“This is my command: Love each other.”-John 15:17*
This is a hard week for my family. It has been seventeen years since my first husband and the father of my three precious children, Scott, passed away suddenly. I find myself in a vulnerable and emotional state as I reflect back on our lives and pinpoint a common theme.
Scott was passionate about relationships.
FRIENDS-Scott grew up in a small suburb of Fort Worth, Texas, graduating from the local high school and pursued college, where I met him. We dated, became engaged, and closed the deal in marriage. We moved back to the suburb (which had grown considerably!) and I witnessed his people skills at work. Everywhere we visited he knew someone. There was always a handshake, hug, or pat on the back from Scott to his friend. He would remember family members (and their names) and ask how they were doing. Scott was genuinely engaged with the other person, a smile on his face, locking on their eyes, nodding his head in agreement, and being present for their story.
This kind of meets and greet were not limited to our community. On a couple of occasions, we were on road trips, hours from where we lived, and Scott would run into someone he knew! It happened in a grocery store, airport, sporting events and gas stations. Again, the rapport was demonstrated at his funeral when there were over four hundred people who came to pay their respects. It was a visual reminder of how important friendships were to Scott and how he and his friends had a special bond.
FAMILY– Scott’s love for his parents was a marvel to witness. He would always kiss his father and mother every time he left them. We only lived a few miles away from his parents but he would talk to them every day. We lost his father, Arnie, in 1988 and Scott made sure his mother was engaged daily. He would visit her and help with items around the house. I guess you could say he was a momma’s boy, but he was proud of the title and I respected their strong connection.
Scott also had an older brother and they were typical siblings, goofing around, arguing, and turning every event into a competition. I know Scott was proud of his brother and would protect and support him in his choices. Then there was the extended family of uncles, aunts, cousins, niece, in-laws, too many to count but Scott was always up to visiting and catching up. We would go to family reunions in West Texas and he was so excited to see everyone and to introduce me to the family. Scott’s mom was the youngest of eleven living children so they were many older uncles and aunts. To hear their stories and recollections of Scott as a youngster was hysterical! I remember those reunions fondly and realize how many of the family has since passed on.
GOD-The most important relationship to Scott was with God. When I met this twenty-something year old, he told me he had accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. God was important to us but I have to admit, the early years we were not focused. As a couple, we would sporadically go to church, sometimes tithed, and most of the time prayed before eating. This all changed about a year before he died. We were invited to a non-denominational megachurch in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and after a few visits, the experience transformed Scott. I now know God was preparing Scott for his eternal homecoming. Scott insisted we faithfully attend church every weekend and tithed on a regular basis. Scott also insisted we prayed with the children each night before bed and we would pray together, the two of us, giving thanks for this life and lifting others in need.
In the last year of his life, Scott had a long-standing disagreement with his older brother. On his last Christmas Eve, Scott asked if he could speak with me privately. Scott confessed God was asking him to forgive his brother and make amends. I told him if God is directing him to do this, he best submit. He called up his brother who agreed to come over and the two of them spent the next three hours talking about their issues. By Christmas Eve night we were all able to gather, as a family, and celebrate the meaning of Christmas. I witnessed such a burden being lifted from both brothers’ hearts.
After Scott’s death, I too was able to find peace in knowing Scott was in heaven. Early on a Sunday morning, I called a friend who I knew would be awake to let her know Scott had passed away. She was shocked it was me on the phone because she had awakened from a dream about us moments before the call. We were all at church and she asked me, “where is Scott?” I told her to turn around and she would see him standing in the doorway. When she looked, he was waving at her surrounded by a bright, beaming, golden light. I was thankful for God to give me the confirmation Scott was with Him in His Kingdom.
God wants a relationship with each one of us. He also wants us to develop kinships to lift up and support one another, not tear each other apart. I believe God brings certain individuals in and out of our lives for a reason. For my long lost friends and family, I will continue to find joy in the times we used to share together. No regrets and no shame if we have drifted apart. I would love to catch up, re-connect, and value my relationship with you.
Just like Scott.
*The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society