Tears are a funny thing, sometimes they are caused by sadness, sometimes joy, sometimes pain, sometimes healing, sometimes you can sense they’re coming a long way off, and sometimes they really sneak up on you. Sometimes you fight them, sometimes you let them flow. Sometimes they’re appropriate, sometimes they make others uncomfortable. I’m reminded of what a friend said as I held my first born about 5 seconds after he came into the world, this friend was a doctor and was in the delivery room, they handed Jordan to me and my friend said “Tracy, your eyes are leaking”. Sometimes tears come and you don’t even realize they’re there unless someone points them out.
This past weekend I had the incredible privilege of re-visiting a early Chapter of my life – my time at First Baptist Church of Whitehouse, TX, where I served as Youth Minister from 1982-86. It was the 150th Birthday celebration for the Church and lots of former members and Staff were there to celebrate and reminisce. My time at FBC-Whitehouse was a wonderful time and many of the relationships built during those years have stood the test of time and distance. As great as my time there was for the Youth Ministry and personal relationships, looking back – I know those years were very trying and stressful for the Church as a whole due to issues with other Staff members. It is clear to me now just how much those wonderful people protected and insulated me from all the ‘stuff’ that was going on all around me. I operated on good advice from a dear friend, Bryant Langford, who told me early on to “keep your head down, love the kids, you’ll be fine.”
So, while sitting in the Worship service yesterday, sure enough – tears came. I looked over to my right to the pew where Bryant used to sit, and tears came. I looked at the choir loft, (where I led youth choir even though I couldn’t read a note of music, go figure…) and tears came. I saw Donna Manasco singing in the Choir and I thought of her husband Bob who passed away a few years ago, and I cried. I looked to my left at the ‘youth section’ in the auditorium, where sometimes there would be nearly 100 students on a Sunday morning, more tears. I began to think of all the young men and women that God (and their parents) had trusted to me, in my mind I tried to picture them as they were 30+ years ago, I thought about youth camps, ski trips, Bible studies, scavenger hunts, pizza, burgers, and all the stuff we did together and guess what – I cried.
I think I cried most when my old friend Donny shared about his time on Staff at FBC-Whitehouse, about how wonderful it was, and how tragic when he lost his young son Timothy there. I cried when I thought about that night when Timothy was playing with my young son Jordan while some of us were working in the Auditorium. When we left we asked to take Timothy with us to the movie, but he stayed with his Dad, and a short time later, an accident took his life. Donny talked briefly about that incredibly difficult Chapter in their life, and he thanked God and the Church for their love and support.
Chapters, the dictionary defines a chapter as “a period of time or an episode in a person’s life”, maybe the whole point of this rambling remembrance is to remind myself and anyone reading that all of the Chapters of our lives are important. Some are more fun to think about than others, but woven together they create a beautiful tapestry of our lives. Each thread contributes to the overall strength and beauty of the fabric, and sometimes as we look back at some of those Chapters they look dull and lifeless, until the tears we shed as we remember bring back the colors.
If you know me, you know I’m not one to dwell on the past. As that great theologian Jimmy Buffet said “there’s just too much to see waiting in front of me that I know I just can’t go wrong, with these changes…”
Like I said – I was thinking, and I’ve decided that looking back from time to time makes the journey ahead much, much better.
What do you think?