Wednesday, January 28, 2015

My memorial service.

I have wanted to do this for a while now. Listening to my favorite pastor, Francis Chan, I am finally beginning to understand that I owe my next breath to God. One day, maybe today, maybe in thirty years, my heart will beat its final beat. Whenever that day comes, there are things I wanted to say. While I am still drawing breath, I thought I should not waste another heartbeat.

First off, I am usually the one up front at these things so I wonder who is reading this? I may shame Dan Gallardo into performing it because he hates speaking in public, but I think he would do quite well.

Before I get into too much detail, I want everyone to know how much I love my family. My parents Walter and Alice, my step father Paul, my sister Lisa and brother in law Roy. I had such a wonderful childhood. Sure we had some ups and downs, but I was always loved, and I cherish those days.

I also love my wonderful in-laws, Don, Lois, along with Eric, Brian and the whole Meidinger clan. I’ll bet you didn’t know what a ride you were in for when I married dawn, right?

I must say that everyone loves their family, or at least that’s the way it supposed to work, and I hope I can cover in a few minutes the infinite amount of love I have for my wife Dawn, my son Steven and my daughter Abigail. If by the time you are reading this I have grandkids, I’m sure I love you too and keep giving your folks a grief, its payback time.

 Sitting here today, I am a very happy person, but that has not always been the case. I have and continue to struggle with being an anxious, worried, petty, vain, untrustworthy, angry, and hypocritical person. Some days I win, some days I lose, but in all days, I thank Jesus Christ for the strength to fight.

Much like a Labrador Retriever, I have been slow to mature. I still remember that kid from Oak Run, down at the creek with my dog throwing rocks at frogs, sticks, oak balls, whatever, pretending I was bombarding them with cannon fire. To tell the truth, I would still do this today if no one was watching me. I remember the crazy kid in high school, drinking to excess and acting like a lunatic. Why my parents ever let me have my own apartment at 17 is still a mystery to me. If I lived my high school days over ten times, it is no exaggeration I would die seven times.

I remember meeting my future wife, asking her to marry me without the slightest idea of what I wanted to do with my life, or how I would make a living should something happen to my father. Well, unfortunately, we had to find out. I was so unprepared for my father’s death and it set me back in so many ways. Emotionally, financially, and spiritually, I was a wreck.

If any person saved my life in those dark days it was Dawn. She stayed with me, even when she didn’t know what was going to happen, even when I was very depressed, even when I was wallowing in darkness, even when I didn’t deserve to be loved, she was there. Simply put, she saved me from myself.

She was my first love, someone who I was not looking for when I found her, someone I could not live without once we met. After our first few dates, we were inseparable. When I ran out of money and asked if she wanted to go out to the ranch and run around with my dogs as a date, she said yes, and I knew I found a keeper. We have been through so much; good times, bad times, heart aches and turnarounds. She has been a steady force in our marriage, trying to keep my wandering course off the rocks.

Our son Steven came into this world, and surprise, and again, I was not ready for it. I would like to think I was a pretty good parent, but I was unprepared. I owe him many apologies and ask for his forgiveness. I was not trying to screw you up son; I was trying to do the best I could. I think we are hardest on the weaknesses we hate in ourselves when we see them in others. I was way too hard on Steven, trying to correct my own faults through him.

One thing I hope I did right was stop trying to pound that square peg in a round hole like my father tried to. It became pretty obvious that Steven’s personality is different than mine, or Dawn’s. He is a ‘sit back and watch’ kind of person. He doesn’t like to meet new people, and it takes a while for him to make friends. I found this frustrating as a parent. Why isn’t like me? He wasn’t into sports, and for a guy for played three sports in school, this seemed strange too. He hated school, and I mean hated school. So I did the only thing I knew how to do, I just took with me everywhere. Steven was my constant companion on weekends when I wasn’t working, and he seemed to be okay with it. As long as we stopped off to eat at a good place, he was cool with it.

 I was wondering what we would do with him when he asked for a guitar for Christmas; I think he was 13? Little did we know that we had just unlocked a side to our son that we had never seen. He played for a while, I bought a guitar too and we plucked around making noise for a few months and then he just slowly stopped playing. I thought this might just have been a phase that had run its course when one of those weird things happened. Dawn’s uncle Tom and aunt Carol came by. He heard Steven had a guitar and Tom is one of those misdirected musical geniuses, and he asked to see Steven play. He did, and then he picked up Steven’s cheap Chinese Strat knock off and made it sing. Steven seemed reinvigorated in his music and played, and played and played some more. He started playing at church with Peter Numann and he blossomed under Peter’s direction and Pastor John Withem’s encouragement. Dawn and I owe a great deal to Peter and John for seeing what Steven could become and giving him the chance to succeed.

