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Legacy Lives On…

     I married into a great family.

          Great people, and

               great numbers of great people!

     Recently, we attended a family reunion, including descendants of Ron’s maternal grandparents, Victor and Mary Lustig. Victor and Mary produced eleven children, including a daughter who died at a young age, one priest and a nun. Their eldest daughter gave birth to seventeen children (That’s right, one-seven!) My husband’s family, one of the smaller ones, was comprised of three girls and three boys.

Ron and me in our motel lobby with his three sisters, left to right: Pam, Mary and Norma; their husbands, Ron, John and Dave—along with Jerry, the youngest, who’s always the life of any gettogether. We missed Lisa, Jerry’s wife, who stayed home in Florida, and always remember with bitter sweetness, the oldest brother, Mike, who died a few years ago.

     Victor and Mary immigrated to central Idaho, establishing a farm on the Camas Prairie. The farm was distinguished as a Centennial Farm in 2009, which means it has remained in the same family for 100 years. Quite an accomplishment! Doug and Karen Lustig, the farm’s current owners, graciously hosted the Lustig event on a recent rainy Saturday.

     Often during that weekend of celebration, I was reminded of the significance of legacy.

     Ron’s grandparents and all the Lustig children except one—Aunt Rita—have passed, but legacy does not pass away.

     Legacy lives on.

     I’m convinced legacy matters to God. An Old Testament story reinforces my belief. The children of Israel were about to enter the land God promised them. These verses from Joshua 4 (NLT) tell the story far better than I.

     4:1 When all the people had crossed the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Now choose twelve men, one from each tribe. Tell them, ‘Take twelve stones from the very place where the priests are standing in the middle of the Jordan…’”

     So Joshua called together the twelve men he had chosen—one from each of the tribes of Israel. He told them, “Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of the Ark of the Lord your God. Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder—twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.”

     The twelve stones of remembrance were a literal legacy reminder as is the Lustig family farm. In today’s Listening on the Journey… blog post, however, I would like to honor unseen aspects of the Lustig legacy.

     The legacy of:

  • Fun celebration. One of my favorite pictures was taken when Ron was about ten-years old. He’s surrounded by his grandparents, aunts, uncles and a humongous group of first cousins. All had gathered at the family farm on a Sunday afternoon, which was a regular occurrence. Childhood memories of playing with cousins on the farm remain some of Ron’s favorites. The cousins are mostly gray-haired now, but playful conversation and lots of laughter still abound whenever they gather.
  • Food! Years ago, when I began my training in critical incident response, a recommendation was made by one of the trainers that every critical incident debriefing should include food. The premise was that when people gather around food, they tend to talk, and talking is an important aspect of healthy trauma response. Tables laden with massive quantities of delicious eats are a centerpiece of any Lustig event. (My favorite is my husband’s cousin’s scrumptious home-canned hot dill pickles!) Lots of conversation, including fun remembrances, abound.
  • Hard work. I never cease to be amazed at my husband’s industriousness. Ron’s value of working diligently—without a bunch of bellyaching—certainly is characteristic of the entire Lustig clan.
  • Overarching all is the Lustig legacy of faith. Theirs is a devout Catholic family. Although I never met her, I appreciate stories about Grandma Lustig’s faithful prayers for every one of her ten children and 60 plus grandchildren!

     The recent gathering honored a great grandson, Joseph, who had just been ordained as a priest. During the family mass Father Joseph conducted, I thought how proud Ron’s grandparents would have been to see their handsome offspring, wearing religious vestments once worn by their son and using a chalice during communion that had been used by Father Victor Lustig many years before.

     Even though my husband no longer practices the traditions of his Roman Catholic upbringing, I have no doubt Ron’s strong Christian faith is linked directly to his praying grandmother. Her example serves as a reminder to me of the far-reaching power of prayers—even to generations of offspring we’ll never know this side of Heaven.

