Sunday, August 14, 2005

when words fail

where to start? last night was incredible, absolutely incredible. the fact that the planning was done by those who 'get it' instead of those who play fake made the night rich with emotion and full of meaning.

when my friend asked to hold the party my first words were "NO" - i knew the the church's penchant for pretend - and i couldn't stomach that. she assured me i was allowed to set the 'rules' and she would make sure they were followed. my rule was 'no fake' - the only people who could talk were people who truly meant their words. and instead of the fancy, schmancy catered meals they do i wanted a real live church pot luck - sadly missing in our church.

it was all that and more. we arrived to a room filled with bright yellows, lime green, orange and bright blue - a celebration. at each place there were small little wooden hearts with words burned into them - simple, unfinished and rough. my girlfriend got up to explain the night and then proceeded to talk about why the hearts - how we are all rough and unfinished and how god is writing these words on our hearts. we sat down - at unspecified seats - both liam's and mine were 'wise' and pink's was 'noble' (the meaning of her name) and buck got 'tender'. my other friend had saved us a seat, but she had no idea about them. it wasn't 5 minutes into the night and i was tearing up.

then i looked down to the card at each setting - it read (our names):

You exemplify
tender, rich and
humble hearts
for God,
for youth,
for men,
for women,
for those who seek,
for those who have found,
and for those who struggle
in the process.

"Obeserve how Christ loved us,
His love was not cautious
but extravagant.
He didn't love in order to get
something from us but to give
everything of himself to us.
Love like that."
Eph. 5:2

Thanks for the example
of Christ's love
you are to us.

okay, now i'm really crying. then my girlfriend at the table sees me and starts to cry - how will i get through this evening? we pray and get in line for food, things become much more light hearted.

the room is filled to the brim, and so many told us they were unable to make it because they were out of town. it is a very moving display of affection. and best of all those who maneuvered to remove us are absent - no fakery allowed. the SP and his family are there, but we knew that and were actually glad he'd have to hear/watch/see/experience it all, knowing the whole time he and his cohorts caused all of this. he tried many times to maneuver his way into control of this event. he wanted to tag it on to the mission dessert and my friend protected me (well her husband is head elder now, so that helps...)

we get through dinner and it's announced that there is a program in the worship center (not the little old one - but the big stage) - i have never touched the big stage in all of my time here - i know that in and of itself is going to overwhelm me.

we have saved seats down front center and the youth band (which has been my husband's passion to teach these kids how to truly worship) just rocks - then the power point tribute starts, and they honored me, and then my children - pink sees the pictures of her with her friends and starts to wail. this i am not prepared for at all - i thought of liam and i crying, but never imagined that they would be so moved. now i'm a complete wreck - when we talk after liam and i both had the same impulse to jump up - point at the SP and say 'you did this, we are a family and you did this!' needless to say we kept ourselves at bay and consoled our daughter. then came the tribute to liam - and it was fun and touching.

then one of the elders who had stuck by us got up to pray for the youth and what is next for them. and then came the part i was totally unprepared for.

my bible study got up and gave a tribute to me - i have erased and re-typed, sat in tears for minutes on end - trying to put into words what was said, how it touched me and the redemption that happened as those words were spoken to me and about me from that stage - i was totally unprepared, i never thought that anyone noticed, it was truly beautiful. and then they sang this song:

This is Your Land

Didn't anyone ever tell you
Didn't anyone ever say
Did you capture a vision of glory
As she held out her hand today
It's reaching to the broken heart
Right down to where you stand

Didn't anyone ever tell you
This is your land
Didn't anyone ever tell you
It doesn't matter the last will be first
For the sad and the meek and the righteous
And all those who will hunger and thirst
So let the poor in spirit know
These dreams are not of sand
Didn't anyone ever tell you
This is your land

You'll be given the robes of princes
You'll be flying on golden wings
You will live in pavilions of splendor
Be surrounded by beautiful things
So hold on to these promises
And keep them in your hand

Didn't anyone ever tell you
This is your land

Point of Grace

i had never before heard the song - and as each one sang a verse they looked deep into my eyes and we both cried and they gifted me with such beauty and power. i have never felt more honored and cherished.

then they opened the mikes and let people share memories - laughter, tears, deep emotion. when my friend's son got up - he's going into 5th grade - and told my kids what wonderful friends they were, and he begins to weep, loud, groaning crying - saying 'oh i wish you didn't have to move, i don't want you to move, i'm going to miss you' the room was finished. we were all bawling. especially buck, who takes this time to melt down. 'i don't want to move, weep, weep, mommy, why do we have to move... weep, weep...' i calm and soothe him and we listen to many more share deep words of affection and lives touched. the constant theme of 'you were there when i needed someone, my faith is now my own, you taught me how to serve god, you made it so much fun, you taught me how to have fun..."

then they called us up front, prayed for us, gave us gifts and an envelope and allowed us to have a few words. looking out at that group (from that stage) i was given hope for our future. no matter how very much this process has wounded us, it has released us to next. whatever next may be.

afterward in the lobby one of the mother's said it best 'this is a cross between a reception line and a funeral'... hugs and tears were shared and we were able to put some closure on five really good, really hard years of ministry. so, while i've been able to type out some things that happened, i am unable to put into words the real, intangible things that happened last night, but those things were the most real of all.

No comments: