Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Celebration!

Chaos seemingly surrounds me as I stand in the dining nook, a cold soda in one hand and a styrofoam plate in the other loaded with the goodies that have been set out on the counter. So many faces…few familiar. Every few minutes, the rumble of noise is magnified as Lou or one of the ladies here releases a roar of laughter.

A man walks over beside me and asks what my relationship is to the Shucka’s. Several possible answers roll around in my mind.

“I’m a former educator and have known both Walt and Debbie for years as a member of that remarkable profession”, was one thought.

“I saw the pretty pink balloons as I was out yard-saleing today and thought I’d see if they had any free cake”, was another quirky possibility.

“I got out of prison recently, and they were both so thoughtful that they invited me in”, was another.

I extended my hand and simply said, “Debbie’s my sister and I’m here to celebrate with her today.”

At times, I felt a little awkward amongst so many strangers, but the fact that we all shared something in common today made each of us a little less “strange”. Many of the people I was meeting finally put a face to a name that Debbie had shared with me over the past 22 months as we’ve visited and gotten to know each other after too many years between us.

I glanced at the clock on my cell phone...wondering…waiting, tempted to make a call, but hesitating. The celebration was already 45 minutes into its scheduled duration. But I knew I needed to relax…after all, I knew they were never early and rarely on time.

I saw the vehicle out of the corner of my eye as it pulled in and parked beside the other 20+ cars in the yard. A few moments later, the door bell rang and I saw Walt go to answer.

“Debbie!”, the voice called out. “Would you come here a minute?”

My sister made her way through the crowd of well-wishers, weaving her way from the laundry room through the kitchen to the front room. Suddenly, the dull roar was pierced by a scream that might have been frightening had I not known the source…and the reason.

As I stepped around the corner into the living room, my sister was in the arms of my little brother…joy clearly radiating from her entire being. Geoff, too, was displaying his joy in knowing that his desire to keep his arrival a secret had been kept. As Debbie released my brother to give his wife Lynn a love, I walked across and embraced my brother…thanking him for being here. He may not have understood, but I did. Today was important to our sister and I was glad that we were here to celebrate.

As I move through this season of my life, I am reminded of the value and importance of family, friends and relationship. Unfortunately… all of our family didn’t make it to this celebration of flight, but I’m glad that I did.
Photo from Flickr

Friday, June 12, 2009


I finished putting away the DVD and manual and began to walk to the door. As I approached the exit, one of the class members stopped me.

“Class was so good today”, he said. “You should really think about doing this full time.”

“It was so awesome how you were responsive to the Holy Spirit”, his wife added.

The regular teacher of the class was nearby and remarked how much he enjoyed the class this morning and that it could probably be worked out if I wanted to take on this class on a more permanent basis. I thanked them all for their kind comments and left the classroom.

As I walked back across the parking lot to the sanctuary, I reflected on what had just happened. It had been awhile since I actually stood in a classroom full of students…and it felt good. I had led a few Bible studies in prison, but this was different. Here, there was preparation, and well conceived questions. Here, there were men and women who knew the Bible, but were still engage. Here, I was in a “real” classroom, not a room with thick concrete walls that were designed to keep me in.

It continues to amaze me how God brings affirmation into my life in so many ways. I know that He has placed a calling in my life, and I am continuously seeking to determine His will. All of my life has been spent preparing for “something”…but only He fully knows what that is.

He gave me additional affirmation just the other day. At times, the enemy continues to try to undermine who I am…and the voice penetrates. As I sat in prayer the other night, I asked my Father who I was…and His voice brought tears to my eyes that I couldn't’t stop. The answer was simple.

“You are My son!”

As I continue to move through each uncertain day after the next, it is reassuring in my heart that God continues to see me…to hear me…and to love me.
Photo from Flickr