Steven, you are a great son. Even when you were being a butthead, you were nice about it; which is more than I can say for myself. I love you so much, you inspire me. I worry about you at times, but I shouldn’t. You will always do what is right. You are stronger that you know, one day you will find that out and the world better watch out. 

Then there is Abbie. Abbie came into world in a crisis. She was 3 pounds 4 ounces and both her and Dawn tried to die on me, but with a lot of prayer, a whole lot of prayer, and their own stubbornness, they both pulled through. I have always said that Abbie was going to give me a heart attack, if I died from one, Ab, I was just kidding. You are great, it’s just that after Steven and his easy going pace, I was not ready for Hurricane Abbie. I used to say that Abbie never walked on her heels around the house, and I was right. She ran and stood on her tiptoes most of the time. She was a blur of activity, always moving, always running, and usually in her mom’s footsteps. We used to call Abbie, Dawn’s mini-me.

Abbie, you are kind, funny, up for every adventure. You don’t get bogged down in life; you seem to just roll with it. I wish I had your spirit.

If Steven was always with me, Abbie was always with Dawn. She used to go to work with her on Sundays and so I didn’t see too much of her on weekends. Abbie, unlike her brother is a “joiner” she wanted, and did, do just about everything. Soccer, volleyball, basketball, cheerleading, gymnastics, 4-H, riding horses, and I probably missed a few along the way. Abbie loves the ranch. Both, Gibson and Sugarland. She has such talent on a horse. She works very hard at it. It is her passion. Abbie’s love for horses and riding is very similar to Steven’s love of music. They both are naturally gifted and I have wondered at their achievements, and I could not be prouder.

I wish we had spent more time together as she grew up, and I am sorry for that. Maybe it’s natural to be more connected to children of the same sex, or maybe our personalities are not as similar and mine and Steven’s. Whatever the reason, Abbie, I wish I knew you better, and I wish we were closer. You have my quirkiness, my strange sense of humor, and you love to make friends. I cannot tell you how much I love you. Even if you think I love your brother more, you are wrong, he’s a guy and know what it’s like to be a guy. Young girls and women scare the hell out of me and I don’t know anything about being one of them, so you will have to forgive me for not knowing what to say, or the right way to act around you. But I love you dearly, and you make me so proud. You are such a good person.

To all my friends, and family, I thank you for allowing me into your lives and that you had a glimpse into my twisted little world. While many dying people say I have no regrets, I think that is a cop-out. I have many, many regrets.

I regret I was not a better husband, father, son, brother or friend. It wasn’t like I was out saving the world or curing cancer, I had the time and ability to do all those things, I just didn’t. I was too wrapped up being me.
I’m sorry, and I hope you will forgive me.

My deepest regret is not doing what the Bible tells me to do; love the Lord your God with all your mind, body, soul, and spirit and love your neighbor as yourself. While I believe that Christ Jesus died on a cross, and took my sin to the grave, came alive again and made me spotless in the eyes of God, I have been a terrible example to the rest of world.

If I could come back to change one thing, one mistake I have made, it would be that. I regret not bringing more people into the kingdom of God, I know there are friends of mine that do not have a relationship with Jesus, and that I could have done a lot more to ensure that their names are written in the book of life. This is my failure, one that I hope someone hearing this message will rectify.

 If I did you wrong, please forgive me. If you believe you did me wrong, don’t worry about it, I’m not.

Try not to cry for me here today, I am not in this box, I am not this bag flesh, if you dropped me on the way to the hole, I hope at least one person laughed. Nope, I am gone, but I am still with you, all of you. In your memories, in your hearts, and I hope to live on in your stories, I know there are a few really good ones.

Please know in the deepest part of your soul that I am in a better place, I am home. I am in the place I was made for, not here on this earth, but at home with my Lord. I hope to see you there, where we can spend eternity in the throne room of the God, crying out Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God almighty!

Now go get some food and hug my family.

Walter Christopher Lucas.