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2.06.2014

Go Rest High Upon That Mountain

My heart is so heavy for a dear friend of mine and her sweet family. This past year, well actually the past handful of years due to the passing of other loved ones, has been very difficult for Heather and her family. I've been awed time after time by her strength, her giving spirit, her ability to smile and encourage others while her heart is breaking and most importantly, her depth of love for her family and for Jesus.

Her sweet daddy, Gordon, was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) early last year and his health spiraled downhill rapidly. The angels carried him home last Thursday morning.

While there is comfort in knowing he is no longer in pain or frustrated at not being able to do everyday things because his body was betraying him, and while there is rejoicing that he is with Jesus, there is still much sadness and heartache.
The Flamingos, along with their respective spouses and a few offspring, gathered in Smithville over the weekend to be with Heather and go to the visitation and funeral service.

It was a beautiful service.

If you didn't know who Gordon Doty was or what he stood for (faith in Jesus, loving his family and hard work) you quickly figured it out.

From the overflowing pews to the lines of people standing along the walls to the photo slideshow packed with love and precious memories of a life well lived and well loved by family and dear friends. From the heartfelt tribute written by Macy (his 11 year old granddaughter) to the powerful and touching speech given by Reid (his 17 year old grandson). From the rows filled with Smithville's Volunteer Firefighters all in uniform to his son Mitch's basketball team from Bellville, all decked out together in their red track suits, to show their support and respect to their coach's father, whom they hadn't met, but because they respected the son he raised so much maybe they did know Gordon after all. 

And then there were the songs.

The beautiful songs.

This one brought chills.

And tears.
Gordon loved to sing, especially worship and praise songs. I remember my first visit to Smithville in 2009 and seeing Gordon's pure joy in leading singing for the residents at their nursing home and then during church services. He used his gifts to glorify God and others so well. Even in his later days he was still praising Jesus and when other words might fail him he was still able to sing many of his beloved hymns.

I want to be like that.

I'm so thankful for the example of love and faith I've witnessed through Heather and her family at all times, whether from the top of the mountain or looking up from the dark valleys.

I want to be like that.

The sight of all. of, those. cars being led through town by the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department trucks with their lights flashing, was beautiful. And sobering. They blocked off streets and stood at attention as the procession drove slowly by, pausing near the fire station to ring the alarm sirens for Gordon, lowering the flag to half mast and giving Gordon's wife, Lynn, a thoughtful plaque.

Gordon Doty, even with his life cut short, touched a lot of lives.

I want to be like that.

While I hate the circumstances, I am thankful The Flamingos got to spend time together, especially those from up north (but we missed you Lyndsey!).
Okay, these kids are huge. Stop it!
"How great is the love that the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God."
1 John 3:1
We love you Heather!!

And on a much, much lighter note...
This is how my girl does road trips.

Can you say too much???

4 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for that sweet tribute to my dad. You and Kim have some major writing skilllzzz!! :) Now, I have to find my hankie and print this. Words will never be enough to tell you how much it meant for me to have you girls there. Just knowing you were there gave me such comfort and your hugs were the icing on the cake. I know you loved my Dad, too and that makes it that much sweeter. Love you!

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  2. Oh, and I missed eating with y'all at Pockets. We must photoshop me in. hahaha!

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  3. It was such a blessing for all of us to have y'all there. Thank you for loving my precious niece! She's really my daughter. haha

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