Many of us have holes in our heart. I’m not thinking of the physical kind, I’m thinking about the emotional kind. The emotional holes in our heart.

I’ve noticed that some people never get over what’s missing in their life, while other people compensate for what they don’t have , and redeem this lack in their lives by filling that hole with something else that is good, and noble, and pure.

In today’s episode I’ll share with you a recent telephone conversation Janet and I had with a long-time friend who has a hole in her heart, and how she and her husband found opportunity in redeeming what was missing in their life.

Each year around Thanksgiving we would get a Thanksgiving card from our dear and long-time friends, Vern and Lorraine. The cards stopped coming a year or so ago, due to health issues for both of them. So every so often we will call them, like we did two days before Thanksgiving. They’re living in the Twin Cities now, which is where both of them are from.

They both were about the age of our parents, when we first met. That alone is surprising that this older couple wanted to be friends with us, and even more surprising is the fact they come from a Salvation Army background. The uniforms and the whole bit. I have this image of Salvation Army members as being oh so conservative, and the women being oh so dowdy. Vern and Lorraine are so not that. Very classy in how they dressed, and even classier in how they live their lives.

They are both 93 as of this recording. They had been on my mind recently because whenever someone gets to that age, I do wonder. Are they still with us? Have they died. My greatest fear with Vern and Lorraine is not that they’ll die, but that they’ll die and I won’t know about it. Many years ago Vern told me what he wanted his funeral to be like, and I just want to show up to see if his dream comes true.

So when we called right before Thanksgiving, my greatest hope was that one of them would answer the phone. To my relief, Lorraine answered.

“Just a minute,” she said. “I have to turn the TV down. It’s too loud.”

We started talking and I told her Janet and I wanted to see how they were doing, and also to thank them for what they have meant to us for these past 50 years we have been friends. Thanksgiving, it seems is an appropriate time of the year to do that.

So we started telling her how much we appreciated what she and Vern did for us, starting when we were freshman in college. Before we could get very far she responded with

“Even though we couldn’t have children ourselves, we were able to invest in other people and THEIR children. We have had such a good life.”

I then share examples of how they invested in Janet and and me, and what the modeled for us. You can hear these stories on the podcast.

Here are 5 values they modeled for us:

1. Be generous with your resources, namely your time and money

2. Make God the center of your life

3. Age gracefully with wisdom

4. Encourage people

5. Share in the joy of what others have that you lack

What I took away from our Thanksgiving phone call to Vern and Lorraine, is that even though some important things maybe missing in our lives, we can experience joy in giving to people what we don’t have.

Even though we’re not able to have children of our own, we can be parents to other people’s kids. Even though people may not affirm us, we can affirm them. Even though people may not initiate with us, we can initiate with them. Even though people may not love us the way we want, we can love them.

Show summary in a sentence, the “The Big Idea” of today’s program:

Even though an important piece in our life may be missing, we can find joy in giving to people what is missing in their lives.

Here’s a way you can respond to today’s show

What is missing in your life? What is lacking? And then consider how you can take that deficiency and turn it into an opportunity to bless others.

Quote of the Week

You haven’t had a perfect day until you’ve done something for someone who can never pay you back. – John Wooden