This past weekend was a special time of remembrance for several reasons. On top of taking time to appreciate the soldiers who have given the ultimate sacrifice for this country, this past weekend was the memorial service for Sharon Henegar who was like a second mom to me, and the anniversary of the passing of Joe Bolger who was a friend from high school.
Mrs. Henegar is one of the most influential women in my life, outside of my own family. On multiple occasions, I have found myself living under the Henegar’s roof. When I was 16, I spent the summer living with the Henegars. I didn’t want to go back home to Washington at the end of summer, and despite my recklessness, and my getting into some serious trouble, she was willing to let me live in their house for the rest of my High School career. The only catch was I had to tell my parents everything I had done that summer. I opted to move back home, and that was the end of the discussion. A few years later I had been fired from my first job, and needed a place to live while I sorted life out. The Henegar’s once again opened their doors. I lived there for six months while applying for jobs, and ultimately finding what has been my current career path. During those times, and the many visits, Mrs Henegar was always a consistent, straight shooter with me. She was always lovingly on my case about finding a wife and getting married, staying out of trouble, and taking my troubles before the Lord. She is the person that comes to mind when I read the verse out of the Bible that calls us to, “speak the truth in love.” Mrs. Henegar always spoke truth into my life, and I know that she did so out of a love for Christ and me. The best part of this story is that it is in no way unique; Mrs Henegar treated everyone with this level of respect and love.
I was proud to introduce her to Stacy, and was equally proud to witness her holding both of my sons over the past couple years. Those are memories I will always cherish, along with our long discussions during great times of ‘sorting my life out’. I will also miss her eyeroll and “Oh Brother” when Dan and I start quoting Three Amigos. Most of all, I will miss her kind words of Godly wisdom.
Joe Bolger was a classmate of mine from High School. He was one of the first friends I met when I moved up to Washington in 9th grade. I’ve written before about the difficulty I had making that move, which makes the kindness of Joe stand out in a much brighter light. Joe was the only friend that first year to invite me over. He would sit next to me on the bus when no one else would, he would warm up with me on the baseball team, and he would make his way across the lunch room to eat with me when I was alone. Joe had a deep faith, and knew that I was someone in need. I think of him when I hear the Bible verse that says, “whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me.” At a time when I felt like ‘the least’, Joe was there.
As the years went on and I made more friends, I saw Joe less and less. He became another friendly face in the hall. I was at a Memorial Day Church picnic at the end of my Junior year when I heard the news that Joe had passed during a boxing match. We hadn’t talked in a while, which I will always regret. But I take solace in knowing that God had put him there in my life exactly when I needed him.
The value of remembering those we have lost comes from being thankful for what who we were given. Mrs Henegar was a mighty warrior for the Lord, Joe was a faithful servant, and so many soldiers have been our guardians. I am thankful for all three.
When it comes to how we remember those we have lost, I think the best way to show our respect is to honor what the person valued. For our soldiers I think that means living a life worthy of freedom. For Mrs Henegar and Joe Bolger, I think that means following the Jesus Christ that they loved so dearly.