I initially wasn't going to write any more about the passing of the old friend mentioned casually in the previous post. Yet after attending his funeral and graveside service where Amy gave voice and melody to such a clear message from God, I feel compelled to write more...although I'm not sure exactly where it's going.
That means one thing to you: Be afraid, be very afraid.
I do know two things, the first of which is that I won't finish this tale tonight, it's been a long day. Secondly, this story starts with our friends Teketha and Gordon Wise.
Gordon and Teketha were for some time active members of the small church we attended and during those years we shared a lot.
Teketha loves hymns...Amy loves singing. Gordon, like many folks in small churches, was roped into overseeing various "volunteer" jobs only to find there weren't many, if any, other "volunteers" around - something I learned at that church as well.
We both had to come to grips and then learn to embrace a certain sense of disillusionment in that fact...something which actually probably helped us build a stronger relationship with God, while putting "church" in proper perspective.
Teketha and Gordon's daughter Kim had some prolonged and very frightening health concerns which at one point coincided with one of Amy's extended medical mysteries that required hospitalization. Kim and Amy were in fact in the same hospital for what seemed like an eternity. Soon all of us, including Kim's husband Brad and their young daughter, Lauren, were spending a lot of time together in a place none of us wanted to be (with the possible exception of Gordon whom I'm fairly sure you could toss into an arena full of lawyers, televangelists, life insurance and used car salesmen and he wouldn't complain,as long as Lauren was included in the mix).
As I recall, Lauren quite possibly had the 411 on "grandpa Gordon training" before Lauren herself was potty trained.
In any case, during that season in our lives we shared our fears, our prayers, and quite often our tears.
Such circumstances I wish upon no one, but - as is often the case with God - the net result was something we didn't anticipate or even realize until some time later...we had come to know one another on a different level than with our other friendships.
As usual, God had a plan. As always, at that time I was completely clueless about it.
It didn't stop there by any means, Teketha is a very strong willed woman and there were other times when Amy was having major health problems that Teketha took it upon herself to be concerned about me. I mean this in the nicest sense possible, but I would describe her approach as something akin to a "reverse Mama Corleone." Any answer I gave her that wasn't, "Yes, I'll come to dinner" or "Yes, I really do need some help" was an answer she would refuse.
Teketha and Gordon's care and feeding of me - their ability to see right through my best bogus blatherings of independence - was something I desperately needed and I firmly believe they were God's conduit for "getting it done." I'm honestly not sure that I would have made it through those times, had Teketha not been so...um...firm in her concern.
That is the background.
Hey, I warned you!
"Rambling ahead!" remember?
I'll write the more pertinent aspects of these thoughts on Sunday and this is how that chapter will begin...
Teketha's brother, Tim Awbrey was a big, big man. He could be
But once you saw him flash that huge grin, you soon realized he had an even bigger heart. At that point, the "fear factor" quickly faded. He was a man who was surrounded by people who loved him...for good reason. He gave his all to everything he did, including loving others.
On Wednesday night, that giant heart within a giant of a man gave out...and today we said our goodbyes.
Tomorrow, I'll be honored to share more of what I knew about Tim Awbrey and what I learned today about his family and the foundations upon which God steadies such mighty men.
You see, solid souls often spring forth from the smallest seeds...and with a little reflection, I believe, we can find deep lessons about ourselves within such knowledge.
1950 - 2009