Well, it has officially started. Fall clubs are in full swing, and I have to say it's been a different start to a new year of ministry.
I felt a little off, coming home from assignment and adjusting to so many changes in the area, and it took me a few of weeks to get back to a balanced schedule. While everyone else in the area was on the same wavelength, I had been gone for more than a month, and it was a bit overwhelming at first. So many new ministries and opportunities for new ministries have popped up recently, and I had to wonder how we could do it all - Capernaum, College Life, new clubs at Coronado HS and James Irwin Charter School... But the Holy Spirit operates on His timing, and according to the Father's will, and even when something seems impossible, He makes it happen. Capernaum is up and running, College Life is springing up out of nowhere, and God is clearly up to something at both Coronado and James Irwin. I consistently have to stop and allow the Spirit to remind me that He is faithful, and He is sovereign, and my doubts don't change that.
I had another reminder of his faithfulness and sovereignty last week. While at leadership camp last weekend at Frontier, my sister and I received the devastating news that our grandma had passed away. We knew she was going to leave us soon, having just been diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer. Her heart was in rough shape, she was having problems with her kidneys, and she had been experiencing tremors for a couple of years. When we visited her in Minnesota over Easter, we knew that was likely the last time we'd get to see our Grandma.
Erin and I had planned to fly out to see her this month, thinking we'd have at least another month or two to spend some more time with her. As aggressive as pancreatic cancer can be, we didn't think she'd pass away so suddenly. Last weekend, she ended up in the hospital because her kidneys were failing, and the doctors told her she wouldn't make it passed Sunday. The next morning, she was gone. Painlessly and quietly, without having to endure cancer.
Erin and I drove straight to Steamboat the next day, having left Frontier Ranch the night before, to spend a couple of days with our mom and brother. We flew out to Minnesota last Tuesday, and went right out to the Bodnar farm, where my family settled many decades before. My grandparents lived there for more than 60 years after my grandpa inherited it from his parents. It's where my mom grew up, and it's the picture that comes to mind when I think of my grandma Lorraine.
My uncles had just installed a sliding glass door in the kitchen so that Grandma could look out on the farm, with the fields lined by thick forest. They had just finished installing it the morning they took her to the hospital, so she got to enjoy it for about half an hour. It was strange walking into the farmhouse and not seeing Grandma sitting at the kitchen table with her Coke, bag of Cheetos, and cribbage board in front of her. She hated cheese, but she loved Cheetos. (We actually buried her with a bag. A snack for the road, I suppose.)
The next day was the wake, and somewhere around 600 or 700 people showed up. It was overwhelming, standing in the funeral home, meeting people I didn't know, talking to relatives I haven't seen in years, and realizing how vast an impact my grandparents had on the community of Elk River, MN. Their legacy extended far beyond our big Hungarian-German-Irish family.
The funeral was emotional and well-attended, just like the wake. After burying her next to my Grandpa Joe, about 200 folks went straight to the Elk River Golf Club, where they drank, ate, and played cribbage in Grandma's honor. She would have approved, I think. (The priest at the funeral joked about her Thursday night bible studies at the golf club, a.k.a. her weekly poker game. She loved playing cards.)
I can only hope that my life will be as blessed as my grandma's was. She loved and served people so well, and she never lost her sense of humor. Right up until the end, she was teasing her doctors or making snarky comments to my aunts and uncles. I am honored to be her first granddaughter, to have a part of her in me, and to have learned from her. Her legacy will continue, I have no doubt.
To those of you who prayed for me and my family over the last week, thank you. I am so grateful, and your prayers are a gift. We have our first Cheyenne Mountain WyldLife club this Friday, since I was gone last week, so keep praying that it is a success! We'll be doing a paint war, and I can't wait to post some photos!
On a sidenote, I've decided that I need to find some friends who know how to play cribbage. Let me know if you're game. :)