Thursday, April 14, 2011

Stories from a Starfish

     In October I wrote this article for the Dallas Morning news.  It is all about a school volunteer who saved my sanity, encouraged me, and made me want to be a better person.   It's about my friend.  
     At 80, he's was more active than I've ever been in life...all the days of my life.  A volunteer.  A friend.  A mentor.  A cheerleader.  A contributer.  A Christian.  There aren't words I could ever string together that capture having Mr. Art in my life.  He's so special to the entire community.  And the thing is, despite his "celebrity status" as a volunteer in a the large suburbs of Dallas...and far beyond, he always let me know I was special to him.  He stopped by weekly to remind me, and to support me.  When my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time, I let my former principal know.  I was so uncertain.  So sad.  I couldn't put into words what I was feeling, much less what I needed.  She called Art.  He dropped what he was doing and drove over to give me a hug.  It's what I needed.  
     We had plans to attend the symphony this past Saturday (he always bought two tickets to take friends), but I received a sad phone call on Friday morning from his family letting me know he had passed suddenly and unexpectedly from earth into heaven. 
     I couldn't believe it, as I reread this I had to change my verbs from present to past.  It's a temporary change.  I know his greatest wish was to be in Heaven with God, and with his loved ones that passed before him.  He missed his wife daily, who's life we celebrated 5 years ago.
   I'm happy for Art, but the world seems sadder without him here.  I'll always miss Art on this side of heaven.  He didn't send  me a sweet facebook message when my article ran this week, but I know he would have.  He cared so much about so many people, it reaches beyond the lines of heaven.  Love never ends.      
     He didn't stop by this week to discuss a music performance, ask about my week, or how my students are doing, but I'll get to tell him the full story someday.   I'm looking forward to heaven, I want to be able to show him the difference he made through the difference I'm going to strive for after seeing his example.  I want to give as sacrificially of my time, and myself, and devote myself completely.  I want to stop everything I'm doing and give hugs.  
I know exactly how this starfish feels, I've met that boy....
The Starfish Story
Original Story by: Loren Eisley

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed
a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean.
Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?”

The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean.

The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”

“Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish?
You can’t make a difference!”

After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish,
and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said…”
I made a difference for that one.”

'Well done, good and faithful servant!' Matthew 25:21 


Gwen @ Gwenny Penny said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Christy. He sounds like an absolutely amazing person. I'm sure you will (and do) make him proud.

Lori said...

Love the starfish story, hadn't heard that one. What a great story.

Deb said...

oh Christy so sorry for your were lucky to have him in your life...and he was lucky to have you also....

tt.scraps said...

This seriously brought tears to my eyes. I'm sorry for your loss, but it's awesome that you know you will see him again someday! I LOVE the starfish story and it has held a special place in my life since my old boss told me the story years ago. It is always close to my heart.
Wow! Powerful....
Thanks for sharing!

Msheepers said...

I'm sorry to hear that, but glad to know that you'll be able to see him again soon and catch him up on everything that he missed!