Barbara's Random Thoughts

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Going home

Thanks to my wonderful friend Karen, who offered to trade cars with me for a few days, I was able to drive down to LA last week for Paul's memorial service. I drove down EARLY Thursday morning and arrived at about 10:45am, giving me some time to hang out with David & Dianna before heading to GHBC. We ran into Yolanda on the way in, and she invited David and me to come sing with the choir. That was really cool.

I noticed that the social convention of greeting people with "How are you doing?" became a very different thing on this occasion. It was so automatic to say it and then I kept kicking myself as I realized that my casual greeting wasn't exactly appropriate. I kind of knew how people were doing, given circumstances. I saw Larry Conrad as I headed up to the choir room, and went over and gave him a hug. I asked him how he was doing.

Larry always answers this question with "I couldn't be any better!" His explanation for this reply is that he has Christ in his life, and so things really couldn't be any better, regardless of outside circumstances. I gave him a hard time about it once, saying that his reply never answered my question of actually wanting to know how he was doing. For a while after that, when I would ask Larry how he was doing, he would follow his usual "I couldn't be any better!" with an actual response about what was going on in his life. On Thursday, his reply was the same as it always was: "I couldn't be any better." We did that whole side hug thing, and I hugged him again, as he responded with "Paul's in heaven, and I'm ok."

I was so glad that I drove down for the memorial. It was a great time of being with church family--remembering Paul's life and worshipping together. Barbara Barr sang "The Anchor Holds", and it was so appropriate:

The anchor holds
Though the ship is battered
The anchor holds
Though the sails are torn
I have fallen on my knees
As I faced the raging seas
The anchor holds
In spite of the storm

She told me after the service that Paul had picked the song out for her to sing right around the first time he came out of remission. She sang it again just before he went in for a bone marrow transplant, and he asked her to sing it at the funeral.

Jamie's eulogy was amazing, honoring Paul and Dayle's ministry at Green Hills, and how much they had both meant to the church, while at the same time, honoring the way Suzanne has been at Paul's side each step of the way during his battle with cancer.

There was a potluck (or "multiple choice meal", as Pastor Bob likes to call it) after the graveside service, and they had a monitor set up in the corner of the fellowship hall with pictures from Paul's ministry over the last 26 years. I sat and watched for a while, and Pete and I kept reminiscing--about high school choir tours (polo shirts and those awful red K-Mart-ish vests!), varying Paul hairstyles over the years, and memories of Paul's story songs.

I had a little blog moment when Yolanda (who was my Sunday school teacher in 5th grade) came over to me and said she needed my blog address, since she’d accidentally lost it. I thought: Yolanda's reading my blog?! Hi Yolanda!

On Friday, I got up late and headed over to church to catch the last bit of VBS. I stopped by the office and chatted with Pastor Bob and other church staff, before peeking in each of my nieces' VBS classes. Then I headed for lunch with Eric (the annoying little brother I never wanted!). We reminisced a bit about Paul, called Heather, talked about past Wales trips and the upcoming one, and I had a lot of fun just hanging out with my little brother.

I spent the afternoon hanging out with my sister's kids, playing games and getting Johnny to display his new talent for winking. Oh, and my nieces have informed me that with my new haircut, I look like Polly Pocket. Hmmm. Friday night, I got to go to the kids' VBS program. When I saw her on Thursday, Emily immediately asked me if I could come to their VBS program on Friday night. I hadn't even thought about it--and I was so glad that I could go! I used to be able to do stuff like that all the time with my nieces, going to awards ceremonies, recitals, AWANA stuff, etc. And it was really cool to be able to do that again. Hannah sat on my lap during the slide show and giggled really loudly every time a picture of her came up. It was hilarious--everyone in the church could hear her getting such a kick out of seeing pictures of herself! Afterwards, there were a bunch of goodbyes, but it's cool to know that I'll see everyone in at least another month, when I go down there for the GHBC 40th anniversary. I got to say "See you in a week!" to various Wales team folks. =)

Friday night, Kristy talked me into going to Borders with her to pick up her copy of HP #6 at midnight. We didn't get there till just after 11, and she was #355 to check in. When it got to be 1:00 a.m. and they were just calling #175-200, we decided to pack it in and go home. Oh well.

Saturday was more hanging out with the kids, then I headed home. I got back in time to say goodbye to Greg and catch up with Melanie at Greg's going away party, then went home and crashed. I was really emotionally drained Saturday night and Sunday, and was really glad to have the house to myself for Sunday afternoon/evening. And today begins the countdown week to Wales. Three more days!
| posted by Barbara | 2:10 AM