Over the past few years, I’ve lost too many loved ones who meandered out of this life and crossed the River Jordan.
“I don’t know why the Lord keeps taking the good ones and leaving the bad ones,” I complained to a friend, recently widowed. Her husband had been a celebrated legend of the ages.
“You know what I think?” she replied. “I think God leaves them here to give them plenty of time to find their way to Him.”
Later, as I reflected on her kind wisdom, I thought of a brutal summer some years ago. The land was scorched and thirsty for water while leaves on the trees dried, threatening to drop in July. Pitifully, they hung on, thanks to spouts of rain here and there.
Tink was in the cool beauty of Vancouver Island for three months to shoot a television series.
I, meanwhile, tried to keep the Rondarosa going by bush hogging, weed pulling, and caring for the horses and other animals. The heat was relentless. One day, I almost made my own journey over Jordan when the tractor stuck in gear going down a steep hill and the brake wouldn’t engage. I was headed for the boarded fence, the creek, and a terrible accident when the Lord, apparently, changed His mind.
Two feet from disaster, the tractor abruptly turned to the right and came to a stop.
Then Hurricane Irma sent an historic tropical storm. For 12 hours, the wind and rain raged.
The first of the dozen trees to fall was an enormous oak that was well over a hundred years old. When I was able to peep out the next morning, I could not believe I was looking at the same land from 24 hours earlier.
My brother-in-law, Rodney, and a couple of my nephews arrived to cut their way up the driveway on the front side, then cleared the drive on the back property. Still, it was a most disheartening mess. By video, Tink saw the damage but he was knee-deep in production and couldn’t leave.
An incredible woman named Trina Wingo called me. “I’m gonna send the twins over to help you.”
Oh boy, I thought unenthusiastically. All I knew of the 14-yearold identical twins was that they were adorable blond, cute boys and were always up to mischief in church, especially during Vacation Bible School. I couldn’t imagine they would be much help but I was a beggar, not a chooser.
The next morning, Trina dropped off Matthew and Luke.
With scarcely a word, they pulled out chain saws they had brought and flew into a flurry of work. It was stunning. We were down on the creek bank when the chain slipped from Matthew’s saw.
Working in tandem, wordlessly, they quickly repaired it. They were remarkable.
When Trina returned to pick them up, I said, “I’ve never seen anyone work like those two.”
She nodded. “They’re good workers, that’s for sure.”
Trina and her family, including daughters Brittney and Kaylie, and husband, Chad, put a great deal of heart, neighborliness, and hard work into every day.
It wasn’t long ago that Trina collapsed. Within hours, the doctors delivered the grim news: a rapidly spreading brain tumor required immediate surgery. That Monday night, the church overflowed as people fell on their knees to pray for her healing.
And it came. The next afternoon, during the precarious surgery, Jesus gently led her away into complete healing and a better world.
Thinking about it, I figured it would take at least five people to replace Trina: wife, mother, teacher, cheerleading coach, and nonstop church volunteer.
Behind, she left a legacy of good works and children who are faithful to church, hard work, and kindness. The twins pop up, occasionally, on the Rondarosa, to build a fence or cut up a tree.
Still, I question: Why the good ones? Especially those so short of years.
Ronda Rich is the best-selling author of “St. Simons Island: A Stella Bankwell Mystery.” Visit www. rondarich.com to sign up for her free weekly newsletter.