"You're my favorite." If you were to look up the word family in the dictionary you would find a gathering of words that individually don't mean much of anything. Those words gathered together would basically says a group of people who share the same ancestry. A collection of mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, and perhaps you have a collection of these people you call family yourself. However, if you were to ask me about a family that I think anyone would want to be a part of, one that I wish I had been lucky enough to grow up in at least their family dynamic, without question or delay I would tell you about my friends in the Hueston, Maynus, and Cruea family.
From the moment I met them I knew they were different. They have a bond, a connection of faith, that I could only dream about growing up. Spending any time around them makes you a better person because they set a standard of how to love God and love His people. Any one of them will jump in to help anyone.
They are so ingrained within the community that I was once a part of, you would be hard pressed to find anyone who didn't know them. I am blessed to know them. So when tragedy struck everyone has felt it and will continue to feel it along side them because this family makes everyone feel like part of their family. They didn't just lose one of their own, we all did. Everyone is heartbroken and wherever you turn in the community or social media sadness is evident.
Katie Jo had just graduated from high school weeks before. They had just the weekend before her passing celebrated her graduation with family and a few friends after being in quarantine for so long. The next week she was killed in a car accident that could have been prevented by a visible stop sign. An accident that has rocked everyone to their core. Even a thousand miles away the shock waves have overwhelmed us. We weep alongside them from afar.
Let me tell you about Miss Katie Jo, though admittedly I did not know her as well as her younger sister and a couple of her cousins. Here is what I know and what I have gathered. Katie had a smile that would light up a room. She loved rainbows because she was so filled with love and light she couldn't pick just one favorite color. She loved helping others. She served in her church. She worked at a sweet shop called the Hydration Station where she was well loved and served her customers with a smile. She knew and loved Jesus which I think is the most important part.
I don't know what her plans were after high school. But I know she was and still is so very loved by everyone she crossed paths with. She is the favorite. All of her family is. I think that is one thing I love most about them. They tell each other that each of them are their favorites. They love like that as though each of them is the favorite. How can anyone question if they are loved in a family like that? The strength, the faith, the perseverance they have shown is nothing short of miraculous and can only be explained as their unwavering trust and faith in God.
Even in their loss they continue to give. Katie's heart beats in another chest. Her lungs, her kidneys, her liver, her pancreas all giving new life to others whose families would likely still be praying for a miracle or going home to mourn their loss. Katie Jo is as much of a miracle in death as she was in life.
I was thinking about how God mends our broken hearts and puts our pieces back together. Over and over again He is faithful. Psalm 147:3 says, He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. We are all praying for that, trusting for that, because they need this and yet they are showing everyone how big our God is as he is holding them up. Oh God how we love how you love us when we need you most. Holding us even when we can't hold ourselves upright or conceive of it. Sending rainbows of your promises after the most horrific of storms. Rainbows...her favorite.
Sunday, June 7, 2020
The text read "Upon entrance a representative will ask questions & take temperature w/ a non-contact thermometer. Please wear a mask or one will be provided to you. Please ask companions to remain in the vehicle or outdoors. Thank you." Don't get me wrong I get it. I do, but...when I read it I read it as basically cover up your ugly face and come alone. Come alone? Are we doing a heist? What is happening here? I'm going to the eye doctor not doing deals in a back alley. I need glasses to see, I have to pick out new glasses clearly I'm going to need assistance with that process. But it's fine, I'm fine, everything is fine. I'm going it alone.
Two days later, the day of my appointment, I made the fantastic decision that we should go stand in line in the rain under an umbrella at a food truck for hot fresh donuts before my appointment. My husband thought this was a crazy idea but because he is use to my antics, he drove us to get donuts and dutifully stood with me under an umbrella while I ordered us donuts to eat on the way to the appointment. There was a line, two actually, one for ordering and one for picking up. For me, I loved the donuts. My husband didn't necessarily think they were worth standing in the rain for. He is far more practical and not necessarily at the level of foodie that I am. But I digress....
I arrive for my appointment and am met with a sign saying that I should text a number when I arrive and wait in my car until they let me know that I can come in. Seriously? Does no one else understand how strange this is? Just me? OK I'll be the weirdo, it is fine. I dressed up in donut clothing one day and stood in the rain for a donut the next. Clearly I'm the weirdo here and having an eye doctor appointment that seems like something that should take place in the back of a restaurant with a mob boss is perfectly normal. Any how I text the number "Heather Nestleroad has arrived" and started to walk to my car even though the entire thing seemed ridiculous when a girl opens the door and asks me if I had an appointment. I said that I did and she let me in because the texting thing they had going on wasn't really working out that day what with the rain and all. I go in and almost fall from my shoes being wet and having to stand on a circle to keep with social distancing. Because clearly I'm the threat here having not had my temperature taken and I'm standing in a mask (pink no less) squeaking my shoes waiting for this adventure to turn around the next bend.
Finally it is my turn at the desk. I give them all the necessary things, answer questions, and get my temperature checked. I was a cool 97.7 and because the only place I mostly go to is work they let me stay. BUT...I had to go sit and wasn't allowed to look around at the glasses while I waited. When I was taken back it wasn't long before I realized how insane this all was. When you wear a mask it can make your glasses fog up making it hard to see. When you get drops in your eyes and you wear a mask and have to look through their instruments they tend to fog up too. Add fogged up instruments to dilated eyes and well.... When the gal leaves me to dilate in a dark room to wait for the doctor I started getting really sleepy. The doctor comes in before I drift off and asks me how I'm doing. I said, getting pretty sleepy actually. He says the drops will do that and goes over everything, does his exam prints my prescription and sends me on my way to pick out my new glasses. At this point I knew that one of the two people I like and trust to help me pick my glasses was working. What I didn't realize was that I was unrecognizable. Apparently having not been there in a couple of years as I was not able to go last year and having longer hair and a mask covering my face made me unrecognizable. It was only when he said I had to take my mask off so he could see how the glasses looked that he realized who I was.
Listen...I do not hang out with people (I work a full time job and a part time job. I don't hang out with anyone besides my family in general) and I get that I don't have a face that is memorable or really any redeaming qualities aside from one thing. I somehow turn into a comedian when I go to doctor's offices. I don't know why this is. Nerves maybe? I don't know. But when I go to my family practitioner and when I go to the eye doctor or chiropractor they remember me as the funny one. A psychologist would probably tell you that I hide behind humor and sarcasm as a way of dealing with my undeniable lack of confidence and a feeling of unworthiness that stems back to my childhood. All true I'm sure, but nevertheless I make an impression as a jokester and a complete dork. These two people that I consider my friends even though we have spent zero time together outside of the eye doctor's office know who I am. We'd be the kind of pals that all hung out together with our loved ones for game night and pizza if everyone didn't have to work ALL. THE. TIME. and we knew each other maybe a bit better. They wanted me to apply for a job there so we could work together. So...it was hilarious when he got all embarrassed when I took off my mask. Amy will have a good time with that, I'm sure.
In the end I did choose some spectacular new glasses that I'm so excited about. They are movie star level glasses. Actually they were brought out of a cabinet and not even on display yet they were so glorious. I love glasses. I do wish sometimes I could work there. I could use the employee discount. I get as excited about new glasses as other women get about designer clothes. I'd rather wear my t-shirt collection and denim capris and have spectacular glasses. One of the reasons I really don't fit in here I'm sure. Who needs to fit in anyway? Someone has to be the oddball and shake things up in this land of manufactured perfection. May as well be me and in a couple of weeks I'll have just the glasses for the job.