Sunday 9-28 was our Hero of Hope Day -- that was the day it was announced that I was leaving. Gosh, I'm not remembering everything now that Todd did that day -- but I know he tried to get PURPLE flowers on the chancel (they came on Wednesday), and we had purple vestments, and he did the offering call and made sure to mention the love offering online for me, and he traded with me so that I got to do the Prayer of Thanksgiving at the end of Communion -- my favorite part. And he and Paul just hugged me and cried, and it was beautiful.
Then on Wednesday Oct 1, I preached. He had the purple flowers there, and he arranged the service so that the Voice of Hope could read their poem to me, and he again made sure people knew about the love offering, and he kept Facebooking about it, so we had a pretty high attendance, I think. Oh, I can't really remember everything now. Darn.
Oh, in the midst of everything he had to do -- he was about to serve as Spiritual Leader for The Walk; it was the very next day!!! -- he offered to help me move some books out of my office for me. So giving, so caring!
His and Paul's generosity no knows bounds. Utterly astounding.
Then, after I preached on Wednesday I drove to Granbury on Thursday to participate in The Walk. I only did that for Todd, because my own experience of that 3-day retreat 15 years ago was not great, but I didn't want to disappointment him. And on my gosh! I'm SO glad I was there. That experience was like icing on the cake! (I'm so betting that these Travelers and Team will serve as the center of a spiritual renewal for Cathedral of Hope -- I'm praying this is so!!)
Seeing the Travelers receive the love of God, over and over and over, and how OPEN they were to it, and how the Team took on this spirit of true service ... And the FUN of dressing up funny. Oh, and the music was just breathtaking! (thank you Leslie and Tina!) And getting to really talk to so many people I absolutely LOVE -- Holy Moly, I'm so grateful for that. I got to hear Zante's name story, and hear how she and the other team members were so moved to re-start this experience. And Brad and Eric (I'm counting on us continuing our friendship), and David (moved me completely) as did Jose (what a beautiful heart he has), Todd and Miguel who I've always loved -- Rita, Tina, dear Mona, Kye, & Tremaine, I shouldn't name them because I'll forget, but... Donna and Denise are so special, and Doug, and Shannon and Marlon -- what servant leaders!, and getting to know Stephanie a bit better, and being in the presence of Doris' absolute grace and care for me. Oh gosh -- Brian, Christopher, Scott (thank you for the note!), I so appreciate our talks. Oh, and the depth of each of the 10 talks - I couldn't believe it. Todd, Debby, Zante, Kye, Steve, Leslie, Tremaine, BRAD (oh!), Every single one of those talks was just inspiring. Todd did two of the talks, and both were absolutely excellent, so moving...like I told him, though, his Means of Grace talk was masterful. Masterful. It's a long talk, so he easily could've lost us, but instead he kept us totally engaged the whole time with really great stories and risking his own vulnerability. Wow. Just WOW.
He worked and worked and worked. Honestly, I have no idea how he managed it. (Well, he's extremely fit, so I know that helps!, but still!) And on Saturday night, he made me MISS the team meeting because it was so late at night, he didn't want me staying up that late. I just felt SO TAKEN CARE OF. So deeply appreciative of that.
How on earth could he even be thinking of me when everything at this retreat, the gazillion details, the running of it, learning the script, people asking questions and more questions, etc etc etc was just swirling around him, NON-STOP?
Answer: That's who Todd is. He's smart--easily takes information and processes/applies it brilliantly, he has an excellent work ethic, great sense of humor, highly intuitive (I trust his sense of people and events), and perhaps most of all, he's an amazingly caring person, thinking of other people is natural for him. He extends himself all the time, out of love and concern for others. Also, Todd is also one of the most self-reflective persons I know. He's often asking himself What is really the best thing to do in this situation? What does GOD want me to do? He's like me and my friend Wendy in how he values friends and people he loves so much that finding the courage to address potential problems in a relationship is simply a must. (Wendy and I have talked about that, too--how she and I will courageously confront because the relationship is so important that we can't stand the pain of something being in the way of it; we can't push that aside; we have to take steps to get our important relationships back on track. Todd's that way, too!) Todd also takes his spiritual life so seriously and applies it to his context in a deeply authentic way, always asking what love looks like here, and there, and tomorrow, and yesterday. Unafraid to admit his mistakes, he knows the value of being honest, how it moves us forward and closer to God. I think he's an amazing human being, a truly GOOD person, and a friend I want for life.