On March the 4th of this year we were in the lobby of the church when Dale received a phone call that his dad had passed away. It’s the kind of phone call that no one ever wants to receive, but it was one that we were expecting at some point, because he had not been doing well. We just didn’t know when.
When we arrived home that night Dale immidiatley went online to look for airline tickets for the two of us. This meant leaving our kids home on their own while we were gone…something that stressed me out somewhat. It would be the longest time leaving them on their own. And yet while we were gone, the Lord provided for us and our kids in so many ways. I am going to try and share about all those ways without forgetting something and hopefully it won’t sound disjointed.
The day after the phone call I took the day off from teaching to cook meals and a couple snacks, so the kids wouldn’t starve while we were away. Pizza, chicken pot pie, beany burittos, mac and cheese, banana bread and chocolate chip cookies. In the end they didn’t even eat it all because there were a few times that people either brought them to their house for a meal or took them out for pizza.
After Dale found the tickets…something amazing happened. Word began to spread about our sudden need to fly back to Canada and the money for our flights began to come in. This was a trip not budgeted for and within 12 hours our flights were covered. God is so good…that was such a blessing and huge stress reliever.
I was totally not prepared for how cold it was in Canada! Our first morning there I planned to go for a half hour walk but after five minutes in, I had to turn around and head back to Jacob’s apartment, where we were staying. I felt like such a wimp…but on the other hand it’s not like I have a lot of cold weather clothing anymore.
Jacob is a minimalist…that I know. He doesn’t want or like a lot of stuff. But I have to say that my Momma’s heart broke a little when I saw his empty fridge and the lone carton of eggs. Not to mention the basics he was living without….like pots and pans, a kettle, a toaster. Sheets. He didn’t even have a bed. All this time living in that apartment had been sleeping on an air mattress. His apartment is nice, but tiny and the rent is high. It takes most of his salary…so between pay cheques food is sparce. I kept thinking and perhaps I voiced it. “This is not ok.”
Jacob did not really have the basics let alone extra linins and someone in his church graciously lent us all the bedding we needed and addition beautiful brand new towels that they said Jacob was to keep when we were finished with them. Such a sweet and generous gesture and truly made us and Jacob cared for by God.
I had commented on Jacob’s doing without stuff and minimalism to Ruthie, a lady at Jacob’s church (KGT) who treated us to Dale’s favorite restaurant, Swiss Chalet one day. After our conversation Ruthie made a few phone calls and after the funeral, Jacob was given a brand new toaster, kettle, utensils, and dishcloths. He was so excited, claiming it was such a blessing and just like Christmas!
And speaking of the funeral, the ladies of KGT lovingly prepared a luncheon. It was so thoughtful. We hadn’t asked for it. We really were not prepared for the amount of people that came to give their condolences…around 175. We were not anticipating more than 40. All of the left overs were sent home with Jake, who now had a stocked fridge along with the food that we had went out and bought him. There was a lot of goodies and frozen fruit that we froze because there was no way to eat it all before it went bad..
Our time in Canada was so brief but yet jam packed. Even though we went back for a sad reason, it was a good week. We did see my family too and we stayed there one night and had atleast a couple meals there. My mom is an amazing cook so it’s always a treat. She made roast beef for Dale one night, and she made my favorite…apple crisp!
I was also able to meet my friend Kathy for coffee and spend a couple hours with my dear cousin Gwen…two things that were good for my soul. I didn’t know if it work out to see them as our schedule was crammed but I am so glad it did because I needed that time.
We had lunch one afternoon with the staff from our formal church in Stratford. They treates us to Swiss Chalet…of course! Also we had dinner with Dale’s aunt and uncle, who made Dale’s grandma’s delicious macaroni and cheese recipe. A favorite of Dale’s since he was a kid, and now I have a copy of the recipe!
In closing, we took an afternoon and cleaned out Dale’s dad’s room at the nursing home. Kind of sad actually that is what life comes down to at the end when we are gone. Just a pile of stuff that doesn’t really mean anything to anyone else and no one really wants..other than photos, so it was either donated or cast aside in a dumpster. Maybe being a minimalist is not such a bad thing afterall. It reminded me of a few verses in Matthew..
Matthew 6:19-21 Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy and thieves do no break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, the desires of your heart will also be.
1 Thessalonians 4:17,18 Then we who are alive will join them, transported together in the clouds to have an encounter with the Lord in the air, and we will be forever joined with the Lord. So encourage each other with these truths.