Well-Lived Eulogy

I take notes during eulogies.  I’m a student of life and when a life is well lived I want to take note of the how’s and the why’s, learning anything I can.

Here are some notes from a eulogy for a funeral of a friend’s dad and the granddad of one of one of my kid’s teammates:

  • Never down.
  • Specific instructions: “Work Hard, Play Hard and Have Fun.””
  • Never said he was from Seattle.  He always said, “I’m from Everett.” (proud of his home town).
  • On his first day on the job at the Chrysler and Dodge dealership, which he would later own, he crashed a car.
  • “Did you see that…Did you see that.”
  • “Hard work is the great equalizer.”
  • Delivered newspapers on horseback and ended his route by horse and him swimming in Silver Lake.
  • Loved to watch people grow.
  • “If it’s not fun, don’t do it.”
  • Knew of only two opinions, his and a wrong one.
  • “I’m having so much fun, I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to get it all in.”

And St. Peter welcomed Dwayne Lane at the pearly gates with the expression he’d been using with customers at his car place for years, “Dwayne Lane, come on it.  We’ll take care of you.”


Blizzard of Grace

When snow falls, grace piles up.

Snowy RoadYesterday I was a part of Denver’s largest blizzard in the last decade.  In fact, it was the first time that the well-equipped and prepared Denver International Airport had closed for an entire day in ten years.

It was a day of significant snow accumulation with winds that blew over 50 miles per hour.  A perfect day to stay indoors, but I had scheduled meetings from 7:30 a.m. in Denver until 4 p.m. in Colorado Springs before catching a plane last night to Seattle.  Everything changed from just about the time I left my Denver hotel at 6:30 a.m.

Very little went as I had planned or scheduled.  At the same time, I was offered grace at every turn.  I was late for my first meeting.  “No big deal,” the response.  When I had to change lanes other drivers on the Colorado freeways would back off and flash their lights letting me know it was clear to come over.  This is not standard.

These early morning cues gave orientation to my day.  When I talked to airline customer service reps in Manila it was with joy.  When me and another random driver decided to take our cars through back roads to by-pass the closed freeway, we shared information, watched out for each other and celebrated when we were the first on the freeway.

I believe that whenever there is a crisis we offer each other grace…or at least we should.  No one is going to pass the injured or not pause when seeing a funeral procession.

The reality is that there are are hundred of people around us every day in the “snow storm” of life. The wife stranded by a wandering spouse.  The daughter guiding her parents through dementia.  The dad with a wayward son.  The heart-broken loss of a widower.  And these don’t include the simple zit, weight gain or tangled iPhone ear buds.  There is some level of crisis in each of our days and certainly a high level of crisis somewhere in our network of connections every day.

What if we treated every day like a snow day?  Could that kind of grace?  That kind of understanding?  The connection that says, “Hey we are in this together, we are going to get around this blockage and when we get on the wide open highway on the other side we are going to flash our lights, honk our horns and pump our fists in celebration.”  It is offering ourselves and everyone around us grace.

Maybe there is something about snow covering everything in white.  Clean.  Let’s offer a blizzard of grace to each other today.

Spring Shoots

I recently took a bike ride in the hills of the Palouse.  It was a cold, windy morning but the sun was out and the roads were quiet.  It was a beautiful morning for a ride.

Palouse WheatEastern Washington has had a fairly mild winter.  As I rode through the rolling hills of the Palouse, I noticed that those fields, which should be deep brown if not white, actually had a tinge of green.  Little shoots of wheat were poking through the dirt.  Those shoots didn’t care that it is still winter, they were stretching for the sun.

Then I heard on the radio yesterday that the tulips have already started to blossom in Skagit Valley.  In fact, last year they had to move the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival forward one week as the height of the bloom came early.  With this week being an incredibly beautiful week, I do not doubt that buds will be blooming very soon.

The issue is that it is only March.  There could still be a freeze in our future, especially in the Palouse.  Will these early blooms and shoots have roots and substance enough to survive the coming months of weather uncertainty?  That’s the key question.

“Seeds” have been planted in each of us.  We have all be planted in a place.  Each of us are growing.  Some of you have established new plans, others are seeding a new business, some are nurturing new relationships and each of us are growing a life.

Let’s ensure that we not only plant but that we also protect.  Ensure establishment.  In all of our “gardens,” may we plant for the long-term…sustainable in all we do.  May we grow deep roots in our lives, relationships, businesses/organizations and plans.  May we also allow those around us, spouses, kids, employees, volunteers, etc., the space, environment and time to safely nurture and grow.

We aren’t looking for shoots and buds, but flowers and wheat.

Yesterday’s Beauty

I hope you enjoyed the beauty yesterday . . . and I believe there is more on tap today.  What a gorgeous day!  I have to keep reminding myself that it is only mid-March, because I am ready for the sunshine like it shined yesterday. . . only with a few more degrees.  It is the beauty of creation that is so evident on days like today that remind me of the awesomeness of God.  To see the sun breaking over the Cascades as I head south in the morning, the Olympics rising over Lake Washington during lunch with some buddies in Kirkland and then Puget Sound as I head down the street towards home.  That was my day yesterday, a day full of meetings where I got to interact with God’s people and driving to those meetings where I got to behold His creation.  What an awesome creator God!.

We are supposed to have another glorious day in Western Washington today.  How are you going to experience it?  How are you going to experience Him?

“Class Full”

This picture is taken in a church Sunday School room. I understand why there is a flashlight, in case the power goes out. I get the picture of how the room should be set up. A thermostat to keep the temperature just right. A light switch to bring light to the darkness. A knob to open the door. A fire escape plan. I get it. All of those things make sense.

There is one of these things that is not like the other, to quote Seasame Street… A “Class Full” sign.

Why would that sign ever be used? This is a church that offers hope and love and this room is specifically for children. Should it not be always be open at any cost?

I hope this sign’s only use is found in meeting fire code…simply too many kids, according to the Fire Chief.

My fear is that the sign is primarily used when the church doesn’t have enough workers, child care volunteers. I’m sure that in order to keep kids safe the church needs x amount of leaders per child.  It’s sad that this sign even needs to exist.