I saw glimpses of heaven today.  It was one of those moments / experiences that will remain with me – details frozen in time.
I had the honor of attending the funeral this morning of Betty Shawver Reitz.  Betty is the mother of the Family Promise of Lawrence founder, Joe Reitz.  I had not ever met Betty, but I knew part of her story and some of her legacy through the work of Joe and Nancy Reitz, and their children, and grandchildren in the family promise network.  This family has supported family promise with 4 generations of volunteers.
At the funeral, I was blessed to listen to wonderful stories of a life of love and service.  I learned more about Joe and Nancy, and how they had been shaped by Mrs. Reitz. I witnessed her devoted husband Harry grieve with a love that clearly embraced their 75 years together.
I also watched a graduate family of Lawrence Family Promise – a husband and wife, who attended the funeral.  They were the first to hug grieving Joe and Harry at the grave site.  And that is the moment I realized I was watching a glimpse of heaven.  Through the impact Betty Reitz had on others, some of whom have deeply touched my own life…  the connections… the circle of love… her  life of service, her legacy that lives on through her family, and the others that her family continues to touch…  It all became in a moment, so clear to me.  This was what God so deeply loves, a family – whose heart is shaped and molded by love and generosity.
We rarely take time to think about the “Linked In” web that God so masterfully builds through His Kingdom.  I was humbled by the love and grief of the Reitz family today, and by watching the comfort given freely by a graduate family of LFP that had been directly helped, and impacted by Betty’s life.  I stood watching family support each other, friends of the family share their love, friends who have known Joe since childhood, a board member of family promise give her love and prayers, supporters of family promise there to show respect, members of Holy Family Church of Eudora, the graduate family of LFP, all gathered around to give honor, support, love and to celebrate a life well lived.  This was what family, extended family, and God’s family looks like.  We are all connected, even though we may rarely realize the blood line.
How is it grief, pain and sorrow are so matched hand and hand with joy and love and service?  It is beyond anything logical.  This is faith.  This is the Kingdom.    Thank you Betty Reitz.