So how did “Pink Sunday” go? (Click here for back-story).
Well, it didn’t start off all that well. As we walked into church, a little, old well-meaning lady pressed a Komen brochure & pink bracelet into my hand. Without thinking, I jerked my hand back like she had offered me a poisonous snake. She looked startled & said “You don’t want it?” and I shook my head vehemently & said “I’m already aware, thanks.” And then I scurried away with my head down.
Nothing like kicking things off by insulting a little old lady, right?
Actually, let me back up. Bobby was strangely quiet on Saturday night, & I knew that the next morning was weighing on him. He didn’t come to bed until 3am, when he woke me up to ask me if I would be ok with him wearing his pink bowtie… the bowtie that he bought for my mother’s funeral. At my request, he didn’t tell me anything about what he was planning to say. Sunday morning, he was wide awake at 7am, staring at the ceiling, fixating. He was stressing like I’ve rarely seen him — muttering to himself, & worrying that he wasn’t going to meet expectations. I kept telling him to go with his gut… that if he felt good about what he had written, then he needed to stick by it. His nerves continued throughout the morning… we went to our “Heretics” group, & he was barely able to sit still.
When we finally made it into “big church” & settled into our usual pew, Bobby’s hands were actually trembling. This is a guy who does public speaking on a regular basis… & he was an absolute wreck. The entire congregation was awash in pink. I felt a little nauseas… not sure if it was the pink, the feeling that a “grand gesture” was being made in honor of “awareness”, or knowing that Bobby was getting ready to bare his (our) soul to hundreds of people.
The preacher-man introduced him, & up he went to the front. As he began speaking, I could feel a sob trapped in the back of my throat.. & when he quoted my blog, I felt naked. And a bit of proud defiance. It was the most public platform that my words had ever had, & because I didn’t know it was coming, I wasn’t mentally prepared. I didn’t look around to gauge audience reactions — I was concentrating too hard on maintaining my composure.
Afterward, there was a line of people waiting to speak to Bobby, telling him that they appreciated his testimony. And to my surprise, they thanked me too. Some had tears in their eyes. Several more people came & found me at work today, telling me that they enjoyed it. Many of them, including the head pastor, used the word “powerful.” Bobby & I both felt a little displaced — it was so far out of both of our comfort zones. Very exposed & vulnerable.
And proud of my husband. Very proud.
Breast Cancer, Debt, Legacy, Our Church Home
It is no coincidence that Dr. McKinney asked me to speak today. It is no coincidence that I am standing before you today. It is no coincidence that I am here delivering my testimony centered around hope, legacy and the vision I see for our church home for years to come. This is not only a little testimony but a self reflection…my little internal prayer.
To speak frankly, you have no idea how hard it is for me to stand before you today…on this day.
I stand before you — this congregation full of pink. You see, pink means more to Sarah and I than just and interpretation of Breast Cancer Awareness. It brings back many memories of a long road just to get here and be able to stand before you today. This pink bow-tie symbolizes the last time I spoke in front of a church, telling the beautiful stories of a lovely lady that is no longer with us.
I want to read to you something from my wife Sarah’s journal…something that will bring context to my testimony. Not many people know our journey.
As written by Sarah:
“You see, in September 2006, Bobby & I “just happened” to move back home only 3 months before Mama was rediagnosed. We thought we were moving back to be closer to family & to become debt-free…. little did we know what would happen 3 months later. We continued paying off our debt while fighting Mama’s breast cancer — our finances were the only thing gave me a sense of control in a world that was spinning wildly off its axis. Then, in September 2007, exactly one year after we moved back home, Mama died. Because of her death, we found this church. I don’t even pretend to myself that I would be a member of this or any Baptist church if Mama was still alive. I’m a different person than I would have been without breast cancer. And now, on “Pink Sunday,” which is supposed to be in honor/memory of loved ones with breast cancer, Bobby has been asked to speak about what the church means to him/us.”
Sarah’s words spoke clearly to me as I was thinking about today.
Now you see how hard it is for me to stand here, giving my testimony…
But here is my little testimony…given our past…my vision for this church.
Because my family’s mission is to become completely debt-free, Sarah and I want to be around like-minded people. I see a congregation of people that can take this church beyond the current campaign, meet the goal, and get back to the mere reason it was established over 50 years ago…to put half of the church’s dollars into missions.
I want to build a legacy. As an entrepreneur and a college educator, I ask myself each day: What have I done today, THIS DAY, to leave a lasting legacy on tomorrow’s future. It is our obligation to empower our tomorrow. What are we doing TODAY to lay the building blocks for a brighter corner of Boulevard and the world?
I am trying to build a brighter tomorrow. I am trying to no longer look at the color pink and cry inside. I miss my mother-in-law…she was truly my second mother. She believed in a brighter tomorrow. She believed in legacy. She believed in me. She prayed for our future children. I want one day to bring my children through the doors of this church. I want my children to grow up in this church. I want them to come home HERE and bring their children here. I want this church to see my legacy…my mother-in-law’s legacy. I want this church’s story to be told for years to come!
That is why Sarah and I are committed to the long lasting legacy that this capital campaign supports. To wipe out the debt, to support local, regional, and national missions. We want this church to be here for our future.
For me…today is a day about Breast Cancer, Debt, Legacy, and Our Church Home.
Today is a day of healing for me!
Today is getting closer to becoming debt free.
Today is about building a brighter future for our tomorrow.
And today is the reason I am doing this here, right here in our church home.