Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mixed Emotions

I just arrived back home after a "two sleep" stay in Indianapolis. I traveled out there to award a scholarship in my Dad's memory. It was wonderful to see all of my dad's friends and those that I have come to know as "friend." Dad lived in Indy for almost 35 years. It was his second home. I visited so much that I began to think of it as my second home -- still do, actually.

Since he passed almost 5 years ago, I have traveled back a few times. Last year was the only year I haven't gone back since that fateful day. In the beginning, it was very difficult for me. I would drive past his old house, the RCA Dome (which isn't there anymore), the Conseco Fieldhouse, the Zoo, the hospital where he died, and the funeral home. Seeing all of these things brought back so many memories and so many emotions for me.

My dad and I had wonderful times. We laughed, we cried, we shopped, we ate, we saw the Colts and the Pacers play, we visited the Children's Museum and many other things. There was always something to do or someone to see. During the summers, my bro and I would hang out at his office. There was always an envelope that needed to be stuffed or a piece of mail that needed to be run through the postage machine. We learned a great work ethic and how to truly make a difference in someone's life.

As I got older and continued to visit, the activities were different but there was always one constant...the Children's Museum. From the time I can remember, we visited this place. I loved it and I never got too old to go back.

This trip was different. A new airport was built and so I had to learn how to navigate it. I was used to the old one where I would see dad at the bottom of the escalator waiting for me in the baggage claim area. Even after he passed, I could still see him standing there waiting for me. Since the new airport was built, the route to the hotel was different. I didn't pass the funeral home, I didn't pass the hospital, I didn't pass the million other things I remember passing on my way to the house.

There were many memories shared about dad while I was out there. I truly miss him. He was a major part of my life. He was my rock. He was my personal comedian. He was my biggest champion. He was my protection. He was my security.

Pop, I love you with all my heart and soul. Thank you for being you and helping make me into the person I am today. I miss you.................

Monday, March 9, 2009

What Would You Do If I Sang Out of Tune?

I woke up this morning with that running through my head. I spent the weekend on a youth retreat. It was awesome but, for some reason, this year was more tiring than other years. I wonder if it's because I'm getting older or because I wasn't feeling well or because "my" kids were testing every limit they could. I don't know. Regardless, it was a great weekend filled with some awesome conversations and lots of laughter.

Our theme was "God Is Using You...Your Story, My Story, God's Story." We had three speakers who all told their stories. The first speaker was my ex. He was wonderful. He told the story of how he truly came to know that God lives in his heart. The reason that God was "plunged" deep in his heart had to do with the death of his mother. As he was telling this story I relived every moment of it. You see, I was there the day he got the call. I was the one who saw him at what was probably the darkest moment in his life. I was the one who was there to help him through. So, of course, I was crying like a baby while he was sharing all of this. He never mentioned my name (which was great) or that I was with him because he didn't want to confuse everyone.....and he told me that up front and I was okay with it.

The second speaker was someone that I watched grow up on retreat. I first knew of him when he was in 6th grade. He really didn't "stand out" all that much. As the years progressed, I saw him grow in his faith. Once he graduated high school, he and I worked together as he developed a youth program at his church. Over the years, I have watched his path zig and zag, I have watched him be tested, and I have watched his successes. He relayed the story of his life. Where the calling on his heart had taken him. It was a truly remarkable story. I was so proud because I was a part of his journey and I continue to be.

The third speaker was a Pastor. She is a really neat person. I don't know her that well but her story was awesome. She relayed the story of how she heard her calling to ministry.

After the speakers and the programming was finished, it was time for fellowship. The adults hang out and chat and the kids do what they do. We laugh hysterically and have a great time. I live for these moments......this was the start of a million and one quotes that will live forever. It's funny how you hear what someone says and it wasn't at all what they said. Eric said, "Put it in your room dot com." Here's what I heard, "Put it in your room Ty Cobb." WOW. This picture speaks's me wearing a youth event shirt that says, "Sin Boldly." The magazines are all about brewing your own beer. Go figure. :)

Overall, the weekend was great. I guess you're wondering where the title of this blog came from? Well, this is one of the songs that was played. It truly sums up the most important theme: FRIENDS. We must have them to get through the rough times in our lives. We must have them to celebrate with us. The most important "friend" we have is God. He lives in us and through us. He is a part of everything we do and he has written our story. What is your story?