Life Chapters - we all have them, but chooses to call them that. My life chapters have been defined by several events - going off to college, graduations, getting married, having a baby, and moving, just to name a few. But this weekend was the end of a chapter for me, and I didn't even realize it was closing until it happened.
Last week was a little bit of a sad week for me. The former pastor (Paul McEachern aka Brother Mac) of the church I grew up in passed away. His wife passed away about 18 months prior, and so he was alone. He went for a walk on Thursday, January 30th, and never came home. It wasn't until Sunday, when his neighbor realized his car hadn't moved in a couple days, nor had his paper been taken in, that everyone realized that something was wrong. His home was searched, but he wasn't found inside. His body was found in the desert near his home on Monday morning. Apparently he had gone for a walk and collapsed in the desert. There was an article written about him in the newspaper that you can read here.
I have known Brother Mac my whole entire life. Brother Mac married my parents and I grew up in his church. I've been told that as a baby, I used to scream when he would hold me. Every. Single. Time. And every single Sunday. He always insisted on holding me. But then one day, I stopped screaming. I got used to him. And I loved him.
He did fun little magic tricks by pulling a thimble out of your ear, or making a penny disappear into his elbow. He would pull out this ugly picture and tell everyone that this was his daughter or wife when she was younger, just to see how people would react. He would take drive all of the kids (myself included) to camp every year and insist on leaving at 1AM. He was undefeated at ping pong. And he would say ridiculous things that made no sense, just to get a reaction from us. He was quite the character. But he also had deep love for the Lord, and yearned to be in Heaven. He had a heart for the poor, for missions, and a deep desire for everyone to have a relationship with Christ.
His children had moved away married, and had children, so my parents always assisted Brother Mac and his wife when they needed something. In a way, Brother Mac was like a grandfather to us. In 2000, he retired from his church, and moved across town about 15 minutes from my parents. I had already gone off to college, and didn't see him or his wife very often. But every holiday, when they were not visiting their children and grandchildren, my parents would invite them over for dinner.
This past Saturday was Brother Mac's memorial service. My husband, son and I attended, as well as many others - former church attendees, evangelists, as well as a couple of significant leaders from his church's denomination. It was sad, but there was a sense of closure that could be found in the service too. But honestly, that closure made me feel even more sad. As I greeted several people before and after the service, I realized that this chapter in my life was coming to a close. Some of those people I hold very dear to my heart and have made a significant difference in my life. Many of those people I will probably never see again. My parents sold their house in the fall and now travel full time. Both of my siblings have moved away as well. My ties to El Paso have dwindled. I wasn't just saying goodbye to Brother Mac, I was saying goodbye to many friends and to this chapter in my life.
This was a sad realization for me. But I cannot linger in this chapter. Memories and reflection is good, but it is time to move on.
Ecclesiates 3:1-8 says, "There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—
A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace."
Goodbye old friend,
I hope to keep in touch,
but even if we don't,
My life's affected much