We each have a life story, penned without ink, read by the people around us. Who's writing your story?

Saturday, September 30, 2017

A Reassuring Voice . . .

It seemed the bottom fell out of my soul. 

How could I go on . . . alone?

I, the follower, the glad-I'm-not-in-the-spotlight wife and mom, the one who sought my husband's opinion on, well . . . just about everything. Barry always seemed to know how to think and what to do.

As I trudged uphill on the path called "widowhood," I began to discover God's provision in new ways. While climbing the steep learning curves of insurance, home maintenance, college decisions, and finances, I heard several voices whispering their wisdom to me, voices that, in retrospect, guided me along when I didn't know how to think and what to do.

One of those voices belonged to Shawn Stockdale. Shawn and Kay had been friends for many years. We saw them at church, at school, and at soccer games. Kay and I shared tea and prayer requests. Shawn, Barry, and another friend walked together in the mornings before work.

About twelve years ago, Shawn became our financial advisor. He and my husband met regularly. I came sometimes, more often as time when on. Little did I know then, that this relationship would be a huge gift to me, one that would lessen my stress and give me the direction I needed.

After Barry passed away, I sat in Shawn's office with Barry's words ringing in my ears. "If anything happens to me, Shawn will help you."

And he has.

With a gentle kindness, Shawn assisted me in consolidating our savings and offered a long-term plan for the future. Using the Dunkin' Donuts situated nearby as an illustration, he explained the various pieces of a healthy financial picture and the basics of good stewardship. I took notes, and with every meeting my understanding increased a little more.

I also learned to ask questions. Questions about our resources, about what to do when my Subaru gave out, and about where to buy good snow tires at a reasonable price. I brought in mail with insurance offers, statements I couldn't make heads or tails of, and health insurance options. He and his sensitive, competent staff walked me through each issue, step by step. I've thanked them over and over.

After his fourth open-heart surgery, Shawn passed away this past Wednesday. 

I'm so very sad for Kay and their children and grandchildren. I pray God gives them the strength they need day by day. I'm sad for those whose lives he touched with his smile, kindness, and practical help. I'm sad because it's a loss for me, too.

Even through my tears this week, I'm finding ways to be grateful. I'm reaching out to the One who promises to always be with us. And I've found myself thinking about Shawn and Barry . . . old friends . . . walking the streets of gold . . . without a word about money!


  1. So beautifully written Sarah. We are heartbroken at Shawn's passing and grieve with Kay and their kids. But thank you for reminding us of our hope in eternity. Shawn DOES walk on streets of gold. The testimony of Shawn's life is an inspiration to us all. To live with eternity in view, serving the Lord faithfully wherever he places us. As your Barry did too, so well, "Love God, Love others".

    1. You said it so well, Julie . . . "to live with eternity in view" is an inspiration to us all. Blessings . . .

    2. So sorry for your loss, Sarah. He seemed like a wonderful man. You honored him beautifully.

  2. And what a reminder that part of the "good" that God brings out of the hard parts of our lives is that we can better understand what others are feeling when they go through it, and we can weep with them when they weep and rejoice with them when they are able to do that. God doesn't waste those hard times!

    1. Thanks for your good thoughts, Nancy. There is a sweet comfort in knowing that God doesn't waste any of our trials.

  3. A heartfelt and beautiful tribute, Sarah. Shawn sounds like a wonderful man, and I trust his reward in heaven will be great. So sorry for your loss . . .