Celebrating Jan Peterson
With our Whole Heart for our Whole Life.
A few short months ago, Chris and I had the incredible honor of sitting down with the lovely Jan Peterson, wife of beloved author Eugene Peterson, for what none of us realized would be her very last interview. Shortly after our time together, Jan’s health began a rapid decline, and she went home to be with Jesus on Friday, May 10, 2019.
To say we were blessed by our time with Jan would be a vast understatement. It is a gift we will treasure forever. She had us cracking up, tearing up, and just in complete awe of a life well lived. Eugene and Jan taught us all through their life together what it truly means to live life well, poured out in love for others and for Jesus. You can listen in on the full conversation here.
A few things that struck me about Jan:
She had a natural, God given ability to truly see others. You felt valued and genuinely cared about in her presence, regardless of who you were or what you could offer her. She clearly believed each human who crossed her path had transcendent value and should be treated accordingly. As a result of living her life this way, God used her time and time again to literally transform lives through the love she reached out to show them.
She uncovered and fully cultivated the unique call of God on her own life: to love and care for others through her gift of hospitality. It would have been very easy for her to hide in the shadow of such a huge call as Eugene’s, but she did not. Jan cultivated her own gifting as a way to serve alongside Eugene, beautifully supporting the work and ministry God placed before them both. Her love for God and others compelled her to serve however she could with whatever he placed in her hands. She taught us that opening up our lives and homes to others is in fact important to God, and is in fact the way to change the world.
She was head over heels for her man to the very end. Isn’t that what we all long for? To love with our whole heart for our whole life? When asked of the beginning of their journey together, she said, “I was just so in love with the man, I would have followed him anywhere.” As we closed, she also mentioned, without hesitation, that her very favorite part of life was “meeting Eugene Peterson” and how she missed that famous smile of his.
I know her heart is full of joy as she is once again enjoying that smile, reunited with her sweetheart in the presence of Jesus. Our loss is Heaven’s gain. May we all live and love the way Jan and Eugene did, with our whole hearts for our whole lives.
Grace and Peace.