Sunday, August 26, 2007

Congratulations !!

You just never know where your path may lead you ...

... It's funny how some of the most important moments of your life simply happen without fanfare, and even without being noticed in that moment. But looking back you can see that it was one of those pivotal moments that altered your trajectory and sent you in a direction, or to a place that you never expected ...

Twenty Four Years ago I had one of those moments that at the time I didn't think of it as life altering ... but today looking back I realize how incredibly important it truly was:

It was a cold December evening. I parked my car and went into a three story walk up apartment building on the south side of Stratford. I knocked on the door and met for the first time a young six year old boy and his mom. That night I was introduced to my "Little Brother" Wayne for the first time.

The meeting was anything but grandiose. He introduced me to his hamster and it promptly peed in my hand, leaving Wayne rolling with laughter ... and setting the tone for what would follow ...

Yesterday afternoon that young boy, now an adult, was married in a ceremony before a few hundred family and friends ... I was to preside at the wedding, but because of my suspension and because "rules are rules" and they MUST be obeyed, four weeks ago we began the scramble to find someone to preside ... Two weeks ago we succeeded and the ceremony was able to get back on track.

For me as I sat watching a young man who I have watched grow up and whom I have proudly called a friend for over 24 years, get married to a beautiful young woman who caught his eye and his heart, I thought back over the many memories Wayne and I share as Big and Little Brother, but more importantly as friend ... I was able to share some of them last night at the dinner as I returned thanks ... a concession to the denial of being able to preside at the ceremony that we had anticipated for 18 months only have it snatched away because of "the rules". Everyone there knew I was supposed to do the service but couldn't, and they also knew who I was: Wayne's Big Brother and friend ...

I've been a firm believer that God will ALWAYS turn things around ... Last night is proof. Because I couldn't participate as Minister in the day, I instead stood as Wayne's friend and Mentor and shared my words - words spoken from the heart - words that required the fighting of tears - words that I was honoured to share ...

I looked back on our friendship ... and I looked forward to a new friendship with both Wayne and Amy as they continue their journey together. It was perhaps the most meaningful moment I have had in the 24 years I've known Wayne. I've always been proud of him. But last night instead of presiding over the service itself, I was invited by the family to share my thoughts and feeling about how much Wayne's friendship has meant to me ... and for that I will be forever thankful.

So, today I am, with tears in my eyes writing this to say a heartfelt - "Congratulations!!" to two friends - one old and one new, as they continue their life together ... and I am also smiling with the realization that in spite of my suspension I heard over and over and over last night the affirmation: "If there were MORE "ministers" like YOU in the Church, I would come back ... you rock !!"

In moments like this, far beyond the stroke to my ego (something I do appreciate once in awhile), lies the challenge for the Church to find the courage to hear those voices and the open-ness to find ways of inviting and welcoming back those folks back ... We talk a good talk ... it's time for us to walk the words and become true evangelists of our faith !!

For me I can only smile as I think back upon the moment when a hamster peed in my hand and a quirky, delightful and profoundly meaningful friendship began ... I only wish I would have appreciated what a powerful moment that night was ... BUT, like they say - hindsight is always 20/20 !!

I'm going to keep my eyes open a bit more as I move forward ... and I'm going to take time to appreciate the small moments, because you just never know what they will mean !!!

L'Chaim !!

3 comments:

wendy said...

beautiful!
yah know...sometimes going home is a blessing to a heart hurting from the brutality of somewhere else.
heaps of blessings
wendy

Anonymous said...

why must all comments be approved? Isnt that a form of censorship?

shawn said...

Censorship??? YUP !!!

I would love to let this be a free forum where people could openly speak their minds and share their thoughts, but I had a run where a few individuals abused the privilege and used anonymity to lob hurtful and hateful comments in my direction.

So, with great reluctance I chose to enable the approval mechanism here ... I don't like it, but until people stop hiding behing anonymity and start playing nice with others this is the way it is going to stay ...

I welcome comments and post 99% of them and read 100% of them ... the only ones that don't get posted are those that are hateful, hurtful or just plain offensive to me personally ...

SO to everyone here - comment away - the majority of them WILL show up!!

Peace,