Friday, October 21, 2005

Today is Kirt’s 57th birthday. My good friend, Nancy, who shares the same birthdate, sent me a note expressing gratitude for God’s faithfulness, and offering the reminder that Kirt is celebrating his first earthly birthday in heaven, an awe-inspiring thought.

I made plans (not that it was necessary to plan) to fill the day to capacity with activity in order to avoid the temptation to dwell on the melancholy.

First, I invited the team of church leaders in charge of organizing the tamale feed following this year’s upcoming Christmas celebration to come to the house for a “tamale breakfast.” We all tried samples of chicken, pork, green corn, chili strips with cheese, strawberry, pineapple and coconut tamales from several different tamale makers, and I made a pineapple-carrot coffee cake for dessert. The decision was a “toss-up,” and we all agreed that we should have another tamale breakfast in a couple of weeks to make the final decision. Everyone is complaining that I've lost too much weight... I can't imagine how that has happened!

Then I invited pastors Martin and Nacho and their wives and kids to go with me after school to Burger King for lunch to celebrate Kirt’s birthday with “Happy Meals.” Kirt adored those kids and their parents, and they adored him; and I couldn’t think of a better way to remember his special day.

After lunch, Erén went with me to the cemetery, not to visit Kirt since we know he’s not there, but to repaint the engraved lettering on the marble headstone. The rainy season left the words nearly illegible, and the whole point of the lettering is the testimony of the verses inscribed. Most all of Mexico celebrates the Day of the Dead on November 2, and it is important to me that those who hold to that tradition are able to read the acknowledgment of God’s faithfulness: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. II Timothy 4:7, 8
We got halfway finished, and it started raining! What’s up with this rainy season? It’s supposedly over the end of September. We had no choice but to leave with plans to meet again early tomorrow morning to finish the job.

After I got back home, I met with Carla, Melina and Marisol to work out a piano-violin arrangement for Sunday’s offertory. We put together a medley of “Sing Alleluia” along with “Great and Marvelous Are Your Works.” It turned out beautifully. Kirt would be so proud of the girls. He insisted they take piano and violin lessons in order to have instrumentalists in the church, and after one year of practicing when they played their first special in the church Christmas Celebration, he gave Melina and Marisol the violins he “loaned” them. Now they accompany the congregational singing every Sunday.