This Wed was our last night of meeting with the group from our 50 Day Challenge. This was an experiment of sorts for our church, in which small groups met every week, once a week, and sort of hit the high notes of what it means to be a Christian, specifically, practicing spiritual disciplines and the core belief that Christ is our savior, died in place of us for the ultimate forgiveness of our sins, and that Jesus is love. My favorite part by the way, that last one! We got to know some great people whom we otherwise never would have met and some we would have, but probably not to the depth that we do now. And people, we got deep real quick like! It was awesome! I love transparency in believers - knowing that the body of Christ is real, cracked, and grateful as all get out for what God did for them. I love hearing people's testimonies and their stories. Love. It. So I was notably sad for it all to come to an end this week. But, as He often does, God did something really cool too. In the school pick up line on Wed. our community pastor, who also leads our group, honked at me and proceeded to tell me that his wife and 3 out of 4 of their kiddos had the swine flu. They clearly wouldn't be there that night, and didn't want to cancel either, so, drum roll please...would Jeff mind leading? Woo doggies! Let me fill you in on my hubby for those of you who don't know this about him. while he is an amazing leader in the workplace, he truly feels inept and uncomfortable when it comes to the small group dynamic in church. He has come a long way since the early days of our marriage, but it is still not the place he wants to occupy. But get this. He did it! And he was awesome! God couldn't have planned it any better. Jeff was already at ease with the group since we had already been meeting for so long and because there was no pretense or facade being held up by anyone in the group. I am so proud of him for stepping up and taking on that challenge. He would be the first to say it's not something he wants to do on his own, but it is such a huge praise that he didn't merely say no way!
On another note, Dad is up in NJ visiting the fam there. Another blessing there, in that he is so close to all of them and the relationships they have will continue on even while we all miss Mom. I have yet to go "home" and wonder what it will be like to walk back through the door where she spent much of her childhood. To look across the lawn where her engagement photo was shot. To eat in the dining room where so many of our holidays were spend laughing and yelling (hey it's NJ people!) To know that each room holds a story that I find myself reaching for in an effort to not lose everything she shared about herself. This is the hardest part right now. I will start to remember an anecdote that she told me and then lose the thread. I want to call her and say, "Hey what was the name of that place you worked at the summer you lived at the shore and ate only soup and drank only iced tea?" Completely insignificant to the big picture, but damn it if it doesn't make me angry that I can't remember. And worse, is this leading to me forgetting more about her. The important stuff? We are such sensory beings and I will never forget her hands - they were freckled and she hated her nails because they were so fragile and tore easily - but they were always soft to me. As I child she used to pay me (and my sister) to brush her hair, so there is a smell memory of her hair. Her laugh. Her cough. I just wish she had written an autobiography for me. But I know that there are so many here who can fill in the blanks for me. Her mother, her sisters and brother, my dad. These people can remind me of the details. but the important stuff, her love, caring, and humor, I will dig them up and keep them swirling in my mind so that I never forget.