Monday, February 7, 2011
I think there’s a certain aptness to last night’s fitfulness. It mirrored the six days I spent in Chicago at the ECC’s Midwinter conference. The majority of that time I spent inside a hotel catching up to speed on Covenant theology and dealing with many present realities I face at work. It was a lot to process. Plus I’m not used to sitting at a table eight hours a day in a room without windows.
The rest of the week was spent meeting new colleagues and catching up with others I’ve met in the past few years. A few times I was adventurous enough to brave the elements and find coffee, Thai food, and the best Barbecue I’d ever tasted. (10 is not a temperature! That’s not weather!) But the most pivotal event of the week was catching up with two old friends not even part of the conference. They live in Chicago and after 14 years I got to see them.
Kirk was my faithful mentor, choir director, handbell choir director, and co-participant in the 1988 Marching Handbell Choir at the Rose Parade. His is a spirit of joy, of constant laughter, and humility. It was the first time I had seen him since his wife, Louise, passed away from cancer. His spirit still seemed the same despite losing his best friend of so many years. I ached inside for someone who doesn’t deserve this.
I also babysat Kirk & Louise’s three kids for a couple of years. Three great kids: Rachel, Meagan, Jonathan. They’re all grown up now. To my surprise Kirk said I was a godsend to them as a babysitter. (I’ve had a few of those babysitters in my life too.) But what truly sets the bar high is the gif that Rachel has been to him. When Louise got sick four years ago, Rachel quit her job, left her Virginia home, and moved to be with her parents. Now she is Kirk’s encourager and frequent companion on weekends and snow days. “Dad, I tried to call you to give you directions,” she said in the car. “I never heard the phone; let me check. Oops, it wasn’t turned on.” She shook her head with a smile like many do when technologies seem to confound their parents.
The short three hours we had together was enough to remember times gone by. Of being a teenager looking for meaning. Of being thankful for people that gave it to you. It was tough to walk out the car door and know I wouldn’t be in the neighborhood to stop by and encourage my friends. To in some way reciprocate the innumerable ways that family cared for me. But this family I do hold dear to my heart and will never be too far away to pray for.