Monday, July 10, 2006

1,186 Miles Later...

I debated between 3 different titles for this post. The one I've given it and the other two were "Why I'm So Exhausted" or "Full Circle". As I talk about my week you'll be able to see why those would all be appropriate titles. I really wanted to go to Marikka's Memorial Service (refer to this post) but it would take some manuevering to do. My husband wouldn't be able to take any time off to watch the kids and bringing 4 kids on a 1,000 mile roundtrip roadtrip in 3 days for a memorial service didn't sound like fun to me. So fortunately I had 3 good friends that had children the same ages as my 3 older children and I found a place for each of them for 3 days. And I brought my youngest with me.

I traveled from Missouri to Illinois on wednesday, then from Illinois to Wisconsin on thursday for the memorial service and then from Wisconsin back to Missouri on friday. Most of my driving time was spent in Iowa and the scenery in Iowa is extremely boring!! I always pass this Iowa 80 truck stop which boasts that it is the world's largest truck stop. Iowa may be boring but hey, they have the world's largest truck stop--woo-hoo!! Anyway, even though I had to stop often to get a coke to help me stay awake the trip wasn't too bad. Matthew was a dream kid to travel with. I had one of those DVD players that plugs into the cigarette lighter and the only problem he caused was having to go the bathroom at inconvenient times.

Wednesday night I got to stay at Linda's Bed & Breakfast and we got to have some good talking time. Not enough but enough for me to look at embarrassing pictures of me from highschool that she threatened to post on her blog :-).

Thursday morning I got to have breakfast with my friend Kelli and another new friend, Clare. Clare had 4 kids and Kelli had 3 and I felt weird only having 1 kid for a change :-). Again not enough time to talk but fun nonetheless.

Thursday night was the memorial service. It was sad in that we were mourning the loss of a special woman but nice to see friends that we hadn't seen in a long time and nice to know that Marikka was now pain free in heaven. My parents sang a song that Marikka had requested. Since Marikka had been sick for awhile she had planned most of her service. It was nice to know that all that was done were things that she had wanted.

It was difficult but her husband read some really neat things about her life. She grew up in Germany and had a hard life. Her mother died when she was 8 and she ended up in an orphanage because her father couldn't care for her for awhile. When she was 12 her father remarried and she loved her new mother. Her husband met her while in the service stationed in Germany. She didn't become a U.S. citizen until 1980 but was extremely proud of this and was able to vote in the presidential election shortly thereafter. I found out from her daughter that she did indeed vote for Reagan and was very excited when he won. I thought that was pretty cool!!

The pastor gave a wonderful message. I have extremely high standards for pastors having had some good ones that I measure everyone else by and also having gone to Moody and knowing what it takes to be a good pastor. I've visited a lot of churches and I've seen my share of bad pastors so I know the good ones are few and far between. The new pastor at Northside is awesome, and I don't say that lightly. His message was deep, good and personal. He exuded confidence but not arrogance. He had taken the time to find out a lot about Marikka and it showed and didn't come across as fake, he really cared. I was also honored when he quoted from my post about her in his message. And he stayed at the memorial service until the few of us left after midnight. His wife was honest and real and kind and it did my heart good to see such a wonderful couple at the helm of a church that was and is special to me.

During the fellowship time afterwards I was talking to Kelli and Sue (2 of my friends who had been the ones I would spend time with when our parents were talking for hours after church). One of our parents brought up that there was a grandchild from each family (our kids) playing together in the room. It was kind of a special moment to see our lives come full circle and to be back in that special church with our kids playing together. Kelli's daughter is just days older than Matthew and it was neat to see them get along so well.

That night my parents and I headed to the motel and Matthew had a pillow fight with my dad at 12:30. My parents and I talked for awhile but again not long enough. The next morning we said good-bye and Matthew and I headed back to Missouri.

To explain why I'm really exhausted I had another event that night and the next day. Weeks earlier my friends and I had planned an overnight event for the 3 of us and our pre-teen daughters to have a "Facts of Life" discussion. So I got back in town that evening in enough time to drop Matthew off at home, grab my swimsuit, talk to my husband and head to the overnight with my oldest daughter and friends. The other thing about this weekend was that I was leading the discussions. Ha!!!

But this is where the "Full Circle" thing really comes into play. I didn't have as much time to plan for this as I would like but Life had prepared me for it. My Pastor's wife, Linda who I have talked about many times had led my junior high and highschool sunday school class of all girls. She had talked to us about moral standards and had given us each these special journals. I dug that journal out and it helped me as I led my daughter and her friends in the discussions. The time went very well and I give God all the credit.

This week in many ways was a trip down memory lane as I dug up old letters and journals. God had used Marikka and Linda and my pastor to minister to me many years ago and now God was enabling me to pass these things onto others and minister to them. It was all coming full circle. And it was pretty neat to see!!

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