12 January 2011

[talk: Saying Goodbye, Saying Hello.]

1.11.11 will always be burned in my heart.

On November 6, 2010, a friend that I grew up with was in a terrible train accident.  He had tried to cross the busy train tracks in Seattle, WA by foot and was directly hit by an oncoming train.  He was a local fireman in our city, and was only expected to live a few hours and beat the odds and survived 60 more days.  You can read all about it here.

So yesterday was his funeral, and I was full of strange emotions.  Everything from not wanting to go, afraid that it would just be too hard ... to sheer excitement about possibly seeing people that I hadn't seen in such a long time.

The funeral, itself, was incredible.  Seeing a sea of blue fireman uniforms in the balcony of my home church, CLA, was overwhelming.  It all began with "Amazing Grace" being played on the bagpipes as Ron's family, and his casket, filed in.  The Mayor of our city, Peter Fassbender, spoke eloquently as both Ron's city leader and personal family friend.  The eulogy was read by our pastor, Brent Cantelon - and was written by Ron's family.  The song, "I Can Only Imagine" left me with a wet, soggy face.

The whole thing was done so well, so purposeful.  It wasn't intrusive, "shove the Bible down your throat", but so gentle and positive.  The truth was spoken.  I was incredibly honoured to be there ... not only as a past friend of Ron's, but as  a member of CLA.  It was really, really well done.

There was a reception done in the gym - and that's when I bumped into friend after friend after friend.   I cannot tell you how overwhelming that was.  It was heart-racing, heart-warming ... to have people see you and smile because they were happy to see you too.  Big hugs, big laughs - lots of tears and promises to never meet again under such circumstances ...

With the "snow day" that we ended up having here today, I found myself trying to Spring Clean amongst the children running and creating more messes than before I started ... I was in my office, organizing the envelopes with Katia whacking her teensy fingers on the piano - and I saw it:  my box.

I've mentioned it before - my box, well - padded suitcase - full of notes.  I laughed and rolled my eyes, the DRAMA of it all was so redundant.  I can see why my poor parents were exhausted with me by the time I was 15 *laughing*.  Oh Katia, be good to me, girl!!

So, what did I do when I saw these hand written treasures??  I got out my iphone and started taking photos and sending them to the "writers" of the notes ... oh MAN.  We've been bantering back and forth all afternoon ... so fun.

So.  Ronnie is gone, but he would be SO pumped at how his life and death have brought so many wonderful people together.  He was a man who CARED about people, and I'd like to think that the Lord had let him see the whole thing. Oh, I hope He did, because Ron would've gotten a kick out of seeing everyone together again.

For those of you who knew Ron, yesterday will be a day burned into our memories.  And for those of you who didn't, I hope that this will inspire you to stop and be INTENTIONAL about your day and your time.  Stop, fire off an email, find out where that old friend is now and meet for coffee ... do something.

We just never know. 

1 comment:

Shawna said...

How did I miss this post!??! So good Tawn and so true! Saw the whole funeral once Kurt put it up on the web - glad you were able to be there!