...the 3rd big happening in 1967
Marriage. College graduation. New Job...full time.
...it was a very good year!!!
One more never down. Thankfully. In the fall of ’67 Judy and I hauled our belongings from Costa Mesa to Whittier, CA to begin several years in youth work in a church that further forged and formed our lives. Hard telling where we would be if not for Calvary...the name of the church based on the name of another place that has forged and formed our lives.
Those years there, remembering back, were times where I made some of the largest gaffs, and flat ugly mistakes of my life. It’s a good thing that the God I’ve come to know is one of grace, mercy and redemption...demonstrated daily in that sojourn in work I said I’d never do.
Those were years that to this moment stun me with what did take place. Because of years and distance and the circumstances of moving, I’m not sure where all the “kids” are today (many of them now in their 50s, fast chasing their 60s). Facebook, texts and tweets have been super to reconnect with some long lost...and to keep up with others with whom we still maintain welcome connection.
Such as...Rick and Debbie Yorgey: tonight I’m sitting here in Rome smiling, even as I think about them. Deb was one of the first girls (now an amazing woman...) we remember bouncing into our lives in ’67. Rick (long story here...!) literally came crashing into our lives. What a kick it was to watch them fall in love, do their pre-marital counseling, have the sacred privilege of doing their wedding, and off they went to the east coast to find this God wildly redirecting their own lives.
They now live in inner city Washington, DC...and have for years. Six kids later, three by special adoption, and three by natural birth, their varied and talented family is a joy to be around...including the addition of in-law kids and grandkids showing up.
Where they first thought they were going...is not where they ended up. What they are now doing through the Navigators is right where they are supposed to be. They know that. We cherish the relationship we continue to have with them...those kids...from way back there in “never land.”
The pic, by the way was taken in their home five years ago when visiting them at the beginning of a trip that I’ll write about later. Rick is on the right of me, Deb is on the left, and his precious mother, Ruth, is that beautiful lady with the gray hair...and almost all of their kids...what a wonderful crew!
A few weeks ago I was sitting around that same special table in their home having Easter dinner with them. They are a treasure! What an adventure they have been on.
Couple #2 Tim and Jan Murphy (...and I could write for weeks about all the truly exceptional “kids” who came through that youth group...making differences in our world that are stunning...known and unknown...what amazing men and women they’ve all grown up to be!). My recent trip to DC began with the Yorgey's...and was bookended at the end with the Murphys...who continue on quite an adventure with their own lives.
I still love to tease Jan with the true fact that she chased Tim until he slowed down so he could be caught. Good for him!
Tim’s family figured prominently in our church...there were a ton of Murphys (10)...almost all born in a Catholic hospital...where the nun nurses loved the fact that this was a prolific Baptist family, who evidently took after their prolific Catholic cousins.
Tim was awarded an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy. No surprise. He, like so many in that youth group, were born to lead and make a difference. Ultimately, after graduation his future appointments took him and the family all over the world (except to an stretch in Korea where he was without them). In the midst of training for his final assignment in his military career, he was at the Pentagon during the horrible time of 9/11.
His final assignment? Military Attaché for the US of A to the nation of Israel. Whoa! What a time to be doing that...then...or now.
Pardon the distortion of the picture (still learning my new camera...), but that’s Tim and Jan on the right and their son and daughter-in-law (also an Air Force Academy grad) and grand kids on the left. As in the Yorgey pic...what amazing kids have come from these two couples. Totally.......!
So...honor beyond honor, the Yorgey son, Brent, and the Murphy son, Barry, and their beautiful brides invited me to do their own premarital counseling (having done such with all their parents)...and...I had the immense sacred privilege of also doing their weddings. Humbling. Delightful...to the max.
This final pic is of Barry and Cortney’s wedding in the Air Force Academy Chapel...the only one I’ve done there. So much more could be said...about all the kids from that youth group...and their kids.
Being in both homes earlier this month...cherishing the moments, again, with these who have become so special to us...I’ve been sobered by how I almost missed out in knowing them. If I’d held on to the nevers written in the previous posts, I would not know them or theirs. That, frankly, I cannot imagine...with the grace I know now.
...a couple of other nevers remain to be written about...
(.....................to be continued.....................)