Sunday, July 29, 2012

Praising in the Midst of Loss

Counting blessings are most important, I believe, when we are in the midst of a dark time or season. Please don't misunderstand. . .I'm not saying it's easy or always natural but I want it to be. To continue my thankfulness, I'm trying to get 1,000 gifts listed, I will get back on track today.

37. For people who have demonstrated their love to us through this adoption process. It seems like it should be an easy road but it can sometimes feel lonely or like you are on the path but on the path with strangers, who have felt the same calling.

38. For the shelter I have, which is not necessarily the shelter I want, but it does the job!

39. For godly men and women, who walk the walk, who encourage us when we are in the midst of places and people that aren't focused on God's call, and who give us the courage to continue walking the walk as well.

This was true about a dear co-worker and friend that I lost this week. His name was Doug. You know when you meet those rare people who change the face of Christianity, who exemplify how you wish Christians were so that perceptions would change, who are who they are in and out of the church building? That was Doug. Not only was he a pastor, but he was a behavior coach who worked with children, children that sometimes struggled to keep it together, and he did so with the greatest patience I have ever witnessed. You see, I'm not patient, and I deeply admire people who are. He could soothe you with his voice in the midst of any crisis. Don't get me wrong, he wasn't perfect and He's not Jesus, but his voice was always how I "hear" Jesus's voice during the storm when the disciples were panicked. A voice saying, "No worries! The King of the Universe has this one covered! Trust Him!" However, he had reasons to be worried. Even when life was cruel and his family was hurting, his faith did not waiver. He was a testimony to an entire community! In addition, he spoke the truth. He didn't back down on his beliefs just because it might be uncomfortable, but he was strong in his beliefs. However, he expressed his beliefs with deep love and respect for those around him. At the end of the school year, I had announced that I would be leaving this school that I have loved for 13 years in order to be on the same schedule as my children. I hate change!! To say the least, it was hard to keep the tears back in those last few days, but he greeted me with a smile when I entered the building on one particularly hard day and was sorry I was going but with this amazing, encouraging attitude indicated that great things awaited me. There was just joy for what was happening in my life. Thank you, Doug, for being real, for speaking Christ through who you were, for showing us all how to love kids with unconditional love while growing them into stronger people, and for being a "hero" at our school and in the community. I know you wouldn't have wanted to be called a hero (most real ones don't), but you were! And, now you are face to face with your Hero and mine! Can't wait to be there with you! What a joyous day that will be!


  1. Please leave any uplifting comments for Doug's family! I know they would love to read them!

  2. Angel I think everyone would agree to what you have to say about Doug. I remember a particularly hard day I had and Doug had gone through part of the day with me. He was the first to ask if he could pray and when he prayed I always felt the peace of God. When I think of saints in heaven I now think of Doug looking down at us through a window in heaven.
    Doug was always there for everyone and he lived his Christian life for everyone to see. When I first came to Edinburgh 5 years ago, as soon as I met Doug I wanted the peace he always had. Doug helped me to grow in my relationship with Jesus and I will always remember the impact he had on all those around him.

  3. In the brief two years that I knew Doug, there were a couple of things that really stood out about him. First of all he was in love with Jesus. He lived it and he gave of himself on behalf of the Him. Secondly, he was in love with his wife. It was totally obvious that he and Paula were deeply devoted to one another. It was so refreshing to watch them together.
    Even though I never had the pleasure of working closely with Doug, he impacted my life daily. At the end of each school day, after dismissing my students to their buses, I would see him waiting with this students in the car rider line. I was often weary from a long day full of kindergarten activity and he would always take the time to look up at me and smile or say something encouraging. He made room in his heart and day for me and I will forever appreciate his sincerity. He will be greatly missed by me and East Side.

  4. Any time I passed Doug in the hallway he would always have a smile on his face & a kind encouraging word. He showed patience & you could see how much he truly cared for others. He went out of his way to speak to each student he encountered, not simply students he worked with. One memory I will always have is of Doug, Paula & another friend praying with me when I found out my grandmother had cancer. His soft words made me feel so much calmer. My second memory, was from a couple of years ago when Doug worked with a few students in my class. It was a particularly challenging group & I did not receive much parent support that year. Doug knew that & came to my room for each holiday party to help. He did not just come & watch. Doug jumped in, passed out snacks, joined in games, & cleaned up after. He was such a great help. Finally, I will always remember how Doug treated Paula with such love & kindness. I appreciated seeing a couple who loved each other so much they chose to be together at home, at work, at church, & during their leisure time. You could always see how happy they were together. Doug will certainly be missed. However, I am happy to imagine him rejoicing in Heaven & happily waiting for his family & friends to join him again some day.

  5. It is hard to verbalize the plethera of thoughts and feelings that have been spinning in my head since I heard the heart renching news that Doug has passed. Memories of his gentle demeanor, sweet smile, accepting nature, peppy walk, and soft voice fill my mind. I loved collaborating with him to figure out the best way to handle situations and assist our kids. He had awesome creativity and was a person who could think outside the box. He was a constant that exuded peacefulness to those around him, kids and adults alike. My favorite memory of him is when he told me a joke (that know I can't remember the details about). I was paying close attention since sometimes I need jokes explained to me... and all the sudden I realized that he had made me the butt of the joke. I remember staring at him as I put it together in my brain and then busting out laughing while he shook his head, patted me on the back, and said "Oh Emily!" I miss Doug but will always have my memories.