When the Past and the Present Meet

Hi everyone,

Just for fun, here’s how Ms. Mauer McNabb helps hubby paint. (BTW, hubby did a gorgeous job on the downstairs bathroom):


Prayers going out to survivors of Sunday’s storm, that all will fall into place in time and that everyone who needs it will feel empowered by the strength to do what needs to be done.

Finally got this post written! It’s been on my mind for some time now. I was thinking about how the past and the present come together in ways unexpected—but not necessarily all that surprising. (Please note: In the interest of privacy, names have been changed.)

When I was a kid my mom became friendly with Kathy, a neighbor who had three kids. Because Kathy’s boys, myself and my brothers were close in age we played together quite a bit. To this day, we’re still very good friends and easily pick up where we left off.

Kathy’s middle son, Peter, was very close to the older of my brothers. (He’ll go by Jon.) When Jon passed away from leukemia just three weeks shy of his twenty-second birthday, we were all devastated. Peter and the younger of my brothers, who’d been best friends since the ages of seven and five, grew even closer.

Because there is no choice for the survivors, life continued, taking its fairly typical progression. Peter got married, had a son and named him after my brother Jon. Go figure, Jon was born on the anniversary of my brother’s death, right around the time of day my brother moved on from this life. I’ll never forget how we were at my mom’s house, the phone rang and Peter made his announcement. Strange, beautiful and oddly coincidental; far as I’m concerned, God-orchestrated.

Jon is the very image of his dad. Although his hair is a bit lighter, he inherited Peter’s curly hair, big brown eyes, rosy cheeks and infectious smile. He also has Peter’s fun-loving, boisterous and terribly big-hearted spirit.

Fast-forward about eight years to an early morning phone call from my sister-in-law. At thirty-nine-just-turned and with no clue about his condition Peter sustained a heart attack and died. My brother Jon may as well have passed away again.

My mom and Kathy remain close friends to this day. (Kathy was always there to comfort my mother when her pain was new, and now they share that scar as only parents who’ve lost a child can.) One day Kathy called and asked if she could bring Jon to my house to play with my boys, since they’re pretty close in age. Long story short, my younger son and Jon immediately hit it off. Unfortunately, Jon doesn’t live close by, but the boys hook up whenever Jon visits his grandmother and via cell phones and X-box Live.

Like Jon’s dad and my brothers before them, these boys are as close as if they’d grown up together. Makes me wonder: what connects them? Similar personalities? (My younger son is a LOT like my surviving brother.) Or just another example of God’s hand in the overall picture? Probably a bit of both but either way, I get tremendous joy watching these boys create a backstory all their own while history sort of repeats itself.

All thoughts and reflections welcome. Have a wonderful day, friends.


12 thoughts on “When the Past and the Present Meet

  1. Love the helping paws.
    First- my condolences on your losses, Joanna! How tragic. But how awesome that the boys are close, too. I can’t guess why they connect, it sounds like God’s intervention to me though. Sweet story.


  2. Heartrending blog, Joanna. Thank you for sharing. I like to think God has helped ease the pain a bit by bringing these souls together. Life is so hard to figure out sometimes.



    1. Thank you for reading, Lynne. Funny, my brother has been gone a long time, but this year, with my boys in their teens–as well as losing my cat–is when I’m just beginning to get what my parents must have felt. Peter’s mom too, and so many others like them. Guess none of us will never understand everything life brings, though the New Testament teaches one day we will ‘see things as they are’ not a ‘reflection.’ All in time, I suppose.


  3. I have a cat that likes to help too, think they might be related?
    I looked at a lot of blogs today, but yours, in its eloquence, will
    be on my mind when I go to bed tonight. I am so sorry for your
    God works in our lives in so many unique and wonderful ways.
    How good of Him to give your families a new way to reconnect
    that will bring about positive memories for everyone.


    1. I tell you, Neeks, my little McNabby is a different cat since she lost her big brother BlackJack. She’s more affectionate and verbal than before.

      Thanks so much for your beautiful and kind words about my blog. I’m so glad when people are touched–makes me feel all this is truly here for a reason. With all my heart I believe God gives us the ability to share so that we can connect in so many ways. The internet, when used for His good, is one of His most amazing gifts. Thank you again.


  4. You’re very kind, Tess. Thank you so much.

    And where is my brain? Totally blank that I embedded that link in your comments yesterday.

    Yes, our feline ‘li’l ones’ may as well be related, lol. She was born at my son’s friend’s house, from a stray that showed there. Told my sons when we went to see the kittens, WE ARE NOT BRINGING ANY HOME.

    Uh. Huh. Saw the markings on that face and I was doomed by my own words. Family surprised me with her a few days later, lol.


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