Thursday, June 23, 2022

stranger in the lifeboat

Two blogs ago, I promised you I had another blockbuster book for you to consider. Well, here it is. It is Mitch Albom’s the stranger in the lifeboat. Yes, he doesn’t seem to care for capital letters much as most of his titles are in lower case. If you’ve read Mitch Albom’s Tuesday’s with Morrie or the five people you meet in heaven, you are most likely entranced by his work. I know I am, and this book is no exception. His writing is excellent, descriptions are pure poetry, and his skill in telling a story is unsurpassed.

The thrill about this book is that you start out feeling confident in knowing what’s going on, only to discover you don’t know a thing. His twists and turns keep you turning the page.

The first chapter starts with:

            When we pulled him from the water, he didn’t have a scratch on him. That’s the first thing I noticed.

And ends with:

            Nina touched his shoulder and said, “Well, thank the Lord we found you.”

            Which is when the man finally spoke.

            “I am the Lord,” he whispered.

And it just gets better and better.

Halfway through the book, it reads thus:

            Now Annabelle, I must share one more thing, and then I will rest. The writing takes a lot out of me. Processing thought. Thinking about anything besides water and food…..Still, last night, in a moment of grace, we witnessed something otherworldly. It was after midnight. As I slept, I felt a sensation through my closed lids, as if someone had turned on the lights. I heard a gasp, and I opened my eyes to witness an utterly amazing sight.

            The entire sea was aglow.

            Patches below the surface were illuminating the water like a million small light bulbs, casting a Disneyland bluish white all the way to the horizon….

            I glanced at the Lord. Little Alice was asleep next to him. Wake up, child, I wanted to say. See something astonishing before we die.

I have read it, my daughter has read it and my son-in-law has read it; all with different reading tastes and yet we were all speechless in trying to describe the book, but couldn’t stop talking about it.

Do yourself a favor and put this book on your summer reading list. It’s a small little book that packs a powerful punch.

Quote of the Day: Good books don't give up their secrets all at once. Stephen King

P.S. Stewart's funeral service will be held Friday, July 8, 2022 at 11 am at Kennebec Baptist Church in Angier, NC.  I will have my sister, my two daughters and their husbands, and my son, all here with me at the same time. I am truly blessed and well supported.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Welcome Home, Thy Good and Faithful Servant

I told you in my last post that I would be presenting another book for your reading enjoyment, but, due to unforeseen circumstances, that will have to wait.

Last Thursday, the 19th, Stewart and I got in the car and made our way to Crescent City, Florida for a few days of getting away and visiting my long-time girlfriend. I drove and he handled the new collection of country classic CDs we'd ordered. 

The eight-hour trip turned into nine and a half hours after encountering a traffic jam in South Carolina that took an hour and a half to clear. No matter, we sang to the music and enjoyed the trip. We took our little dog, Winston, with us and he sat in the back seat enjoying the view from the window. 

At 7:30 pm we arrived at my friend's house; she came out to meet us and I introduced her to Stewart. We then got the rollator out of the car so he could get in the house and sit down. At that point, he immediately passed from this life to the next. Paramedics were called and they worked on him at the house, in the ambulance and in the hospital, for forty minutes to no avail.

When my friend and I arrived at the hospital, we were put into a room and told, "Wait here, the doctor will be in to talk with you."  I knew what that meant and began to steel myself for the news. There's no easy way to tell someone their loved one has died. 

While the ambulance was still at the house, I called Cyndi and Bill to tell them what was happening and they immediately got in the car to start the drive south. I met up with them the next afternoon, Friday, at the funeral home.

Monday, Cyndi drove me home and Bill stayed in Florida to be able to bring his dad's ashes home when ready. 

Do not grieve for Stewart. He no longer has to struggle for every breath. He's no longer tethered to an oxygen hose. He no longer needs a walker or wheelchair to get around. He was 86 years old and had a sparkle in his eyes that reflected his amazing zest for life. 

We knew when we got married that we wouldn't have a long marriage and we didn't, but we packed a lot of living into the two years we had. We both felt that the two years we had together (plus two years before we married)  were better than all our other years lived prior to meeting each other.  

God is good. He gave us those few wonderful years together and He got us right to my girlfriend's house before taking Stewart so it didn't happen somewhere on the road where I would have been all alone in the middle of nowhere. I praise Him for that. 

Stewart was an aide to the Admiral for seven years in the Navy; he was a master electrician in construction up until he retired in 2000; and he raised six children of his own and four more children of his second wife. And he loved my three children as though they were his own. 

He came from an intact loving family that went to church and said grace at meals and instilled in him a strong set of values that he carried to his last breath. The world has lost a powerful, wonderful man, but Heaven is all the better for his arrival.  He is now reunited with his parents, sister, and four of his six children. He will never again have to bury another child. 

I very much look forward to reuniting with him one sweet day and feeling the warmth of his strong arms around me forever.

Quote of the Day: Death is nothing else but going home to God. Mother Teresa