But Jesus gives joy

John 16:22 You have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy.

Don’t you love good stories?

Within a few minutes time, I read this morning brief sketches of two lives well lived.

The first is a woman named Florence, great-great-grandmother and eponym on her mom’s side of our brand-new great-niece born in the wee hours this morning. My sister, baby Flo’s paternal grandmother, shared this:

“Florence was an amazing and lovely woman who immigrated to the US from England alone at age 13 and lived into her 90s. She had quite a life story, living through both World Wars, feeding her neighbors from her victory garden, and much more.”

Wouldn’t you love to know more about the heritage baby Flo has been gifted to live into? I hope this remarkable woman’s story will be (or already is) preserved in writing.

Incidentally, my sister added, Florence Nightingale was born May 12 two hundred years ago, another who lived her life impressively well.

Baby Flo is the last of the five little girls added to our extended family since Dec. 28! Our Talita and Liliana are numbers 2 and 4 of this abundance of blessing. The first is Jadyn and the third is Bronwyn. Imagine our family reunion a couple of years from now!

The second is a tribute to Kaleb Hochstedler, our young friend in Brazil who went to the arms of Jesus four days ago. He lived his ten years to the full. Since birth, Kaleb was noted for his tenacity and energy, traits that served him well in his fight against leukemia and then sarcoma. He was known for his joy, his delight in outdoor adventures, his imagination and creativity, and his love for God, his family and his friends. The last time he journaled, he wrote, “God will prepare the way.”

Kaleb is front left, surrounded by his parents, Delton and Fernie, and his siblings Naomi, Joshua, Priscilla and Lucas

I hope Karis got to be part of his welcome to Heaven! I can imagine the two of them concocting adventures together.

So much sadness. So many tears. So much joy. So much to learn and to share from those who have gone before us.

So I say again, “Tell your story! Write it down!” When you do, will you share it with me? And with those who read this blog?

I’m sad that I know little about the stories of my grandparents and great-grandparents. On both sides of my family, and Dave’s too, there was so much suffering they didn’t want to talk about it. And now they are gone, and with them, part of our own story, an important part we will never know and thus can’t benefit from. Both their joys and their sorrows. Their good choices and their regrets.

We won’t know, that is, until we reach Heaven, where upon seeing Jesus, all our griefs will be turned into joy.

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