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Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Memories Dancing Around Every Corner…

By Rick Blumenberg / @rickblumenberg

“Just Kathy and I now that all the children and grandchildren are gone. Some may think the house is empty but they can't see the memories dancing around every corner.”

These words were written by my cousin, Terry Arington in the hours following a Labor Day weekend of celebrating his 60th birthday with all or most of their family home for the festivities. Terry is Worship Pastor at Pekin, Illinois, First Church of God, and his song writing ability shows up in the poetic nature of these words. The quality of his work shows up in the depth of meaning and beauty in such a short paragraph.

I can imagine Terry and his lovely wife Kathy, now alone again after all the family has gone back to their normal lives with a hint of a smile lingering on their faces as they think about the good times with their family in the hours just past.

Loving families are an awesome blessing from God of which nothing else can compare. Terry’s Facebook notes tell of gifts of love shared by the family, but I know the greatest gift of all to both him and Kathy was the time spent with family gathered home.

We had one of those weekends too. Not all our family could be home, but our daughter Kathy & Mike and their family came, with our new grandson Neil, husband of Rebekah, plus Nathanael and Luke. Also present was my niece Katie (Blumenberg) Judd, her husband Josh and their marvelous 15 month-old son, Gresham, as well as my wife Carol’s sister, Fran Teeter, who has always been like another mother to our girls. They’re all gone now, returning to busy lives of school and work, but as Terry put it so well. The house isn’t really empty because of “memories dancing around every corner”.

Families are such an amazing blessing from God, and they bless us in the difficult times of life as well as the times of joy. This Labor Day weekend was a heart-breaker for the family of our beloved Bridgman dentist, Dr. Neal Smith, who died on Friday before Labor Day at age 54. We, his family and friends, gathered on Tuesday at Woodland Shores Baptist Church to celebrate his life and say a fond goodbye. So for the Smith family, Labor Day Weekend brought a different kind of painful joy as they shared memories of their beloved husband and father, alternately laughing and crying—both in thankfulness for the blessing of his life.

In spite of the heartbreak and loss, the memorial service really was a celebration of a life well lived. Dr. Neal impacted the word in amazing fashion in his 54 years through his family, his business family at Bridgman Family Dental Care, and in the awesome quality of his godly, Christ-like life. In those 54 years he helped plant two churches and went on numerous mission trips to do dental work and show the love of Christ to people in Russia where he established seven dental clinics, as well as in Mexico, Romania, Singapore and Zambia. But it wasn’t a sad service because the joy with which he lived life came through in the testimony of friends, family and employees. Because of the exuberant way he lived his life, the joy of the Lord will remain, and joyful memories will continue to dance around every corner.

I'm Rick Blumenberg and that's "My View from Tanner Creek".

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