Our friend Shane went home to be with the Lord early this morning. . .what do you say from here? There are so many thoughts circling in my head, I just told J, "I've got to go write!" Shane's sweet, precious wife has known my family since we were little. . her family were member's of my father's church years ago when she was a little girl. I have watched her from a distance growing up in our small town and known her sister as well for years. Life brought us back together as neighbors in the early years of matrimony raising babies under a year old. I always remember seeing each other walk those babies in strollers time and time again. . up and down the street. Those babies are now in 4th grade together. Shane and DeAnn came to join our school family a couple of years ago and we would be "doing life" together again. . as J had gone to college with Shane years ago. It was awesome to be reacquainted with people you just feel good to be with!
DeAnn has been a faithful reader of my blog and started her own a few years ago, then of course has kept up with Shane's caring bridge site through these past 5 months. Her faith throughout this journey has amazed me. Right up until Thursday night when she had a minister come and administer communion with her husband and family. The same night our Lord took bread with his closest friends. . .her faith has been unstoppable, her sadness almost palpable, but her hope unrelenting! She has been a rock sustained only by the power of the Lord. To Him be the Glory for that.
Today's date marked a benefit for Shane at their local church and has been on the calendar for several weeks. J is on deck to sing with his dad. Yes, sing. J doesn't even sing (don't get me wrong, he sings beautifully, just in the shower). . but on the list of songs is those such as "It is Well with my soul", "Amazing Grace", "The King in Coming". Many of those old favorites that remind us the power of our Lord and His amazing ability to give us grace and peace in times like these. I am praying he can get through the songs! I know I wouldn't be able to.
What a precious time to go home to be with the Lord. The very weekend all of Christendom celebrates the Resurrection of our Lord. From Greek orthodox, to Roman Catholics, to Baptists, to Presbyterians. . this weekend is about death and new life! Easter will forever be etched in their families' hearts as a time to celebrate that process. And mine too. Joni wrote a beautiful post over here last night. Everything she said has been ringing in my brain since I read it. Our sweet friends J and R have just been through this same process this very week over here. . . And so death. . has been in my face! J and I because of our life with kids and well, it's what we do. . have been drawn to have a heart for Shane and DeAnn's kids. .hurting for them, sad for them. Our children are in class with their kids, so we are just "doing life" with them. My kids love their boys and often tell stories of their funny ways, silly jokes, and friendship. (K actually used to have a "crush" on their son. . DeAnn and I would just giggle over that) My point is, a lot has been circling in my brain this past week. This past week, J drove their middle son over from the lower campus to the upper campus to meet up with the family that has been helping DeAnn with all the ball practices, carpooling, etc. As J was walking S into the school, he said, "can I get on your shoulders?" (remember from my Washington, D. C post, J is 6'5"), riding on his shoulders I'm sure is like a ride at the fair to any 1st grader. J said, "of course". And so S got a ride like none other. In my mind that was like little S saying, "Can you just pick me up and give me a big hug?"
I am forever changed by this past week. We are called to be there for the family of believers, in life and in death. Help those you love who are hurting, pick them up, hug them, put them on your shoulders. . be there for them. YOU will be forever changed! And today as I think of Mike Sweeney and Shane Richardson. . I couldn't help but think of this verse in 2 Corinthians, I loved how it was written in The Message, especially special this very weekend!
2 Corinthians 5:6 -8That's why we live with such good cheer. You won't see us drooping our heads or dragging our feet! Cramped conditions here don't get us down. They only remind us of the spacious living conditions ahead. It's what we trust in but don't yet see that keeps us going. Do you suppose a few ruts in the road or rocks in the path are going to stop us? When the time comes, we'll be plenty ready to exchange exile for homecoming.
The Message (MSG)