More than an Uncle

Over the past week, I’ve had a chance to sit and think about someone who’s really been on my heart. His name is Wayne Rivers, better known as Uncle Wayne to me. I have cried, laughed, pondered but mostly just thought about the great times we had with him and what he means to our family.

Uncle Wayne has always been larger than life to me, well, mainly because he’s a rather large man. But one thing that’s always been great to see is that while he is a large man, his heart has always surpassed his frame in size. I’ve remembered back this week to family reunions at Thompson Park, birthdays, times at lake Fryre, Thanksgiving and Christmas. To me, Uncle Wayne has been more than an uncle.

From as far back as I remember, Uncle Wayne has been the guy who has given me a hard time about stuff but always said he loved me when I left. He’s always been the loud, large uncle who may have yelled at me for doing wrong but the first to give me a hug after explaining to me why he was so upset. Uncle Wayne was the first to give each of my kids a taste of coke and you know what, I didn’t mind because it was his way of showing the kids they could come to him for what we wouldn’t give them. He’s the type of family member you wish everyone had and then when I sit and think, he’s my uncle, you thank God for him.

As much as he means to me as an uncle, he’s always been much more than an uncle. He’s a son, brother, husband, father, grandad, uncle, friend and just full of God’s love for everyone to see. God has definitely used you Uncle Wayne and our family is so much better off for it. Upon the death of Grandad, you filled in so gracefully as the patriarch and you have done an amazing job in Grandad’s shoes.

You and Aunt Eveline together raised 3 amazing children and poured your love and knowledge into 7 amazing grandkids. You have touched so many’s hearts in our family and in this community. Our family and community will be forever touched with your generosity and love.

We will never have another Uncle who will give the “Wayne Balance Test” to our kids when they are just a few months old. Your time on earth may be short now but your memory will last forever. You have done the job God had for you and from my point of view, you did it well. Thanks for everything and know you are loved and your memory will live on in our hearts and minds. I love you Uncle Wayne!

Love you all!!

Worth Every Tear

From as far back as I can remember, I have cried. I came into this world crying, somehow showing the doctors I was normal, and I’ve cried for many reasons throughout my life. Tears are proof that we do have emotions and we need  to release our emotions somehow. Tears are cleansing and come out for a variety of reasons.

I can remember the tears of sadness and pain when I learned of my dad losing his job at the bank and again when he got injured at work. Then after finding out he would never walk again, more tears. I cried when losing people in my early life like Uncle Bob, Bart Flenniken (my best friend), Scott Greever and Casey Angel. And more recently losing 3 friends in their thirties to cancer like Andrea Dobbs.

But I’ve also experienced tears of anger. Like when I was so angry because I had screwed up a relationship or when I was so angry at a friend for breaking my heart. Tears of anger on September 11, 2001 because of what was happening and also tears of worry on that day because I knew my brother could be in the Pentagon and I couldn’t reach him. 

Tears of confusion and frustration over job, church and family issues and just not knowing where to turn or how much worse things could get. But finding out in the long run that it was always God’s plan and getting to see the growth that came from it.

I’ve also experienced tears of joy in my life. When Christy said yes to going out on a first date, then more tears when she said yes to a second date, even though I had forgotten her name on our first date. Joyful tears when she said yes to marry me and on our wedding night. Again when we found out we had a baby on the way and tears of worry when I found out our first would be a girl. Tears of excitement when we found out we had a second baby on the way and tears of a proud dad when I realized I would have a prince to go along with my already perfect princess. More tears of happiness and worry when I realized they would be looking at me every step of their life as to what to do and what not to do. I hope I’ve not let them down and I pray that I never do.

As I sit back and think, I realize that God intended us to have tears for cleansing and release. I’ve learned it’s okay to just let the flood gates open on my emotions because without them being open, I have a tendency to get down and be depressed. I’ve also realized that with every tear, there’s growth. No matter how happy or sad, when I look back at every tear, I see a lesson learned. I see the things my dad was able to teach me while not being able to walk. I learned from my Uncle Bob that the bonds of brotherhood are meant to be solid no matter what and that you can show someone love just by squeezing their hands while in a coma. I’ve also learned that no matter what age, you’re going to lose friends and family and it’s all in God’s plan. I’ve also learned that tears of joy are just as releasing as tears of worry, pain or sadness.

But through every tear, I’ve found that if you could bottle every tear from either pain, sadness, worry or joy, you would have one heck of a story to share. Don’t be afraid to share your story. I have many more tears to come for a variety of reasons and know my tears over the years have been worth it. I pray that you also see your tears as worth every tear.

I love you all!