First, so cute, Kieren is napping and we need groceries for dinner, so Casey just piled a bunch of the kids who were at our house and in our yard and took them all to 'Pick N Pay' for shopping. Funny!
I have been thinking a lot this week about many things, one among them being addiction. This weekend I will be pastoring and leading a memorial service for a woman named Evarnie Garrett who died in this community 2 weeks ago through domestic violence at the hands of her boyfriend. I watched the movie last night 'Rachel Getting Married' starting Anne Hathaway (couple years old) and Anne's character is a sister in recovery who comes home out of rehab for her sister's wedding. The family is all crazy and amazing, rich, troubled story ensues. But I don't have to watch a movie or choreographed dance to see the power of addiction, it is ripe all around Ocean View. Evarnie, who we will celebrate and remember tomorrow, was mostly remembered in this community as the white lady who walked around drunk. Once she was that, 'a drunk,' she was labeled and ignored, even though she knew Jesus Christ and desperately tried to change her life, always falling back to her addiction and the twisted comfort of her abusive relationship. It's so easy to stand on the outside, like watching a movie, and try to analyze the people in the community and the source of their many vices and hang-ups. However, I think a reason I have felt very fragile lately in the face of all the pain around me is that I realize that all of us are weak, broken, and vulnerable and possibly a step away from a life tortured by addiction. Also what is wild is that something about that place of weakness is exactly where Jesus wants us to be as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:9, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." I hate weakness and greatly prefer control, success, and happiness. Somehow in this context, in our world of brokenness and addiction, I am seeing myself, or realizing how weak I really am. It's terrifying and maddening. Literally. However, somehow I have peace in knowing I am on the right road. I can't disguise, and this is a good thing.
It's a tough weekend. Today we went to the funeral of my friend and church member Lenny Levendall. There was an open casket viewing, where afterwards you greeted the mourning family. Then an hour and a half long service with people sharing, choirs singing, and a moving meditation from my fellow pastor, Kyle. Afterwards was a HUGE spread of desserts and tea where the 300 or more people visited and shared. It was beautiful, heartbreaking, and exhausting. Honestly though, I am so happy for my friend 'Uncle Lenny' that he is rejoicing in heaven, his body whole, and his fears and questions no more.
Tomorrow is the funeral for Evarnie, and this one I will lead alone. I have assisted other pastors but never lead a funeral by myself (I just realized this as I am writing!). I have such a peace about it and even feel privileged to honor this woman who I think was troubled, misunderstood, and I KNOW loved by God. Pray for me, the family, and this community. May we honor our friend and move forward together, broken and honest, yet with a new bond and longing to see this community healed and whole, just like Lenny and Evarnie are now.