What a whirlwind week. First hearing that our dear friend Darla was at Hospice House & down to mere hours on Monday evening. Getting up Tuesday morning & reading Mark's post that she had gone to glory about 12:30am...early that morning. I really felt like we needed to go to the funeral...for Mark's sake. But didn't know if Clay could swing the days off from work. Plus there was the fact that Thursday was Jon's 18th birthday AND we had to get him to Lynchburg for CFAW. Just didn't know how it would all play out. But God's plans are amazing! I sat on the front porch Thursday morning reading my Bible & prayed....telling God how badly I wanted to go & if it was His will, He'd have to work it all out. Don't you know that within 30 mins. Clay called me from work (at 8am) saying he was getting off at noon & we would go to the Family night that evening from 6-8pm. And God, in His infinite wisdom had Chris off from work that day & he was more than happy to take Jon to get him checked in for CFAW. God really does work all things together for good! Noon, Clay is home, getting a shower & I'm getting dressed when he tells me I just MIGHT want to throw in a change of clothes...because we MIGHT decide to stay over for the funeral too. Told you it was a WHIRLWIND!! From 8am when he first called me to 2:30pm & we were out the door & 'On the Road Again'. It was an absolute GORGEOUS drive down there. God was smiling down for sure! We made it to the church right at 6pm. There were TONS of people there already. A testimony to the fact that Darla touched the lives of so many people. Now mind you, I had been crying for days reading Mark's updates, the morning he posted that heaven had a brand new angel in the choir, watching the video tribute they had put together for her...but Clay had been cool.....holding it together...until he saw Mark...after all these years...they both just hugged each other & lost it. It was that kind of friendship....where no matter the time/years that go by....you can pick right up like you never missed a beat. After leaving there that evening, we drove back to Asheboro & rode around a bit reminiscing....then got something to eat & headed to our hotel. Friday morning we checked out at 11am & didn't have to be at the funeral til 3pm so we did some more sight-seeing/reminiscing. We drove out to the duplex where we lived right before we moved up here, the apartments where we lived when we first moved to Asheboro. Drove by Arrow International where Clay used to work, our old church...Eastside Baptist Church & went to the mall where we both had worked. I had NO idea just how emotional the whole trip would be. Not bad emotions.....but like a trip back in time. Her funeral was amazing....best funeral I have ever been to. They even brought the big projection screen down at the end & she talked & then sang 'God's Been So Good' as they escorted the casket & family from the church. Wow!! And if that wasn't emotional enough, at the graveside, Mark started singing 'Amazing Grace' & one by one others joined him. There are just NO words..........After that, we all went back to the fellowship hall for some true SOUTHERN Baptist fellowship. I tell ya.....the food was unbelievable. And I'm always amazed & touched at events like this with all the folks in the background that really make something like this so special. All those folks back in the kitchen that kept the food coming, drinks refilled, etc. And then at the end, cleaning evrything up. That's a true servant's heart! We stayed to the very end visitning with Mark, Jon & his wife & Miss Carol. Got home around 10:30pm Friday night. Tired, but oh so grateful we went. Being there for Mark & that 'Trip back in time' for Clay & I.....it was so good & so NOT something that we would've sat down & just planned on our own.....oh, let's go to Ashboro & spend the night & go riding around reminiscing but God planned it & it was amazing & I wouldn't trade those two days for anything in the world!
|Mark & Clay|
|Jon (Mark's brother), Mark & Clay|
|Still the Goof Ball! Mark with his youngest son, Ben.|
|'To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord'|
Our prayers are with Mark & his boys as they begin this new stage in their lives.