale Lefever November 13, 2015 at 2:24 am

    HI Jan,

    I don’t crave it, but whenever God creates space in my life through loss or despair, He does it to fill it with more of Himself, so I can be more of a blessing to others. I guess this is why He keeps us around after He redeems us.

    Love, Dale

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