When Denny's cancer forced him to retire I selfishly thought of how it would affect me, but soon realized his health obviously was more important than his obligation to our church he so expertly brought together (I can say that I feel apart of a church family when I am there and he is definitely to thank for that). I remember clearly the dinner held in honor of him and the wonderful things he had done for our church. I can also remember holding back tears that night when people were sharing stories of the things he had done for them personally. He changed many lives. Now all I can ever do is compare these other pastors to him, and none can even come close. They are not bad, he was just great at what he did. His age gave him the wisdom and experience that the younger pastors could never compare to. His teachings, in my opinion, focused more on just embracing others and being a compassionate person rather than focusing on God and what religion is supposed to be. He always loved to say "take the negativity and throw it out the window". Our church learned how to welcome outsiders, which was no small feat when considering how stuck in their ways these people who had been going there for decades had become. When the church was lacking a crowd, he made everyone get up and move to the same side and to the front, though not all were willing to follow. He always made sure that the service lasted exactly an hour, and if it was getting close to time he would cut a song short and this and that just to get done so that everyone could get back in time for the pot roast to be cooked. His sermons were usually a string of tangents that somehow came together and made perfect sense. He always called himself crazy and such because of his ADD, but that just made him all the more interesting.
Denny was there for me in some of the most horrible of times. The day after Elyse died he was there, for my grandma's visitation he was there, for my grandpa's funeral he was not physically there but his words made his presence known. During substantial moments in my life, he made an impact. I wish in his time of struggle I could have in some way at least let him know his importance. He had confidence that he would defeat cancer again and was sure it was a blessing that was just reminding him to slow down a bit. I think this happening is a reminder for me to just slow down and enjoy life and appreciate the people in it and to not forget to tell them what they mean to me (or at least attempt to do things to show them how much I really do care about them). Alyssa and I had just been talking about all of these sorts of things just a few days ago and questioning things like the purpose of life and why people don't seem to care anymore and reminiscing about all the people we have lost in a seemingly short period of time. Death has become an occurance that seems to continue to arise and make its presence known. I've become familiar with it and I'm not sure that is anything I would have ever hoped to say at the age of 18.
: A phone call I'd rather not receive... Nobody plans to be half a world away at times like these, so I sat alone and waited out the night. The best part of what has happened was the part I must have missed. So I'm asking you to shine it on and stick around. I'm not writing my goodbyes. I submit no excuse. If this is what I have to do I owe you every day I wake. If I could I would shrink myself and sink through your skin to your blood cells and remove whatever makes you hurt but I am too weak to be your cure. Is this the way a toy feels when its batteries run dry? I am the watch you always wear but you forget to wind :