This Thursday, I had the honor and privilege to attend a memorial service for one of the charter members of Bethel Church. There are very few of these charter members left. It’s hard to imagine what it must have been like to start Bethel Church in 1940. Back then it was a church plant from Centralia to Chehalis. Eventually the congregation out grew their downtown Chehalis location so the church moved down the freeway to a large piece of property that would accommodate expansion and a growing church. Our church has a great history. As hard as it is to say good-bye to one of our founding members, I am so grateful for the legacy that he has left in Lewis County. I am friends with his daughters and many of his grandchildren. Shorty Ames was a man of few words, but my life has been touched by his faithfulness to love his family well.
Memorial services always get me thinking. They are a time to examine my own life. I am so inspired by the stories I heard on Thursday and the love that was shared. I was once again reminded at how important these days are. One after another. We never know how many we have. Shorty had almost 95 years of them. I was thinking about not only the changes he saw in our church family, but in Lewis County as a whole. I wonder if he ever drove through downtown Chehalis and had flashbacks to 1940. I’ve been a Lewis County resident since 1998. I will have lived here 16 years come August. Of course, I never know how long I will be here, but what if I’m here another 50 years? What if… I’m sure the landscape will change drastically and I’ll have flashbacks to 1998. Remember when there was no Starbucks? No Dutch Brothers? Remember when the Walmart wasn’t a Supercenter or remember when Walmart was the ONLY place to shop and you always ran into 4o people you knew while there? Good times.
Yesterday was my favorite day of the week – FRIDAY! It’s the one day that Jeremy isn’t down at the church. One family day to just be us and do what we want. Fridays are the best. I love spending time with my husband and son and little dog. There was a mixture of productivity and resting. Jeremy and I each got stuff on our to-do list done, but we also spent time together. It’s days like yesterday that remind me that family is the best thing I can invest myself in. There are lots of worthwhile causes to give myself to, but I think family is the best. Time with my family is unparalleled. There is no match. Jeremy decided that we should go out to dinner rather spur of the moment and then this decision led to a mini-adventure! We had a good time and just enjoyed the time together. It was one of those days where I would just like to slow time and stay in those moments a little while longer.
My time is precious and how I invest it is important. Shorty’s memorial service was just another reminder of how family is worth the time and investment. I admire the longevity he had to one location and to one church. It seems like people are all over the place these days. They move here and there and everywhere. If they don’t like a church then they go find a new one. Church hopping happens often. Bethel Church was the church we settled on when we moved here in 1998 and it’s the church I still serve at today. I hope that I can have the same longevity Shorty shared. I want to stay through it all. Through the ups and downs. I want to be faithful (a word that was used multiple times to describe Shorty’s life). I want my family to know that they are loved in word and action. I want to be a wife and a mother that is engaged and present. I want to make a difference and leave this world a better place. I know people seem saint like after they die… It’s the nice part of memorial services. I know that my chances of being saint like are slim. I am human after all. But I want to try. I want to give myself away every day. I want to leave that kind of legacy.