Those of you who knew pastor Norm Koop know why we grieve so deeply. He was a vigorous, dynamic man, an excellent teacher and a humble leader. You don’t often find those together; add to them a goofy sense of humor and you have a character: one who leaves an indelible imprint.
He died in foliage season, but a fallen leaf is not a good metaphor when a man of this caliber dies in the prime of life. A leaf fades and falls because its work is done. He was a prize apple tree destroyed one night by lightning.
But his death sure has stirred up a bee hive of thought. Here are some of the things I have been thinking about:
- Norm had ten talents and used them to return a hundred. I have two. Living and dying well comes by serving authentically with what you have. I’ll serve even if it seems small.
- I held back from getting to know Norm and Anne better because I didn’t want to push myself forward, to be a bother, to take up their time. And so I lost a the great gift of knowing and being known by Norm. A shame.
- We have been in the presence of greatness. I will not take excellence for granted again.
- I meditate on the Word more, reading it more often during the day. We are going to read to the family at supper time, a practice we had when the kids were little but didn’t continue, for some reason. The youngest boys and I have been slowly studying Psalm 1. This evening after supper I read aloud Boice’s commentary on Psalm 1 and we found both familiar ideas and rich expansion. And I noticed how peaceful and how right it felt to be experiencing it together. Why did we stop??
- I need my Christian family. The mutual sorrow and comfort of these men and women helped me and my family walk through our grief. They are so very dear to me.
I am grateful that we just happened to be on school break these two weeks, having two weeks to do one week’s worth of work. In a brain fog most days, I was glad to have the cushion of the extra days. I only wish my two college children could have been here to say farewell in person.
It is a good life, and then it gets better. “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” –Julian of Norwich