Sunday, June 24, 2012

Thanks. Just Thanks.

Tonight, we celebrated a great man, a great life, a great ministry, a great sacrifice, a great service, a great blessing.  David Tschumper hit the twenty year milestone of youth ministry at St. Thomas More.  Twenty years in any career is a lot.  Twenty years at any employer is a lot.  Twenty years in youth ministry at the same church is nearly unheard of.  To say that I am in awe is an understatement.  I was in high school for years 7-10, and certainly stuck around enough afterward to feel a part of some of the later years as well.  It's really humbling to look at how he answered his call.  Youth ministry is a ministry of planting seeds, by David's definition.  And you don't always get to see the fruits of those seeds.  I was there for the days when he felt like hanging up his hat.  I was there for the days when it all felt worth it.  And I was there for a lot of memories on the days in between. 

By loose definition, I am in a profession that saves lives.  At times, I have made interventions that have prevented certain and life-threatening harm to a child.  Most of my minutes and hours spent in pharmacy aren't that dramatic, but I am proud of what I do.  I looked around that gym tonight, at all the lives that David has saved, and I was put very soundly in my place.  In my biased opinion, he has saved more lives than firefighters, more than paramedics, more than cardiac surgeons, more than Navy SEALs.  And the lives he saves are eternal lives.  He saves souls.  Well, God saves souls through David.  But you get the picture.  He has taken misguided youth, lost youth, struggling youth, and given them a second home, given them a purpose, given them love and hope, given them conviction and truth.  And those youth have grown up to become priests, religious, youth ministers, missionaries, husbands and fathers, mothers and wives, teachers, mentors, leaders.  They have become people of integrity and faith.  They have become beacons of light in a world that is threatening darkness.  And they have in turn saved other lives, other souls. 

Tonight brought back an awful lot of memories.  Joyful moments filled with the unconditional love of STM; tearful moments of WYD, JTL, SLW and all the other abbreviation-laden ministries; enlightening moments when a tiny piece of God was revealed to me.  Each memory carried with it a sense of home, of peace, of belonging, and most especially gratitude.  My heart is full.  And the words I want to say are best summed up by a song that expresses that gratitude.  For the incredible blessing of an incredible man.  David Tschumper--thanks, just thanks.

Thanks- for keepin' track of me
Thanks- for givin' a dang about me
Thanks- for sayin' that you love me
Thanks- just thanks

Thanks- for lettin' me know you care

Thanks- for always bein' there
Thanks- for makin' me do my share
Thanks- just thanks

Can't thank you enough
I'm high from you liftin' me up

Thanks- for sayin' what you said
Thanks- for clearin' out my head
Thanks- for givin' me hope instead
Thanks- just thanks

Thanks- you left me who I was
Thanks- you showed me what a smile does
Thanks- you loved me just because
Thanks- just thanks

Thanks- for cryin' when I bleed

Thanks- for wavin' when I leave
Thanks- for bein' what I believe
Thanks- just thanks

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Counting My Blessings

Enough time has passed that my heart is no longer in my throat when I talk about it.  Well, not in my throat and pounding and making me nauseous.  For all the grief that my dog causes me, I do love him.  And I'm pretty sure I wouldn't do very well if he pulled stupid stunts like this on a regular basis.

To add pictures to the colorful commentary that I've been giving everyone over the last couple days:

Setting the stage--Kolbe had done brilliantly on his first 14er two weeks ago, navigating the boulder fields of Mt. Bierstadt like a pro.  I had no qualms about taking him on another one, my second summit of Gray's Peak (3rd attempt, but who's counting).  I even remembered to bring the good leash this time. 

All smiles as we started out.
We hit 13,000 feet without a hitch.  Then we stumbled upon a couple mountain goats.  Not my first sighting, but definitely Kolbe's first. 

I started with a firm grip on the leash as he lunged for the mystery beast.

After the first goat went behind the ridge, I focused my attention uphill and onward.  Another goat lay another couple hundred yards in the distance.  Little did I know the first one came back to make another appearance.  Kolbe ripped the leash out of my hand and started sprinting for the goat up the hillside to the right.  Unfortunately, he hasn't lived his whole life navigating the loose rock.  He quickly lost purchase and started tumbling down to the left, gravity winning over instinct and balance.  Just before hitting the tiny landing before the cliff dropped off several hundred feet below, survival kicked in and Kolbe skidded to a stop. 

If you can't read the arrow labels, bottom left is where Kolbe ended his slide. Top right is the goat he was trying to chase.
He sat at the bottom, glancing alternately between the goat (as if he could still get to it) and us (who were frantically screaming his name).  He wisely gave up on the goat and started back up the rock, sliding down a foot for every two he climbed.  Eventually, his leash caught between two rocks and I had to slide down halfway to free him. 

All things considered, ripping off a couple pads and a toenail, while causing a fair amount of bleeding, left him relatively unscathed.  He was actually able to finish the hike, albeit with a lot of coaxing. 
A successful summit.
 He was walking fine, just worn out.  Trust me, I don't consider it dog abuse, because he obviously felt well enough on the way down to resort to humping dogs he just met.  Yes, he's neutered.  The back of my dad's car looked a little bit like the storage site of a dead body, but once I got everything bandaged, he looked like a champ. 
Someone asked when our next 14er would be.  With him, probably never.  No wonder I call him Spaz Butt. 
I reserve the right to make this blog as worthless to read as I feel like, and also to write as infrequently as I deem necessary. Just thought I'd let you know since I finally decided to share my blog.