Friday, June 24, 2016
A Summertime Sunset
Last week was hard. A week ago last Friday, Beau received a call from a good friend from high school informing him one of their closest friends, Aaron, had passed away unexpectedly while surprising his mom with a visit to his childhood home in Spencer. Aaron was a creative, vibrant, hilariously funny man, a theater teacher who was adored at his high school in Colorado, recently engaged to an equally creative and witty, Meredith, and a dear friend to Beau for many years. This was the first time Beau had lost a friend, the first time he was asked to serve as a pallbearer, the first time I've had to watch him process and grieve the loss of someone so young like this. Our usually upbeat, strong, and silly daddy was sad, and it was hard for all of us to watch and not be able to help. Sometimes, there just aren't a lot of words, but we did our best to let him know we were there while giving him the space to remember Aaron and reconnect with so many of his old friends from near and far who came to say goodbye to their friend.
I held down the fort at home last week, volunteering as a crew member for the Rad Bats at Orchard's Vacation Bible School. Every night around 5:00, the three of us joined a community of families for dinner and a night of wild and crazy worship with hundreds of kids of all ages. I was amazed once again at Orchard's focus on family. Volunteers prepared a different meal for VBS volunteers and their families every single night prior to the start, and Deb Lindaman, Mila's teacher in the two year old room on Sunday mornings, volunteered to host a mini VBS for the toddlers whose parents were volunteering. So not only did Cruz get to attend a week of VBS, but Mila also got to be part of the festivities. It was an exhausting week (I'm convinced God gives all preschool teachers a special room in Heaven), but a completely rewarding one for us to be part of together. It was so fun to be there with both of my kids this year, great to connect with more parents and volunteers I see every week but haven't gotten to know, and cup-filling to leave every night at dusk, still singing the songs we learned so well and tucking two exhausted little disciples in their beds.
And then there was Wednesday. Beau was scheduled to return after what I knew would be an exhausting three days of a trip to Spencer for the visitation, funeral, and several reunions with friends he hadn't seen in years. Knowing he would be tired but excited to see the kids, I sent him a text during our final worship time at VBS, asking him to pick up four chocolate shakes and meet us at the top of the big hill on the edge of our neighborhood. A half hour later, we had our own reunion, just in time for the sunset.
The number of days we get to spend on this side of Heaven is not up to us, but how we spend each one we get absolutely is. And for now, eating chocolate shakes and watching the sunset with these three is exactly how I long to spend my days. That grassy hill that gets us high enough to spot the very top of our roof, Mila's curls and Cruz's brown eyes, Beau's dimples and the way he throws them up on his shoulders, and that time of day where the sun and moon meet in the sky, these simple nights are what this life is about.