I felt that I was in the wrong place this week.
One of my most dear and cherished friends in Winnipeg, Christine, lost her dad on Monday night.
Christine and I have been around the bend together...
We've talked up and down and through the valleys that life has handed us.
She has always made herself known in my darkest places.
And I so wanted to be standing physically with her in her sadness this week.
I know she knows this. We talked about it on Monday night.
But this is my way of standing with her and honoring her dad.
There is a lot of who Christine is that is an extension of her beloved father....
She loves history and stories. She should have been born in another era because she always seems to have one foot in another time and place.
He was a historian. He collected artifacts, and loved to tell stories of different places and times.
She is gentle. If you are in pain or afraid, I can't think of anyone better to stand with you.
He exuded gentleness. His voice was soft and soothing and full of warmth. He had kind eyes and a way of gathering people around him without pomp or ceremony.
She is musical. She loves to sing her heart out. She sees value in old music and hymns that are sometimes forgotten or not remembered.
He knew the power of a song. He loved to sing and hear the people in his congregation join him. He knew how to pick the right song for the right moment. Sometimes it said more than he could.
She loves her kids. Her two are everything. They are fiercely loved and guided. They are prayed for and secure.
He was always there. Steady and true and unwavering in his support and acceptance of all who called him "dad" and "grandpa".
She lives in the trenches. She is not afraid of pain or going where it's uncomfortable or unknown.
He lived in the trenches with people he loved and served. Sickness, death, funerals, divorce, bitterness, anger, loss, betrayal. Those are the places he stood and walked with the people in his congregation.
She knows how to celebrate. She marks special dates, moments and transitions with cupcakes, thoughtful gifts, rooms full of people and just the right words.
He was where life was. Births, baby dedications, weddings, anniversaries, baptisms... so many people have his face and name as part of the most joy-filled memories in their lives.
She knows where she comes from, and that God is the author of her story. Her peace and assurance come from her faith in something bigger than herself.
He spent his days bringing the God he followed to the people, and the people to God.
Tomorrow a throng of people will remember and celebrate Christine's dad.
Tonight I'm celebrating the parts of him that live in her.