“Take your mind off the problems for a moment, and focus on the positive possibilities.
Consider how very much you are able to do.” ~ Ralph Marston
One of the things I love about Lexington is that I often run into people I know. This morning I drove to work behind Terry Keys. The only problem was he never saw me. I waved, and waved, and waved to get his attention. I even took this picture, but he didn’t once looked in his rearview mirror. I guess next time I’ll have to honk the horn and flash the lights. No matter. I smiled when I saw his little car. Just knowing Terry is out in the world spreading joy and harmony as only he can is enough to make my day. (note to self: wash the windshield)
“Don’t ever lose the fire in your soul, the paradise in your heart, and the wonder of your mind.”
~ Mark Anthony
Any day with this man is a winning day for me. What could possible make it better? Dinner with him at Windy Corner on a gorgeous Kentucky evening, that’s what. I love Terry Keys. He’s a great man through and through, and I always come away feeling like a better human being after I’ve been with him. Color me lucky.
“The Universe has been sliding me love notes in the form of people.” ~ Unknown
You know how I’ve said time and again that when a quote and a photo coincide in a simpatico way it’s purely coincidental? Today is yet another perfect example. Terry Keys and Allen Smith had a standing dinner date every Sunday. I didn’t know this until Allen died. When I saw Terry at the memorial service yesterday I told him that if he ever needed a Sunday dinner date I’d be happy to stand in. I got a text about 7pm tonight saying his dance card had an opening. Of course, I was at the grocery when I got the text, so I made haste because I wasn’t about to miss a chance to talk with Terry. For two hours we sat at the dinner table laughing, nearly crying a few times, and catching up the way old friends are supposed to. I was then told the routine for future Sunday dinners. I’ll be prepared from now on. And it will be my honor.
“Make two lists.
1. Things that make you happy.
2. Things you do everyday.
Tonight we celebrated our friend Allen Smith. As I said before, Allen’s lung cancer took him frighteningly fast. If you gotta go in such a horrendous way, better to go “mercifully quick” as Terry Keys put it. Rev. Mark Davis offered stirring words at the service. One thing that stuck out to me was this: “Allen was a great man full of love, that didn’t always receive love in return in this world.” Still, as I write, tears well up in my eyes at the thought that someone, anyone, could not love that blessed man. There is no one in this world who should ever feel shunned or unloved for any reason. Whether they’re a different color, a different gender, a different sexual orientation, a different height, weight, or eye color; we are all made in God’s image, and it is our duty as Christians – as decent human beings – to love without reservation. Period. Jesus was the embodiment of this ideal. I’m in no way perfect, but I try with all my heart to love and accept every person I meet just as they are. We don’t have to agree on anything, but agreement doesn’t constitute love. “Kindness, mercy, hope, and love,” Rev. Davis continued, are four gifts we seek and should give in return. (I’m paraphrasing, of course. He was much more articulate.)
Still, in the depths of sorrow, there was a convergence of souls who loved Allen as deeply as anyone has ever been loved. His devoted choir-mates sang in their best voices for him. His church family honored him in song, in prayer, and in the joy of just being together.
Allen liked people being together and being happy. His best friend Terry Keys (above) made sure Allen’s service was exactly the way he wanted it. That’s a huge responsibility, but there’s no one else more suited to the job than Terry. He’s a strong man, and a strong friend, able to carry his brother when he needed to. For many years Sara Holroid (above) sang with Allen and Terry in the choir. Like everyone else, she loved Allen deeply. Sara doesn’t sing in the choir anymore (I don’t know why, she’s only 92 for goodness sake), so it was a real treat to see her again: that quintessential smile a reminder to be joyful in all moments because you never know which will be your last. I hate so much that Allen has walked on, but I’m thankful for him, and for Terry, and Sara, and all my church family. I am a better person because of them, and grateful for the kindness, mercy, hope, and love they’ve shared with me.
Godspeed, Allen, and thank you for being my friend.
“There are so many beautiful reasons to be happy.” ~ Unknown
I got my sorry butt up and went to service at First Presbyterian. I admit that I probably wouldn’t have gone were it not for a meeting with Marlon Hurst. But God and the universe work in mysterious ways. So, of course it was one of the most inspired mornings I’ve had. Terry Keys met me at the door and asked to be my pew mate. That alone was worth going for because I adore Terry beyond words. It got even better though. Mark Davis delivered a significant sermon on stewardship. I never think of stewardship without thinking of my parents. They’ve set the bar extremely high. Mark’s sermon also touched on letting go (of anxiety in particular) and letting God handle the heavy lifting; a point for which I needed reminding. A young man sang like an angel during service. His name is Zachary Morris (below with Terry and Marlon). His voice is completely mesmerizing, and he’s equally charming. Then there was Marlon who is always an inspiration to be with. I walked out of there with a bunch of hugs, even one from my dear friend Bill Marshall, and a pep in my step. I’m not staying away so long again. I’ve missed the people, the church, the message, the inspiration. They make me smile.
“Don’t let the noise of the world keep you from hearing the voice of God.” ~ Unknown
This has been the most trying work week I’ve ever experienced, and that’s really saying something because I’ve had some rotten weeks before. Thankfully, it ended on a positive note. I attended my first Kentucky Bach Choir performance at Good Shepherd Episcopal church. It was also the first time I’d been to the church. It is a stunning cathedral. The choir was fantastic. They sang some very funny P.D.Q. Bach material with a bluegrass band. It was a hoot. That was all great, but being with three of my favorite people in the world – Stacy Yelton, Bill Marshall, and Terry Keys – was the greatest of all. There’s nothing more positive than those three people and music.
“Let us forget the sorrows of the past and make up our minds not to dwell on them in the New Year. With determination and unflinching will, let us renew our lives,
our good habits, and our successes. If the last year has been hopelessly bad,the New Year must be hopefully good.” ~ Paramahansa Yogananda
We usher in 2014 with as much hope and happiness as we can muster on a cold Kentucky night. Earlier in the day I laid out my jar of notes of thanks and took stock of the year’s joys. I noticed a few themes: the doctors that took such good care of me, finding a new job I actually like, and the support of my friends and family through it all. That made seeing many of them at Stacy Yelton’s NYE party all the sweeter. I got to meet Ruth Bryan’s dad, Bill; hug John Lumagui whom I rarely get to see anymore; rarer still was Marlon Hurst who somehow escaped my lens; celebrate Greg Davis and Vanessa who are so cute and happy together you can’t help but smile; soak up my Happiness gals Sandy Davis, Jeanne Marie Hibbard, and Annie Bassoni; admire Josh James’ intelligence; and laugh hysterically with the funniest man on the planet, Terry Keys. What more could I possibly ask for in this life but to ring in the new year in the company of such good, smart, funny people?
“Sometimes walking away has nothing to do with weakness, and everything to do with strength.” ~ Unknown (although Jimmy D really, really wants credit)
There’s just nothing that a smile and a laugh from this man can’t cure. A rousing duel of wit with the waitress brought many a hearty giggle from my side of the table. There are great people in this world and Terry Keys is one of them. God bless his open soul and kind heart. And he has a passport now so, life is complete. My hero!