Some opportunities in life are just too good to be true… and some, you can’t help but keep pinching yourself at how very lucky you are to be a small part of them.
I have never been a great gift-giver.
Like most men, when Valentines day or a birthday rolls around, I would scramble to find ‘just the right gift’ at 5 pm on my way home from work, or walking through Walmart or Target the night before. It’s embarrassing actually. For me, and for a lot of guys I think.
This past weekend, Indy and I went home to Indiana…without Joey.
It was the first time that we’d been back there, since my wife’s passing in early March. I was excited and nervous about the trip at the same time. Part of me wasn’t ready to go back. Not yet. But another part of me knew it was the right thing, and believed that it would be healing for us. And it was.
It was her last request.
The last thing on the the list Joey gave me, of what she wanted at her funeral service… when the time came. And we both knew that time was coming soon.
“I’d like for someone to sing the hymn Leave It There at my graveside”, Joey said. And then she stopped and added, “no… not someone”, and she looked at me and smiled, “I want Bradley Walker to sing it for me”.
I filmed our lives for two-and-a-half years. I don’t know why, I just did.
Like writing this blog, something told me that I needed to capture that time of our lives on film. To have it forever. To be able to remember it and share it with others. I had no idea how important it would be.
Especially to me.
I keep my guitar pics on my desk in a little bowl that our oldest daughter made and gave me one Sunday in May when she was probably five or six years old. It’s pink and handmade of pottery, and in big grey letters on the outside it says “Happy Mother’s Day Dad”.
It’s one of my most prized possessions.
We spent this past weekend in Kentucky at a camp called 'The Center for Courageous Kids'. Indiana's best friend Scout has been coming there with her little brother Ash and her Mom and Dad for the last couple of years... so this year Indy and I came along. I'd been hearing about the camp for awhile - not just from Scout's family - but also from people at Indiana's school and many others. It's primarily a camp for children with special needs and their families, but once we arrived, it was easy to see that this place was that and much more.
One morning a week I meet a few of my buddies on our neighbor Gabe's porch for coffee.
Gabe is Indy's best-friend Scout's daddy. He's also a close friend and has worked with Joey and I for years on all of our music videos, tv specials and film projects. He was also the "old-school" host of our weekly television show.
Easter is Joey's favorite holiday. It always has been. Not because of Easter baskets or bunnies or candy or eggs, but because today celebrates the day that Christ has risen from the dead. Joey loved sunrise services, and the Lords' supper and the newness of life that Easter brought to the world. She would get so excited about the day coming and would talk about it for weeks, months sometimes. I'm embarrassed to say that my favorite holiday is still Christmas. Partly because of Jesus' birth, but also for a million sentimental reasons and trees and carols and the 'feeling' that's in the air that time of year. I still have a lot of growing in my faith to do I guess.
Joey had every intention of home-schooling Indy as she grew up. For many reasons. But life has changed that plan. I have written before about our desire to live our lives with "high hopes and low expectations"... but during the month of January, when Joey and I decided we needed to start researching what and where the next-best option for school for Indy might be...we had no idea that God would lead us to a place called, of all things... 'High Hopes'.
There is a right time to say goodbye. Today isn’t that day.
Joey’s best friend Julie has been here for a week and was supposed to leave this evening and fly back home to Oregon where she and her husband Joe live. But this morning as I sat beside my wife, and Julie started packing her things… Joey’s tears began to fall.