Archie and I planned everything together, down to our future meals we were going to develop, when work slowed. Even the dishes on which we were going to showcase our concoctions. Those were mentally on the schedule for purchase. There was an agenda for everything.
We had the quintessential five year financial plan. The physical plan of getting back to doing 5Ks, as the last two years he didn’t have time. There were the kayaks we purchased two years ago and the group we joined last July but never had the opportunity to kayak with, because of all the fires to put out…..next year he said.
There was the BBQ Rib Tips Tour in Kansas City we were supposed to go on this year, but they cancelled. “We’ll do it next year.” Since I flew home from CA on the day we were scheduled for a day at Disney, we just put that on our bucket list to do together. That one was an,”eventually,” but we’ll get to do it together, so technically it will be so much more fun!
The hiking trip in the Appalachians for our 25th wedding anniversary? We were just warming up to our future hiking adventures. The Big, OVERALL plan: eventually he’d have Saturdays off so there would be an adventure EVERY weekend….someday.
Someday never came.
They were all unwritten dreams….yet in my mind just chapters of a book in a library full of bound volumes, yet to be published. The protagonists: Archie and I. Story line: our journey, thus “onajourney4home”.
My mental library is now dark and solitary. The words on the pages are disappearing, line by line, paragraph by paragraph, seemingly moment by moment.
Proverbs 16:9 “In their hearts humans plan their course,
but the Lord establishes their steps.”
At Grief Share they asked the question,”What do you miss most about your loved one?” I didn’t answer. How do you describe, “everything”? How would I select a single volume out of an entire repository of life and dreams to offer as having the greatest value or worth?
This is why I blog. It is sad to see empty hardbacks intended to spur laughter, challenge souls, and change lives, ours in particular, by life experience. There were not enough “steps” left in Archie’s timeline to complete the human plans, a room of periodicals, but there were plenty for God’s Intended Purpose. Wow.
That One book. The title is staring me in the face. I pick it up slowly, unsure if I really want to know what’s inside.
God’s Intended Purpose is the “why” Archie was created. The beginning was the miracle that he was even conceived two months before his father died. The fact his mother did not miscarry with the intense grief she experienced with her new role as unemployed pregnant widow with three young children.
The journey he began as a New York boy, nephew of a state senator (we still have the newspaper clippings he saved…somewhere), to the Richmond Virginia inner city and the difficulties of a blended family. His struggle with school transfers, varying curriculum, transient friendships, and later teen alcoholism, leading to him quitting school.
The love of basketball that brought him back and gave him focus. The tiny Christian school that welcomed him with open arms, loved him, and gave him the family of Byers to watch and emulate our family. Later through that school we meet, as God had mercy on us both.
College friends who showed him God’s love and led him back to the Lord. The early struggles with walking his talk and talking his walk. The inner battle he struggled with self. I could go on and on. All of this was for a purpose. God did not cause the pain in Archie’s life….but He allowed it. Ouch.
Had he not experienced so much as a youth he could not have related to so many different individuals in various walks of life. Had he not lost so much he would not have valued so highly what he did have and was content, not wanting more.
If he wouldn’t have had to depend on God out of despair at an early age, he would not have learned dependency for daily living. He learned what love was from a heavenly Father who brought people into his life at the most difficult times and refused to be pushed away.
The way I saw Archie treat others was: always with respect, showing God’s love, making them individually feel valued, important, special, equal, and unable to fail–because they are perfect in God’s eyes, and in the eyes of Archie, one messed up person to the next.
This book was much shorter than the volumes originally contrived but it read of a life that touched the hearts of many and a legacy that will live on for years to come. It was a very good read.