We first met our son-in-law, Don McGregor in 1999. Although older than Shelley, this handsome man looked Shelley’s age or maybe even younger.
Shelley lived in Katy, Texas at the time, and Don lived in Austin. As single parents, each had one daughter and one son. Wanting mates, they posted pictures on an Internet site. Don owned his business and his mother worked for him. As he and his mom gazed at the computer, Don downloaded Shelley's picture. When the image reached her eyes, he said to his mom, “I’m going to marry that girl.”
I think he told her that night she would be getting a ring. She didn’t believe him, but a short time later, perhaps a week, true to his word, he gave her one.They married on December 31, 1999, the day before the new millennium.
They enjoyed happy years and a great deal of fun. They went camping, fishing, hiking…anything outdoors.Then cancer came to reside with Don.
The disease didn't defeat him. With courage, he lived with it, even comforted his mom and family with this remark. "It's another adventure."
He went to heaven on September 10, 2015.
John Hamilton, cousin and friend spoke at Don's funeral
Don's greatest achievement became Mount McKinley in Alaska—over three miles of sheer terror that most of us would never consider.Don counted such endeavors gratifying. Can you imagine? Not me.
At the service, John Hamilton spoke of Don's mountain undertaking. He told about the time a group of French men were with Don on a mountain. The only words in English the guys knew were, "time to climb." These words became Don's life theme...even into his last adventure.
John also spoke about the term, "belay." He explained the belayer was crucial to a climber. This person held the rope and kept the climber from falling.
"Don, who is your belayer?" While visiting Don in hospice one day, John asked the question.
"Jesus Christ." Don made no hesitation with his answer.
John brought bracelets with those words on them. Many of us have one and they are great reminders.
After John finished with his portion of the service, my hubby stood to deliver a message. Have you ever thought about how difficult it is for a pastor to preach a family member's funeral? Both John and Paul spoke eloquently during this tough assignment.
Paul talked about an experience he and Don had shared. In 1972, both attended Explo 72 in Dallas, TX. Campus Crusade sponsored the event. These two men had no way of knowing they were both there or that someday Don would marry our daughter. Isn't it interesting the way God works?
On the mountains, Don had rescued men from falling off a precipice and one from a crevasse. In Explo 72, Don was trained to present the Gospel in an uncomplicated way. This simple message gave people the means to understand, and then respond to Jesus.
Don saved men from mountains, but Jesus saves souls. Humanity needs to hear the good news. That was what Explo 72 was all about.
Arriving back to Austin at one o'clock in the morning, Don woke up his parents. With tears streaming down his face, he asked them where they would spend eternity.
His mom still smiles with the memory. She and Don's dad were Christians and active in church, but Don wanted to make sure they would all end up in the same place in the after life.
At the funeral, Paul reiterated what he and Don had learned at Explo 72.
1. God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. From Genesis to Revelation, Scripture tells us this powerfully and concisely in John 3:16.
2. We are sinners. God gave Ten Commandments as recorded in Exodus 20. Everyone of us have broken at least one of the ten. Romans 3:23 states, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." This makes us lost to eternal life in heaven.
3. There is only one way to rectify our lost condition. Jesus Christ. "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6.
4. We must be willing to accept Him into our life. Jesus is the epitome of a perfect gentleman. He never barges into a life but waits for an invitation. "Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me." Revelation 3:20.
My hubby went on to explain that faith is not a feeling or merely an intellectual belief. The act of confessing sin and inviting Jesus into your life requires personal volition. In other words, it is a commitment...decision or choice. We choose to invite Jesus into our lives.
We celebrated Don's life. Do we miss him? Oh my yes. Will it be difficult to live down here without him? You bet it will. Would he want to return to earth? NEVER! Does he want us all to meet him up there? YES!!
I write this synopsis of the messages John Hamilton and Paul Lewis delivered to the listeners with the hope that we will all meet Don again in heaven. He's up there now and enjoys happiness, peace and health. No doubt he is eager for us all to be there too.
Folks, it's time to climb.
As his mom said, "He's reached his final destination."
Shelley, Don's mother, and me.
Walking away was difficult, but she will see him again...up there.
For more information on Belay, check out this Youtube video.