I knew her name. I knew her children. Her firstborn was even in my first handbook group at AWANA. But she was so….old. At 22 and married just a year, I didn’t see many connections to Lois except her 5 year old. She was 10 years older than me and she had 3 children! If only I had known then what I know now…
Lois and I maintained a nodding acquaintance over the years. We had our first baby, then on Brent’s first birthday, Lois and Paul had a fourth baby, Alec. A trio of girls joined our house, and my path didn’t cross very often with Lois’s. Always part of the large group of acquaintances, we saw one another but never really connected. As the kids grew, we saw more of Alec since he spent time with families we spent time with. Eventually, Alec was part of our annual vacation, joining another family for our multi-family camping trip. And still I didn’t get to know Lois.
Fast forward a few more years. Mine were headed toward middle school, and Lois had one ready to graduate. What? Even more surprising was the announcement that Lois and Paul were having another baby. But with that baby came hard news—Lois’s diagnosis of cancer. When the baby was 15 months and Alec was 12, Lois succumbed to the cancer. As a church, we hurt for the loss.
Now, so many years later, I regret not getting to know Lois better. It hurts to think about the opportunities lost. You see…Lois would be Hailey’s mother in law. I wish I had known her, not just been acquainted with her. I wish I had stories to share with Alec about his mom. I wish I had known her better so I could share her with my (our!) future grandbabies. But I was intimidated by the age difference. Young and clueless, I didn’t know it would matter. Now I do. I live with that regret. So I tell my girls to take advantage of the time they have to get to know the people who cross their paths.
And when I see pictures like these:
I know for sure, even though I didn’t know Lois well, that she would be incredibly proud of the young man her boy has become. Serving at junior high camp, spending time with young men, and hanging with his baby brother—those are an integral part of his life. You’ve done well, Lois. He’s an amazing young man.
Those people God puts in your path? They are there for a reason! Don’t wait. Don’t put off getting to know them. You don’t know now how important it might be…or when it will be too late.