Sunday, January 21, 2007

Goodbye Norb

My friend Norb Aalsma went home to be with the Lord last night. I knew this day was coming, ever since I said "goodbye" to him at the end of December. I hurt for his wife, Faye, and the kids, as well as his brother Norris (& Lois) who have endured the long ordeal, but I'm happy for Norb...his suffering his over.
I met Norb 30 years ago when I was selling insurance, and when I became pastor at 1st Congregational Church in 1977, Norb & Faye came with their family to the church shortly after. We made an immediate connection.
I remember running a daytime discipleship course once a week. Norb, who was a dairy farmer, came in and we grew closer.
Norb was infected by the grace of Jesus. Raised in a fairly strict Reformed church tradition, he fell in love with the freedom that comes by the grace of God. He often spoke to me about the realization of God's grace...that he was acceptable to God because of nothing more than God's love for him and not because he obeyed the law. This was his greatest delight that he never recovered from...Praise God!
I don't think I ever had a conversation with Norb that did not at some point result in his referring to the wonder of God's grace, and the love of Jesus.
My, how I miss him.
Norb and Faye asked me a while back if I would lead his funeral service. My message will be short: He Lived to the fullest, He loved Christ, His family, and Friends, and He leaves a legacy of Faith that I pray his children and children's children will embrace.

Recently, another friend, Jim Watters (who was a part of that same church once) wrote a blog where he reference this old canticle...I'm using it here because it says so much of what Norb is and did, thanks Jim:

Teach us, dear Lord, to number our days;
that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
Oh, satisfy us early with Thy mercy,
that we may rejoice and be glad all of our days.
And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us;
and establish Thou the work of our hands.
And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us;
and establish Thou the work of our hands, dear Lord.

Goodbye Norb...I will see you soon!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey you stinker, I was cleaning out Norb's drawer, looking for tax items I needed, and ran across your blog addy, and here I see you are wrting about my Norbie, what an empty spot in our home, in our hearts, you brought me to tears! I love sitting here in his office, surrounded by his books, desk, deer antlers, turkey tails,(eek) thought I'd never like them, but they are part of him and I feel so safe here. Thank's so much for making his celebration special, we mourn much, not as those without hope, we rejoice for him, no more pain, or suffering, and I have his smile in my heart! We all love you and the fam. Faye

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