"My favorite part of the weekend was the first moment I saw each person; the moment it hit me that they were there ... and there because they cared about me."
Never before in my life have I seen a group of friends like Patrick Shaw's.
On the long weekend of May 30th - June 2nd, my husband and I had the pleasure of attending a "celebration weekend" for Patrick & Emily hosted by their dear friends, Jack and Jacqueline St. Clair.
This event was more incredible that I can express in words. A large group of Patrick's friends from high school dropped what they were doing ... put their lives (spouses, kids, jobs) on hold ... many traveled from across the country ... just to be together in the spirit of love.
For that weekend, everyone shared a unity of purpose ... lifting Patrick up in prayer and likewise in spirit.
Their example of authentic friendship reminds me of Ecclesiastes 4:10-12 ...
"If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."
I watched as old friends settled into comfortable conversation.
And, although Patrick's journey with cancer was the catalyst of the weekend ... he said himself:
"The weekend was like stepping out of the routine of my 'life with cancer.' I got to leave that behind in Waynesboro just to be surrounded by goodness."
Goodness was everywhere!
Good Fellowship (and a special time of prayer)
And Great Adventures!
On Saturday night, Jack arranged for special transportation to take everyone into Washington DC to visit the monuments. Patrick says "I'm geeky, so Jack knew that's what I'd like to do!"
We arrived in style ...
And took it all in.
... And we finished the night with a special meal ...
Reflecting back on the weekend when we spoke tonight, Patrick didn't think he was expressing himself well. I beg to differ. I cannot summarize him better that to directly quote:
"For the most part, I don't like to be showy. I'm a guy. Sometimes, though, when I'm expressing gratitude so great ... I almost wish the tears would come, because there's enough emotion behind them. At the beginning of the weekend, I had a "moment" of brokenness that a few people saw. I almost wish everyone could have seen it, because that's how I felt. I am so humbled. It meant a lot."
* special thanks to Mr. Holmes for the photographs *