From the moment I saw Faye playing the piano when I arrived, til we heard the Irish Blessing at the end, tears flowed freely from my eyes, down my cheeks before waterfalling onto my chest. Oy. Such a soggy mess.
So many feels today. All good.
Thank you, Brenda, for living your life well, for loving big, and for letting Him use you to grow His kingdom.
If you weren't there, here is the video of it:
Brenda Pue Celebration of Life from Kristin Pue on Vimeo.
It's 90 minutes long. So settle in.
Now, hours later, I have a few reflections:
1. I love the verses that Brenda's girls read. The Psalm ones were so perfect. But my very favorite was the Phillipians verse. I know it was meant especially for me because at Northview a few hours later, that exact same verse was part of the sermon...
Psalm 73: 25 - 26, 28
Psalm 139: 1 - 18
Psalm 90: 12 - 14
Phil 4: 6 - 8
2. Can you imagine if everyone was part of a group of 6 people who prayed regularly for each other's families? What would that look like? How would our families be impacted? What would our lives look like if we prayed urgently for 5 other families.
So many of us get all caught up in praying for our own families. And mostly only our own families. I was with a friend recently, and she said, "by the time I get through praying for my kids and grandkids, I don't have time to pray for any one else..."
Isn't that a little bit tragic?
3. Karalee talked about an email she received from Brenda awhile ago in response to a situation that was sad for her and her husband. This is what wisdom Brenda shared:
"In the midst of heart ache, God is forming something deep inside of us, that is far more valuable to us than anything we can imagine. It has to do with character, faith, trust, understanding God and His timing, (which is so often not our own). So I sense that God is doing something bigger here, but I'm still disappointed on your behalf. Rest and it will all come together in his perfect timing. Enjoy today. Hold hands. And take the long way home."
I love everything about this message but especially the last line (probably because I am a fan of hand-holding...) Enjoy today, hold hands and take the long way home.
4. My favorite part of the service was when Brenda's 3 boys shared their memories. At the 58:00 mark, the story Jeremy tells is about my Max. Who was sitting right beside me during the service. And whose face was glowing red with embarrassment. (He was alone in the Pue's den with his girlfriend- the rest of the family had gone to bed. They used this opportunity to make out, when unexpectedly, Brenda came downstairs. She chose to sit with them on the couch and have a conversation with them in that awkward moment, because she is Brenda. And she cared about my boy.)
It takes a village. I am thankful that she loved Max.
(Also, all things considered, if an OBoy story was going to be shared, we got off easy with this one. It could have been far worse, as my kids provided alot of material to work with.)
5. I LOVE THIS SONG: The Love of God
- The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.
Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
The imagery in that last verse gets me every time.
Here's a version. Mercy Me is singing it:
6. Loved the verse Brian Buhler chose to speak on:
"(Joseph) Brenda is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall."
A fence isn't exactly a wall, but it's close enough.
After the service, I went to church.
Because it just felt like the right place to be.
From there, I drove out to Sardis to have a late supper with Val on the patio at the Garrison Bistro under a cloud of firesmoke and a burning red sun:
We talked until late. And just as we were leaving she gave me the following parting gifts:
Flowers from her garden and chocolates from her store.
I? Have lucked out in the cousinfriend department. Love her, and any time I get to spend with her.
From there? I drove up to the lake.
Where Clint already was.
For the first time ever, I arrived with no groceries. NOT ONE THING, well, other than that box of chocolates.
(I have to fast all day Sunday because of a medical thing on Monday. So. No food.)
He and I listened to a pod cast about the future job market/labour force considering automation and robotic drones. Interesting. And a lovely way to end an emotional day.
Three things I'm thankful for:
1. Lives well lived. And how inspiring they are.
2. Cousins/children/parents - And what a good idea 'families' are.
3. This place. Which feels like home.