     I pray today’s post will encourage you to celebrate your own godly legacy, and if you were not blessed in that way, I hope my words will ignite a desire in you to be the person who begins a lovely legacy…

Sue Reeve

Contemplative Prayer and Soul Care…

     For readers who followed Listening on the Journey… during 2017, you may recall my theme for that year was Soul Care Discovery. During 2017, I was introduced to contemplative (listening) prayer. This discovery led me not only to an amazing new dimension of soul care but also to the faraway land of Spain where I was privileged to participate in an educational pilgrimage and 4-day contemplative prayer retreat.

     I’m far from an expert on the spiritual discipline of contemplative prayer. As I continue to practice silent ‘listening’ prayer, however, I’m experiencing a quietude of spirit I’ve never known before, and my soul longs for more!

     One recent Sunday, I celebrated another birthday. (Oh, my, they seem to arrive more quickly each year!) A portion of my special day was spent strolling with my husband through the beautiful Manito Gardens in Spokane, Washington.

     Today’s post includes photos Ron took during our late spring Manito Garden birthday walk as well as some of my insights regarding contemplative prayer.

     Each birthday and each new season assure us the world in which we live keeps changing. I hope these photos and thoughts will remind you that despite our always-changing worlds, we can trust in a never-changing God.

Blessings on your journey of ‘listening…’

Sue Reeve

Friendship, Romance, and So Much More…

     Friday, June 8th , my husband and I remembered the vows we exchanged in a sweet church ceremony 39 years ago.

     The foundation of Ron’s and my marriage was one built on strong friendship. When I met my husband-to-be, I was reeling emotionally from a devastating divorce. I wasn’t looking for another husband, but immediately, I liked the tall, lanky guy with a bushy reddish beard and mellow baritone voice. I was drawn to kind and wise words he spoke.

     I wasn’t in a very trusting mood at that phase of my journey, but in retrospect, I realize I knew instinctively Ron was a trustworthy man. For over two years, we forged an enduring friendship. Before romance dawned—while love grew gently—we learned to appreciate shared values.

     Ron had never married, and I knew he was ready to settle down and create a family. Because he was my friend, and because true friends want what’s best for a cherished acquaintance, I prayed God would give him a good wife. Seriously, I kept my eyes open for such a woman, but no one ever seemed ‘good enough!’

     One day, quite unexpectedly on my commute to work, I sensed a deep knowing. My life was about to change, and I felt certain Ron would be part of that change. I decided I’d try to nudge our friendship ‘up a notch.’ My nudging worked, and within a short time, we realized we’d fallen in love and wanted to make the plunge into marriage.

     I’d be lying if I said our marriage has always been smooth sailing. We have in fact weathered a variety of storms. Yet, thirty-nine years after saying, “I do,” my husband remains my dearest friend and oh, so much more! I cherish the idea of growing old with my man!

     Friendships, I believe, are God’s good idea, flowing out of divine love. The New Testament was written originally in Greek, and sometimes the English translation misses subtle differences of the original language. Take the word “love” for example. The Greek differentiates types of love, including:

  • Phileo love involves a strong liking or friendship
  • Eros love is romantic love
  • Agape love is a deep, deliberate love rooted in God’s love

     The journey of love Ron and I have traveled began as phileo. Eventually, it transitioned into eros. The covering over both—the so much more—has been agape.

     1 Corinthians 13 is called the “Love Chapter.” Portions of this scripture are often used at weddings and paint a clear picture of God’s design for true love. Every ‘love’ reference is translated accurately as agape, so this description of love reaches far beyond the newlywed.

     Here’s how the writer describes agape love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLT):

Love is patient and kind.
Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.
It does not demand its own way.
It is not irritable, and
it keeps no record of being wronged.
It does not rejoice about injustice but
rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
Love never gives up,
never loses faith,
is always hopeful, and
endures through every circumstance.

     Today’s post is a celebration of friendship, romance and the so much more of deep, deliberate agape love…

May your day be filled with many agape moments!

Sue Reeve