The old (somewhat cliche) story is that when you get to heaven you will see the people that you influenced while you were here on earth. It is difficult to see the positive impact that you might be having when you are in the middle of that life. My family was blessed last week to gain a small glimpse into that truth as we visited Florida.
As we left Ormond Beach this past September we did not have the opportunity to say goodbye to our friends & family in the church-some of whom we had been investing in for almost 14 years. The parting was certainly difficult for my family and it was not easy for those close to us as well.
When we discovered that we would be heading back to Florida for a wedding, we knew that we needed to set a time to connect with people in Ormond. Our friends were gracious enough to open their home for us and we quickly spread the word that we would be there last Thursday. What transpired that night is firmly etched in my mind and will always be one of the most special days of my life.
Starting at 6 p.m. a crew of people started coming in and the crowd did not die down until 9:30. I am sure that I must have given out close to 300 hugs and shared countless moments of joy in that living room. I hear that the cars were parked up & down the entire street and that a line led out of the house, down the front stairs, and down the driveway at one point. There were tears mixed with laughter, pats on the back, kisses, bear hugs, words of encouragement and pictures with red-eyed youth. The night was overwhelming and yet healing at the same time-definitely for us and hopefully for many others.
My family and I are blessed to have such a great group of family & friends in Georgia and in Florida. One man does not deserve all the love that I have found in my life. I don't know that I will ever be able to put into words all of the emotions of last week, but I do know that if heaven is anything like the love that we experienced in that home, I can't wait to get there.