Has it really only been 12 days since I heard the news? when I was awakened to the horrific word that you were no longer with us? Was I dreaming? was it real??
And yet now as I get ready to go to bed again, so tired, so emotionally drained, our new reality has hit.
I don't like it at all. In fact, I hate it.
Yeah, I know. We were taught not to use the word "hate".
but I think hate is something that one detests, something that causes you pain and you want to avoid at all costs, the thought of something or someone that makes you cringe.
So you leaving our earth is painful, and I hate it.
It pains me to watch your dad cry. He loves you so much and hates that he won't get to see you here anymore.
It makes me so incredibly sad to watch your mom, my best friend, be stoic and yet I know how her heart is breaking and empty.
And Tommy and Kelly? Those older siblings of yours, they are at a loss. Just as I am.
And then to watch the other kids.
do you know that Kristi cried throughout your celebration of life?? Kristi cried. We know how big that is, and she couldn't stop. And Todd, well, he has cried alot for you, for that little brother that he won't see on this side of time.
And then there's Katie. she was invaluable to your family. And God held her together...for awhile, and then she broke down when she saw the shell that was once you. She wrote the MOST beautiful words describing you that I have read. http://nkbruce.blogspot.com/
And there have been so many who wrote about you, telling stories of how you made everyone feel special, everyone feel valued, everyone feel loved.
I'm sure there are alot of us who wonder, "how did he do that?" .
How could Robby love so many of us well?
Scud and I talked about that. It was because you loved like Jesus, and that was so , or is so, difficult for us to do. We avoid the down and outers, the marginalized. You were like Your Savior, and sought them out and made them feel valued.
As we looked and thought of verses for your celebration of life service, we couldn't agree on one.
All of a sudden I told Katie to look at Romans 12.
You know - that book we studied ALL SUMMER LONG when you were a Nintern.
R12- we even got a bit tired of it, and yet there it was..the perfect verses.
I so remember you and I talking in the kitchen at Woodleaf about how you wanted to be how we were called to be in that amazing chapter.
Katie picked verses 9-18 from the New Living Translation....oh how they described you to a tee.
9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection,[e] and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.[f]12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!
17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
Oh you did what you wanted to Robby. You loved us so well. You honored us. And I watched how hard you worked, you weren't lazy (except for when it was hard to wake up!). You were happy with others, you were sad with others. You loved all people, especially those of us who are just ordinary. We all know you were honorable and you tried to not have conflicts with anyone.
I remember when you called me before our birthdays to say you were praying for me when I was about to have my second surgery for cancer, and you cried and said you couldn't lose me. As i type those words now, the tears are streaming down my face, because I have lost you now. But its just for a time. But its not fair that for you it will be a blink of the eye and for the rest of us, it could be what seems like forever.
But the forever is where we will meet again.
I call your cell just to hear your voice, and heard your message on your parents answering machine several times last week, and each time I heard your voice, I smiled.
And the reception or party we had for you after the service, you would have loved it. All sorts of different groups of friends who were celebrating your life and sad for your early departure from our lives. I kept expecting for you to show up...Paine time of course-late-but the life of the party.
Yeah I know you weren't perfect...boy did i know that. But it didn't matter to me at all. I loved you from the moment I laid eyes on you on September 16,1988.
I watched you struggle and be conflicted and prayed for you nonstop. I knew you would be OK and I wasn't worried.
You are OK now. You are better than ok, you are in heaven with Jesus. And I know how you loved Him, how you served Him.
Yet, like all of us, your life wasn't perfect, you weren't without sin. But heck, I certainly am not-and you knew that about me.
but Robbo, you loved so well.
You were little when the commercials came on when little kids saw Michael Jordan play hoops and everyone said "I want to be like Mike". I surely enjoyed watching him, but I never said that. For one, I am a white woman who isn't very tall and I can't play basketball, so I think I was a realist.
But I now can say, "I want to be like Robby".
I want to love and be present with people like you did.
And I will try Robbo, I will try. But dammit, why aren't you here so I can watch you more and learn from you.
The first few days you were gone, so many people wrote things like, " I miss you". I don't think I could comprehend in my small mind that you were really gone, so I didn't understand that.
Oh, but now I do.
I miss you Robby Paine...I miss you so so so much.
I am thankful I will see you again, and spend eternity with you.
And I pray that so many of your friends will be with us too.
I love you...like I always said to you...always have, always will.