So we had decided that we were leaving Phoenix and I had received the news about where I was going to work. I passed the news along to my wife who was visiting her mom in Little Rock and she was excited. She was even more excited that we were pregnant. I will always remember that moment. I was calling her from the storage area in the back of the hotel I was working at in Glendale and I remember standing next to the refrigerator in back thankful that a refrigerator was there to hold me up. Man, life was changing, big time!
We slowly started letting people know that we were moving. I remember trying to figure out the best time to tell people. I remember telling my friend Steve as we were about ready to play tennis on our weekly Saturday tennis sessions. I told my buddy Erik as I passed an adult beverage his way on that Sunday afternoon. I told my buddy Rick over the phone. I told the people I worked with individually. A lot of different reactions from many people and it was an emotional time. I had only lived there just about four and a half years, but the relationships I had developed and experiences I had made it seem like a lot longer. It was a weird time and had only experienced this feeling when I left St. Louis.
I remember the last time I was there for “wingsday” with the guys and as we started to order I dropped the bombshell that not only were we leaving, but we were pregnant. Silence for a few moments and then laughter and joy. I will remember those guys who I got so close too over the years out there. I had been through a lot with them. I know people who have friends all over and seem to know EVERYONE. It is something else when you have a few friends that really hold you up and are always there for you.
We had a few going away parties and the last one was of course at Rick’s house. We had some BBQ (asparagus of course), we relieved some good memories and of course, had to do one last cannonball in the pool. The later in the evening it got and people started to leave, it hit me like a ton of bricks who we were leaving. I could not hold back the emotion. The whole way home I was a mess. That Tuesday was my last day at work and I am glad I left while wearing sunglasses because, again, I was a mess. I sat in the parking lot trying to figure out why all the tears. Was it pain or was it thankfulness?
But through all the crying, I will always remember the words of Pastor Phillips from Fellowship of Grace. He told us that crying is not a bad thing. It shows what that person or persons meant to you. it speaks to them about the effect they had in your life. Each of those friends I know I will see again, which gives me great excitement. Whether it is here on this Earth or when we are on the streets of gold, I will see them again.
To answer the question of pain or thankfulness, it was complete thankfulness. I am thankful for all the people I met and became friends with in Phoenix. I am thankful and blessed beyond measure with the people I worked with in Phoenix. I am thankful for the people I met from the two years working as a youth group leader. What an amazing experience.
To end the series on Phoenix, I will of course end it on a song. The song is my Audio Adrenaline entitled Goodbye. Watch the video and see when singer Mark Stuart gets choked up, that is about how my last two weeks felt in Phoenix. But getting choked up, not a bad thing at all.
On a complete side note, since I have moved, I have not played tennis with anyone or put the Bowflex together. Steve and Erik would be proud. Oh and Rick, no, there has not been another cannonball.