Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Boys and the Funeral

This is Sam, taken last Friday. I was trying to get a good shot of him licking the cake beaters and I caught him in-between licks, apparently a little annoyed with my picture taking!

I have so much to get caught up on - I may need to split it between two different blog entries.

Sam is not happy with me again this morning. I kind of feel bad, but it's one of those things that can't be helped. There is a PBS show called "Dinosaur Train" that Sam enjoys. I have always been bothered by the show, though, because of its blatant pro-evolution slant. Sam has come to me insisting that dinosaurs were made "millions of years ago" and won't listen when I correct him. I let that one slide. Will, especially, though, has never liked the show. Will is a huge Answers in Genesis fan and reads all the publications and mail that we get from them and I would assume that's where his angst comes from. Well, I was gone for most of yesterday, finishing my Christmas shopping. But when I got home Will told me that on the show yesterday they had talked about celebrating the "Winter Solstice." That did it for me. Obviously, the solstice is a real thing - it happens every Dec. 21st. But I have noticed a trend in recent years of the celebrating of the solstice. It's done by those who reject Christ and the idea of having a holiday to celebrate Him. Essentially, it's a pagan holiday rooted in worship of the earth. So, I told Sam we wouldn't be watching Dinosaur Train anymore because it "makes God sad." Sam was fine with that last night. But when he woke up this morning and wanted the tv turned on, I had to remind him that Dinosaur Train was on and so we had to wait to turn on the tv. He was definitely not impressed! So we cuddled on the couch and I re-explained my reasons. I think I jollied him out of his bad mood, but I won't be surprised if we go through this every day for awhile.

The boys exchanged names again for Christmas. I posted on Facebook last night about the amazing Captain America shield that Will made for Sam. When Sam told Will that was what he wanted I suggested to Will that he go to Toys R Us and get him a plastic version. Will didn't think that was a good idea and informed me that the would be making a shield for his brother. He used spray paint, a thick piece of scrap plywood, and his dad's power tools. Then he remembered that Sam is left-handed, so when he put the handles on (made out of duct work hangers) he made sure to adjust them accordingly. I am SO impressed. The whole thing did not cost a single penny to make, either! This will be a toy that I will want Sam to hang onto forever.

Will also had me pick up a little Colts t-shirt for Sam from him. The boys all have their favorite football teams and they - particularly Will and David - are forever trying to persuade Sam to pledge allegiance to their team. A couple of weeks ago, David asked him, "So do you like the Cowboys, Sam?" Sam looked at David seriously and said, "I have to like the Colts now, David, because I'm sleeping in Will's room." Hah!

I made cookies last week. They are called "Cowboy" cookies. I have no idea why. It's just the name of the recipe - a combination of chocolate chips, oats, and rice krispies baked into a cookie. So, anyway, Sam was eating one and then he heard me refer to them as "cowboy cookies." Sam threw his half-eaten cookie on the table in disgust and cried, "I don't want to eat a Cowboy cookie - I want to eat a Colts cookie!"

Onto sadder subjects: Saturday was Joy's funeral. It was a time of sadness and embarrassment for me. Paul was working that morning, so the plan was that I would bring dress clothes to the college (where the funeral was) and he'd change, attend the service, and then change again and go straight back to work. Well, we didn't get there until the starting time of the funeral. Paul decided that he wouldn't bother changing clothes since it was so late and we would undoubtedly just be slipping into the back rows of chairs, since we were late. Instead, we walked into the gymnasium and an usher asked us how many people we had. When I told him "six" he lead us to the second row, right behind the pallbearers! I could have just died! So there we are, dressed nicely, and Paul's in his work uniform, which is a pair of jeans, a polo shirt, and a thermal shirt underneath! Paul is so pragmatic that I don't think he was really bothered, but it was nearly all I could think about!

The funeral was sad. I know the intent was to focus on God's goodness and the promise of Heaven and they did a good job of that. Our pastor preached an amazing message. But at the same time, there is just no way to sugarcoat a tragedy. A young mom died before she was done raising her kids. She will not be there to help guide them into adulthood. A husband has suddenly been left without his lover, his partner, his best friend. I honestly had some mixed feelings concerning the deceased. We had some unpleasant history that was never dealt with but I even found myself tearing up. Maybe it was because of that - that things were never made right. It was a difficult time. Her burial was Monday in Missouri and her husband posted on Facebook that it was honestly the hardest day of his entire life. My heart just aches for him.

Afterwards, though, I caught what I thought was the most poignant moment of the funeral. Over the years at our church, I have slowly come to realize what a heart our pastor has for the people in our church. I think it's his whole family, really, that feels that way. I remember getting my first glimpse of that when we'd been in the church about 6 months. Paul had been fired that day from the job we moved out here to take. He still had two more days on the job, but we were just so hurt and so blown away by this and very uncertain of the future. Well, I was flabbergasted that night when our pastor and his wife drove up to our house. We live a half hour away from them but they came to be with us in our time of need. And there have been incidents like this time and time again in the 7 years we have been at this church. Our pastor hurts for his people. After the funeral I saw our pastor standing over by one of the gymnasium doors and his 18 year old son and another daughter were crying and he put his arms around them. One by one, his other children joined the circle and the whole family just stood there crying for the Brace family. How amazing is that? They weren't crying for themselves - nothing had happened to them. But because it happened to a church family, they felt the pain.

After the funeral I made a wrong turn and ended up getting separated from Paul and Will. But it was ok because I ran into my friend, Julie. Julie had become quite attached to Joy since last spring and both Joy and I were instrumental in leading Julie to the Lord in Sept. I'm not saying that with pride - just stating a fact. Well, Julie was devastated by Joy's death and she just sobbed and sobbed in my arms after the funeral. I know she was saying stuff to me but I couldn't hear any of it, since my deaf ear was closest to her mouth. But I just held her. Sometimes that is all you can do.

It's a good reminder of how God holds us in our times of need. Sometimes, all the wise words in the world won't mean anything, but a comforting set of arms means everything.

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