I am missing the man who stood, for over half my life, beside me. I still consider myself his wife, though he has been in heaven for such a long 14 months. I was searching for the words to express the definition of being a widow… but it is much too hard. In this unconventional circumstance, I have been known to find unconventional methods of processing it. I have been digging into the archives and unearthing memories. Examining my soul, looking for treasures that have pieces of him in them. Chris captivated my heart, when I was very young. But over the years of our marriage, he’d point me to the one who loved me more, my first love.
What you will read below, is a gift our friend and neighbour wrote for Chris and gave to me. Sharing this tribute to my beloved husband, brings great joy to my heart. One of those lasting treasures. Be blessed as you read.
There is a big hole on North Lacey Street.
It can’t be filled with asphalt or paved over. It is not easily repaired. The hole used to be filled with a man.
The man could be seen sometimes past midnight with a cup of tea in his hand. Watching. Keeping vigil over his domain and his neighbor’s various domains. A watchman. A sentinel. Always looking for suspicious activity or unusual behavior. A guardian. A sentry.
The man was often seen helping his neighbors with mundane but necessary favors. Helping fix a roof. A water heater. A gas line. A refrigerator. Neighbors were always grateful but he seldom asked for help in return. He didn’t keep score. He never thought he was doing too much. He gave. He was a worker. A handyman. A friend.
The man would listen to neighbors that had other needs. Spiritual needs. Social needs. Personal failures. Sometimes the man would offer advice. Sometimes he reached out to meet these needs even when he didn’t know how. Mostly he would listen. He would empathize. He cared. He loved. He bore the burdens of others. He was a counselor. A comforter.
There is a big hole at Trinity Baptist Church.
It can’t be filled with brick and mortar or plaster and drywall. The building itself is not damaged in any way. The hole is in the body. The hole used to be filled with a man.
The man served on the board in the body. He would go to meetings and listen to whatever problems the church was experiencing. He listened. And he offered solutions. He served when others neglected responsibility. He sat in meetings that others wouldn’t. He gave of himself and he gave his time. He didn’t always enjoy it. But he did it. He was an elder. He was a servant.
The man could be seen participating in – no – initiating community outreach. It was way outside of his comfort zone. But he saw a need. He knew that he could not depend on others to do it. So he did it. Not reluctantly. Not begrudgingly. Obediently. He recruited others to help him with the vital tasks. He was a disciple. He was a discipler. He was a leader.
The man was seen half a world away. He went to a place that was way out of his comfort zone. He went there to learn. He went there to help. He went there to show people who Jesus is, and how He cares for them. He was a missionary.
There is a big hole in the Simpson family.
A deep, deep, gaping hole.
No mortal can fill the hole. No one can take the place of the man. It will never be completely healed.
The man could be seen adoring his wife. He was a husband. A help meet. A provider. His love for her was evident to everyone. He loved his daughters. He was a father. A family man. A guide. An example. He could be seen baptizing in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He taught his children how to do things. And how to treat others. How to love. How to serve.
The man made mistakes. But he confessed them, and tried harder. And he followed the Son. He prayed. He read the Word. He listened to God. He followed. He was a man of God.
And he died.
There is a hole. But it is not an empty hole. It is filled with everything that he was, and it is filled with his Lord. He left a legacy for his family and his friends. He touched lives. Nothing can change that. And he would want us to fill the hole in our lives with the wholeness of Jesus.
By Randy Haglund (Neighbor and friend)