by Dr. Tony L Lynn
PLYMOUTH, MI – My wife’s parents are with the Lord. Jamie’s father went to be with the Lord in 2011, and in 2020, Jamie’s mother joined her husband and the Lord in heaven. Both were strong examples of devotion to the Lord, to their family, and to their church.
My parents are still with us. My father is 84 years old, and my mother is 83 years old. My father lives in the white, two-story, country-house my parents have shared for decades. North of Lansing, my father is surrounded by corn fields, deer grazing as the sun rises and falls, and he still tinkers on projects. My mothers, affected by dementia and Alzheimer’s, is settled into a residential facility where the kindest of professionals call her by name and energetically love on her all day long. She has been in residential care now for almost three years.
Today on a Monday due to my weekends becoming busier with ministry and little time for family, I devoted a long lunch break to spend time with my parents.
Enjoy the images.
In this image, we were both restraining our chuckles. Moments earlier, I was walking down the hallway to get closer to Mom before calling out to her. Before I could get close to her, I heard my mom say to her caregiver who was pushing her wheelchair, “That man down the hallway looks a lot like my son. Upon hearing that, I called out, “Hi Mom.” To which she responded, “That’s my boy. He’s a preacher.” Then as she got within the reach of a hug she gushed, “It makes me so happy to see you.”
This image reveals one of our traditions. Normally upon arrival to see Mom, I find her either rubbing her hands together, or rubbing her hand on a soft fabric of her clothing. These past three years, I move close enough to put our hands together and the constant movement of her hand rubbing settles down and her concentration then focuses on the conversation between us. It’s a connection I cherish, and I don’t take for granted.
My father and I were beside his garage just after looking at all the things he has been doing. Little projects. One after another. In their own time. No hurry on anything. Dad likes to reflect before he starts and before he completes his projects. His latest creation is restoring an old golf cart. No, he does not play golf. He never has. Nevertheless, he is customizing the cart to match his style, his imagination, and the theme he has constructed. We ate lunch together. We filled his water softener, and I delivered more salt to keep that hard Michigan water softer. Men share love best when they share projects.
In between visiting my parents, I stopped by to see the headstone my father and mother designed and had installed recently on their plots, just one mile from their farm home. There are two images that say a lot.
First, Dad with a sense of humor will remind me that the passing dates are yet to be finished on the headstone. He says, “We’ll fill in the blanks later.” Dad is practical and has for years taken care of these sorts of things for family and friends most of his life. No one could stop Dad from making decisions easier for my two sisters and me. That is who he is. He expresses his love for others by doing for others.
Second, Dad designed the stone with an image of a tree and a reference to Galatians 4:1-7. My father is the family genealogist. He has recorded stories, searched archives, interviewed people, and collected data on our family that would rival the FBI. I loved that moment today when I asked Dad about the tree representing genealogy and his reference to Galatians 4:1-7. Dad replied, “It just goes to show that no matter where you come from, the most important thing in life is to be adopted by the Lord.” He explained that the Apostle Paul was pointing that lesson out to the Galatians. Dad said he kept reflecting on this text after one of his daily Bible readings, “that we might receive the adoption,” (v. 5).
I just thought I would share a testimony of my parents and their love for one another and for others.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Tony L. Lynn is the State Director of Missions for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Before coming on staff at the BSCM, Tony served as lead pastor for more than six years at Crosspoint Church in Monroe, Michigan. He and his wife, Jamie, also served with the International Mission Board in Africa and in Europe.