I usually wait for someone to pass until I write a Back Page about them, but I thought I’d modify tradition. Word came to me last Sunday that Nancy Wilson has terminal pancreatic cancer. Time is no longer measured in years but months if that.
I have known Nancy ever since I arrived at Peninsula in 1994. She has been around almost as long as Woody Stolhand (our final living charter member from 1964). It has been an issue for her that just barely missed “charter” status, but we can’t change history.
I would say that most of her church friends are now waiting for her on the other side. The friendships were many and deep. She and I have been to many a funeral and graveside together, it’s been quite a journey. And now her days are numbered.
I went to visit Nancy last Sunday afternoon, and as usual, I was apprehensive. But she was sitting in the living room and looked – like Nancy! She was smiling and wrapped snugly under a comforter. And when she saw Christie and me walk through the door, her face lit up in a huge smile.
Over the next few minutes, we talked about people and the church and her future. There was a sense of peace and hope which set the tone for our conversation. We talked of heaven and Jesus and the hope we have anchored deep in the harbor of God’s love. Nancy’s faith shined brightly in those moments as much as I had ever seen it shine. We wept. We found consolation in the Scriptures. We prayed. It was for me, a sacred of time that enriched my holiday weekend.
I went home with a lighter step. Nancy’s faith shined bright. She probably will not always be in that wonderful place emotionally, but I do know that her Savior will walk through the very shadow of the valley of death with her. Her family is surrounding her. Her Savior is consoling her. And despite the rough patches, she’ll be fine.
The reality is that we are all on that same road. We ignore the end because it seems far too distant, and we’d rather not deal with the end. But we will all be there sooner than we realize. It is part of the grace of God that Nancy can see the end in sight and adjust. But we can adjust too. But that takes effort. And it takes long term thinking.
May Nancy continue to enjoy the peace that passes understanding. What a wonderful reunion she will soon enjoy with Jesus and those in her dear Peninsula family. We are family. All of us.