God deals with each of us differently, according to our needs. On June 8th, Bill and I didn't think we would be strong enough to attend the Candlelight Vigil for Andrew, but He had different plans. I can't tell you when we decided to go, but we did go. First, Bill said, "Let's just park by McGregor's and watch." Okay I thought, but that's not what we did. We parked in the same spot we always park when we go to any event at the football field. I told Bill I was going to sit with the family. The organizers had placed two benches right in front of the bleachers, so I knew I didn't have to look at anyone--just the speakers. Bill, I think, still thought he would just observe from McGregors. But then we saw Billy, Jessie, and Hendrix coming from that direction. We went to join them so we could go through this as a family. None of us thought we would be able to deal with a lot of people, but again, God has a different plan. First we saw our friends, Gabby and Arecali--their son was a senior when Andrew was a freshman and Bill had worked with both at Seneca--our first hugs. Then as we started making our way to the field, I saw our friends Mel and Lindell. They, too, have dealt with this pain. More hugs. God was just gently guiding us to our seats. We saw the huge signs with "We love you Andrew" on the field house walls. We saw the bleachers full of faces of those who love Andrew and who love us. It was a beautiful time of sharing. We lit candles. We let balloons go to the heavens. We sang songs. We listened as his best friend read the words his friends had written. We listened to pastors speak about the darkness that had descended onto our Valley. We listened to pastors speak about the hope that a relationship with Christ brings. We listened to men who had served as my son's coaches speak about their feelings about my son. "He was the ultimate teammate. His absence is a missing piece to the Bulldog nation. He had the heart of a lion. Bulldog Born, Bulldog Bred." Those words are so precious to all of us. We felt that way about him, so it was wonderful to know others felt the same. As the final prayer was being lifted to God, I felt strength surround me. God knew I had something to say, but he also knew I didn't have the strength to do it alone. He wrapped His arms around me and led me to the front of the bleachers. When the prayer ended I took the microphone. I looked to my left and saw my Waitsburg kids standing as a tight group on the track. I looked to my right and saw our Dayton kids sitting as close as they could in the same bleachers where they had watched Andrew play football. I had a message I wanted to give to those kids--no matter how small or unimportant you may feel, you are loved and you are special. However, I really have no idea what I said. I remember telling everyone that Andrew was a gift--he was. I remember telling them they were loved--they are. Other than that, I spoke God's words. That message was for those there that night and only for them. The event was taped, but my words were not. Again--God's plan. This was a moment in the time of our life never to be repeated. The message is God's not mine. That is why I think I have no idea what I said, but those who were there heard it. After, our friends and our community covered us with hugs. So many had been touched by my boy's life, yet I really don't think he realized his impact on others. If only he would have really understood how we felt about him. That makes me so sad. However, in our sadness, Bill and I have found joy--joy in being called to be Andrew's mom and dad.
Proud to be~