On June 18, 2007, I arrived in Charlotte from Fort Worth for a two week vacation. As I have come to say "two weeks became four weeks became eight years." Mom picked me up from the airport and took me directly to the hospital to see Dad, who had already been there several weeks. Before those two weeks were up, we found ourselves in Chapel Hill consulting a specialist on the best course of treatment for his now aggressive lymphoma.
On June 18, 2008, Dad received his first infusion of donated stem cells from a stranger on the Be the Match registry. I remember sleeping in, making waffles for breakfast in our temporary apartment in Durham, and burning my arm on the waffle maker before joining Mom and Dad at Duke's stem cell clinic. (My late arrival is why the picture I have is from day 2 of his stem cell infusion).
On June 18, 2013, I went indoor rock climbing with a group of youth from First Christian Church Charlotte as part of a re-imagined summer program that was the result of 4 years of slowly relearning what it looked like to do ministry after leaving divinity school to recover from burnout and help take care of Dad.
On June 18, 2014, I drove from Charlotte to Lexington for the last time as a Lexington Theological Seminary M.Div. student (I would graduate June 20).
On June 18, 2015, I was a month into my summer as a Chaplain Intern at the very hospital Dad was a patient at in 2007 and packing to move to Jefferson City, MO for my first call.
On June 18, 2017, I left Jefferson City, Missouri in a church bus with a group of middle school youth to spend a week at the Heifer Ranch in Arkansas.
On June 18, 2019, I was co-directing church camp for a group of rising 9th graders.
On June 18, 2020, I am remembering the long and winding path. I am filled with gratitude for another year with my dad. I am marveling at the way this calling has a way of winding around, From moments of despair to hope, from exhaustion to renewed energy. For all the people who helped me along, meeting me where I was in that moment so I could be prepared when the time came to take another step. Also, God can be relentless.
With thanks to Facebook memories, OneDrive "On This Day" photos, and Google Calendar for reminding me of all these things.