Today I’m thinking about two good friends, Jerry Simmons and Bruce Smith, who stepped into eternity during the month of January.
I met Jerry in the late 90s through his wife Sandy, a co-worker, who became my lunch buddy at Baptist Medical Center. Bruce and his wife, Becca, and I were classmates, so I’ve known them a long time. Becca’s part of my birthday lunch group.
These two couples didn’t know each other, but they had much more in common than just my friendship. Both Jerry and Bruce dealt with major health issues over a period of years and were blessed with wives who truly lived out their vows to love and care for one another “in sickness and in health.”
Since Jerry’s and Bruce’s deaths, I’ve thought a lot about how we’re all on our own individual journey of faith as we move from this world into the next. What happens during that last step into eternity is a mystery to those left behind.
Becca mentioned she prayed to see the angels that would come to accompany Bruce to heaven. Even though she didn’t, she still believed someone was there to help him on his way.
Jerry’s son, Alan, spoke of a conversation he and his dad had about Jerry’s faith during his last night on earth. That conversation brought comfort to the entire family.
These families’ experiences made me think about how on some mornings I awaken to see the entire river valley below me covered in fog. Even though I can’t see the river, I know it is flowing faithfully beneath the white shroud.
Often that fog will totally envelop the interstate bridge spanning the river down the way. There was a time when I crossed that bridge every morning on my way to work. On such days, driving into that billowy cloud was almost an act of faith. But I was familiar with the road and knew the bridge was well constructed, so I just adjusted my speed to the conditions and stayed in my lane until I came out on the other side.
Somehow, I think Jerry and Bruce’s transition from this world to the next may have had a similar feeling. By the time it arrived, they knew they had business on the other side and, bolstered by their faith, they were ready to get on with it.
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