As some of you may have heard, I've been on mission with Celebrant Singers in California and Guatemala, which at least gives me a somewhat legitimate excuse for not writing for some time now. I do plan to write at least weekly from here on out, so hold me to it!
The mission experience this summer, though brief, was extraordinarily powerful and moving in so many different ways. Really, I'm rarely lacking words to describe anything, but in this case words really do fall short.
After returning from any kind of spiritual experience like this, I always find that the reality of daily life tends to smack you in the face again pretty quickly. That's not to say that what we experienced on mission wasn't real -- on the contrary, I'd say that it was more real in the bigger picture of life and eternity -- but to point out that it's easy to come down from that mountaintop experience and get dragged down by the minutiae of daily responsibilities and trials.
But there is one particular person that my mind keeps coming back to that I want to share with you now, a person who taught me in a very short time about what is really important. His name is Roy Dick, and he was one of our bus drivers.
Roy was such a kind and gentle person, so happy to be with all of us on the team, and to serve God and us by driving us to all the ends of the earth (or all the ends of California, at least!). He always greeted each of us with a hello and warm smile, and there are a couple memories of Roy that I'd like to share.
Roy took our team for a WalMart run before we were to depart for Guatemala, and not needing anything myself, I just hung around outside for a while. When I saw Roy, he asked how I was doing and if I needed anything -- he was always concerned for others -- and when I told him that I was fine, he asked if I might have time to run in to the McDonald's to grab a Big Mac for him. It was something so small that I did for him, but he was so grateful that you'd have thought that I went and bought him a new car (or an upgraded Celebrant Singers bus, perhaps?).
The next special moment with Roy happened on the afternoon on the Celebrant Singers 37th Annual Homecoming Concert. I had just returned to meet the teams for rehearsal, and when I went in to the building I had my children with me. I was in a bit of a hurry to get them to the restroom and then to get ready myself for the rehearsal, but we saw Roy in the hallway. He was so happy to see me upon my return to the team, and really excited to meet my girls. Because I was feeling rushed, I felt inclined to just give a quick hello and to keep walking, but I felt Jesus say to me, "Won't you stop and visit with me for just a moment?" Roy wanted to know my girls' names, to say hello to each of them individually and to see how they were doing. He was so kind. I found out later that it was actually his weekend off (the ministry sometimes has the volunteer bus drivers on a rotation) but that he had come anyway that day because he loved being around us and the music. My girls and I told Roy that we'd see him later, and continued on to prepare for the rest of the day.
That was the last time I saw or spoke to Roy. A few hours later, while the musicians were on a break from rehearsal, Roy took a misstep at the edge of the stage and took a big fall into the orchestra pit area. He was flown to a hospital for treatment, but he sustained such serious injuries that he died last Tuesday evening, the night of our final banquet and concert for this summer's outreach.
I learned so much in the few weeks of our mission, but the most profound lesson was learned from Roy's life and his sudden death: that we should never take one another for granted, that we should never pass up an opportunity to give and receive love, that we should always take an opportunity to serve others, to give, to love to the point of sacrifice. The time is now to love; we have no time to waste!
When I think of Roy, I think of this Bible verse about love in action: