Saturday afternoon I was fortunate enough to be present for a very special celebration. I attended a celebration of life, the life of Joe Hubbard, my friend. Due to family commitments, I arrived later in the event than I would have liked, on the other hand, I was honored to be there and wouldn’t have missed it. I did miss the speeches/remembrances shared by friends and family. Although I was very happy to hear from several folks as to how well they were received.
It’s been several hours since I left the safe space that hides just inside a circle of friends, where a warmth of familiarity exists that can’t always be explained, but in that circle it doesn’t need explanation, because we were all there. Joe was there today. His spirit was alive and well. I felt it in each warm embrace. I saw it in the sparkling eyes searching the room for familiar faces. I heard it in the voices that trembled when talking about him. I heard it even more in the laughter that filled the room as we all recalled times with and without Joe, brought together today to a single time and place, in fond memory of Joe. As I said to a friend today, memorial services don’t end, people just eventually go home. Joe’s effect on those who knew him will never go away. His memory will forever be embedded in the circle.
So this, more or less, leads me to the thoughts I have been pondering since I left the gathering on this afternoon. I felt like I was in the midst of some very special people. Some people may read into that or even take it the wrong way. Special. The Encarta dictionary even references special-needs children among its definitions. When you think about it, don’t we all have special needs? That’s not to take anything away from anyone but more about the fact that God created us all. We have free will. We have souls. We have spirit. We have needs. We have love. We are each beautiful individuals.
Special. Unusual or better. Held in esteem. Reserved. Made for specific purpose. Arranged for specific purpose. Additional.
Those are some definitions of special. That’s what I felt today at Joe’s Life Celebration. Special people. I am sure that many groups of friends, families, and generations feel they’re special. I was in the midst of special people today and here’s why I feel that way. When multiple generations are gathered together for one purpose, to celebrate one of us, and the quality of the individuals gathered is both measurable and impossible to discern as to where it begins or ends, it’s special. Special people celebrating the life of a special person. As I looked around the room and saw parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, kids, etc. I would wager that any of the above would have been a great group to grow up with. Special. We are all special in our own ways. I have found that the ways we are special are most often, best described, and best received when told by someone other than ourselves.
I saw people I expected to see. I saw people who I had no idea I would see. I met people I had not met before. Each and everyone I had the pleasure of addressing will forever be linked to a memory. Some will be a memory of today. Others will always be a flood of memories that rush into the focus of my mind’s eye simply at the appearance of their familiar face. Now if only I had a better memory. Seriously, it was so great to see everyone. I wanted it to never end. I wanted to go back in time and be in the moment with those around me who lived through those same moments. Hindsight tells me that I wouldn’t want to take the same road I took to get here again. As it should be.
Humbly I share the following with you. Today I was honored and humbled to meet some of Joe’s family, to renew acquaintances with others in the family, and to be approached by so many friends who I will always call friends. In the last month I have written a couple of blog entries that exist solely as a result of my relationship with Joe Hubbard. I wanted to honor him, his life, his legacy, the best way I knew how. For me, that’s writing. Writing for me, is a chance to gather thoughts, to reflect, to hurt, to laugh, to love, to relish, to allow emotions their run from extreme to extreme, while presenting words that hopefully resemble a conscious series of thought that reflects at least a little continuity. As for what I have shared in tribute to my friend Joe, I thank you all for the kind words. I am sincerely humbled by the reactions. I am thankful that God allowed me the opportunity to arrange some thoughts and reflections that was in fact, Joe’s life. At least from my perspective. I did write the words, but I was just the lucky one because I knew Joe. He lived the life; Joe lived the words. He shared with us all. He touched all of us in one way or another.
Joe was, and always will be, special people. Today’s crowd, special people. I was fortunate to be a part of today and to be among so many special people.
Joe it was great to see all the pictures of you today. If only everyone had those smiling eyes the world would rarely frown. It was a pleasure to celebrate your life today. I wish I could celebrate life everyday the way you embodied the joy of time spent here on earth, but there’s only one you. Like so many examples people could share, we don’t always recognize what we have when it’s in our midst, but only fully begin to understand the greatness as we play back the effect we knew. Special people.