The more I think about this mourning VBS business, the more I think about why. Well, #1 - last year's was awesome. It made a HUGE impact on my kids, and it was an amazing welcome back into a comfortable home church, just 2 weeks after we'd moved back to MI (after having lived there for 2.5 years before we went to Chicago.) I *never* thought we'd EVER end up back in MI after Chicago and was not very happy about it; but that VBS pressed a major reset on our life there and made our short 8 months back (before getting to move home South to Ga this winter - YAY!) a much better go-round. I keep hearing Pastor Moore's voice in my head - clear as a bell - when I think of it. He baptized our kids the first time we lived there, and he had a big role in VBS last year. During the last day's session, he asked me to give *my* testimony, (relatable to the kids, since I accepted Christ at a young age) and I was so very moved & honored to do so. Getting that responsibility from a man I so respected was a big deal.
I remember the last time I saw Pastor Moore. It was after Zumba (in MI my Zumba class was held at my church) so I was all flushed; it was January 20th - the day we started telling people we were moving to Georgia ASAP - so I'd gone into the church office to tell my sweet friend, Michelle, (who also has a heart for the South. :-)) We were quietly freaking out about it when he sauntered over (he was from Va but spent a ton of time in Texas, so he kind of had a sweet cowboy way about him sometimes :-)) and asked, "What's all this about?" I said I was just giving out hugs. [I don't know why I didn't tell him we were moving, yet, when I told Michelle. I guess I knew he'd be sad - I thought only Michelle would be happy, b/c of our mutual Southern love - so I put it off.] His hug was firm and good...
Two days later, he went into the hospital for some testing, b/c he was feeling really tired & run down. The next weekend, JB & I flew down to Ga for our house hunting trip...and Pastor Moore was flown to the Mayo Clinic where his mystery symptoms were eventually diagnosed as intravascular lymphoma - a fast-growing type of blood cancer that is especially rare and hard to detect. I was in a whirlwind of emotion re: moving, and my church family was in a whirlwind of emotion re: Pastor Moore. I missed his prayer vigil & my last two MI Sundays, b/c I was sick as a dog, so I never felt any closure there. One week after we moved down to Ga for good, barely a month after our last hug, Pastor Moore died.
I am not really scared of death; it doesn't freak me out, and talking openly about it doesn't bother my kids, (I am very proud to say!) I know where I'm going, and I know Pastor Moore is there, so it's not something to be upset about... but I think all this VBS stuff just has me really thinking about him and my odd lack of closure. I didn't get to grieve with my church family. It seems just as plausible that he could still be there right now preaching, if we came up for a visit; after all, we moved away once, never intending to come back, but when we did, he was still there - remembering us, remembering me, and using me right off the bat to impact young lives in VBS. I love that I remember his voice so clearly. :-)
So yeah, VBS is a great, big deal - it enriches your kids, it empowers all who volunteer, and it can make memories in less than a week that stick with you for a lifetime. (Don't get me started on my childhood VBS memories! :-P ;-)) I think I'm still looking for that secure home church feeling here that VBS so firmly reiterated last year. I know it will still come in some other way; I'll just keep praying for it. :-)