This past weekend as we attended the funeral of our Friend Paul. Paul was a household brother to my husband in college whom he had MANY adventures with. Although he and I never sat down and had a long conversation, just from being around him I feel so blessed to know him and I am very thankful that he was a part of my husbands life and mine.
It was not the things he said that struck me, rather, it was his presence. His joy, passion, laughter, and ability to influence so many to embrace life and take the world on as a great Great Adventure is a legacy he has left us all.
Two years ago at a reunion my children met Paul and had the same experience. When we found out that he was sick they knew who he was once we started to describe him…he was the “man who told funny stories and sang to us by the campfire”.
Through his suffering and his wife Annie’s suffering I have been drawn to a new place in my life with the way I see my marriage, my children, my friends, and my faith.
What is it about Paul? #livelikepaul
I have found myself posting many pictures, memories, and thoughts with this hashtag because I feel so inspired by the beauty, simplicity, and passion of this man’s life. So many incredible things have been written about him, so many hilarious and adventurous stories have been shared, and so many tears of joy mixed with pain have been shed and will continue to be.
Here I sit with my brain going 100 mph because there is SO MUCH I have yet to even unpack in my brain, so many seeds that have been planted, and so many blessings to be thankful for from a man that I witnessed do great things by being who God called him to be.
This past weekend as we attended the funeral of our friend, one of the many things that struck me was his amazing ability to STOP and ENJOY each moment. His live with a PASSION to love others, be present to them, and bring joy to them IN THE MOMENT.
As I sat up until 3 am with the Brothers of the Eternal Song (Their Household), laughing to the point that my face was hurting, one theme echoed in all their crazy and funny stories…PAUL LIVED to LOVE others, LOVE GOD, and EMBRACE EACH MOMENT.
I think I will be unpacking the many things I have learned from Paul and his beautiful wife for years to come, but the one thing that has struck me the most at this place in my life is how they live IN THE MOMENT…
We miss out on so much precious time and the blessing before us when we worry about tomorrow, and in worrying about what we cannot control. We spend so much time setting goals, making plans, figuring out how to make things better….which is all good…but to the extent sometimes we miss what is going on RIGHT NOW.
This past weekend we STOPPED for a weekend and focused on the PRESENT moment with many dear friends from school. We celebrated Paul and one another, and really EMBRACED the time we had together since we do not have it often. What a gift Paul gave to us in the Celebration of his life.
WHY NOT LIVE EVERY DAY THAT WAY?
Which takes me to the second thing that I cannot and will not let go of from this experience. We are called to #livelikepaul, but also called to #lovelikeannie.
Annie, you have drawn me deeper in my vocation as a wife and mother through your beauty and vulnerability. Your faith and passion for life and holiness are equally as powerful and impactful as Paul’s passion, which is why you two are an amazing pair.
I was blessed to meet Annie at the reunion two years ago and struck that within moments of meeting her, I felt as if I had known her my entire life. I felt loved, accepted, and embraced through her smile, kind words, and her compassion.
I was greeted the same way in the hospital the day before Paul died. When my husband went to see him and pray with him she came out to hug me and shared so much of her heart. She has shared her heart with all of us in her posts that she shared on Facebook, at the funeral reception, and the next day when we spent some time before we had to come home.
Annie, I write this to you. I will now be a better wife because you have SHOWN me what it means to LIVE my vows, to LOVE with my vows, and to SUFFER in a way that brings about surrender, healing, and holiness. I know I am NOT alone in this, I know there are MANY who are now closer to the LORD, closer to their spouse, closer to their children because of your beautiful example of love.
When you shared how you knew that to Love Paul was to let him go to be with the Father, your selflessness and suffering was so beautiful and it calls me to daily draw deeper in order to love more like you.
I do not even know if I can further put into words to how my life has changed by both you and Paul. What I can say is Thank You and know we will pray for you and be here for you. I can not imagine what the road ahead has for you, but I know that you have shown me and many others that our LOVING FATHER is holding you in HIS Hands and that your LOVING Husband will be praying for you through it all. We will be praying too.
Just as much as I desire to #livelikepaul my heart also desires to #lovelikeannie.
I hope we will al take time to let this all Sink in and let the seeds of conversion, healing, and hope continue to blossom. There is so much to be learned from this amazing couple. I pray we will all stay with them through the future months and years in prayer and deed.
Annie thank you again for your gift to us…you openness and sharing of your life and Paul’s life. You both are such a gift.
Please know how much We love you.