Peace and love to you all.
I want to use this blog to continue to share memories and thoughts of Randy, even though he has gone on to his eternal rest. So, I'm going to keep doing just that!
A memory that has come to mind recently, and I shared it in the eulogy at the celebration of life service, is that of the relationship of my dad and sports cards. See, when he was still a local pastor in Fargo (at Faith UMC), he would work Sundays because, you know, being a pastor. As a result, his 'day off' would be Monday instead. Like clockwork, every Monday after I got out of kindergarten or first or second grade, Dad would hop in his old silver pickup (which has several stories in and of itself), drive to school with my brother in the middle seat, pick me up, and we would drive a few blocks north to the Hornbacher's in North Fargo. However, we weren't interested in the food at that time. We went behind the building to Big Nick's Sports Cards.
I can still remember the smell and the lighting of that store. We would go in and look over the rows and rows of boxes of sports and other cards and then we would get to pick a few packs that Dad would buy! We started with things like Marvel cards but graduated soon to basketball. This was in the days before there were inserts like autographs or memorabilia, so our focus would be on the players. Michael Jordan was, of course, the prime pull because he was and is the best basketball player of all time. Naturally, Dad also picked a few packs for himself of a bit nicer brand but, hey, it was his money.
We would have to wait until we got home to open the packs and the anticipation, though it was only for a few blocks, was intense. We would run inside and sit at the table and peel open the sealed packs of cards. To this day, opening packs is one of the greatest pleasures in life, in my opinion. We would study the players and laugh and grouse depending on who we got that day. I'll never forget the reaction my dad had when he pulled out a Grant Hill insert that was worth about eighty dollars.
This card thing went on through middle school, though less frequently since we had moved by that time, and faded away as we got older. Still, every so often, we would find a place, open some packs or boxes, and share the same excitement we had shared those decades ago.
I'm not sure that we'll ever get back to that sort of habit again. Not for lack of desire, but the pricing of cards has gone from reasonable to a bit pricey to ludicrous. It's a shame and it's a change that makes me sad. But we will never lack for memories with them.
So, what can this story tell us about our relationship with God? Simple. There will be times when we will be excited and passionate about church and going every week and going to Sunday School and youth group or Bible study or any other number of activities. Then, there will be times where we don't prioritize that as much. Maybe we don't have a church home that fits. Maybe other things have gotten in the way. Life happens. However, when we return, we can always find that same excitement and fulfillment that we did before, even if it's years later.
Opening packs is about hope that you'll find something special. Going to church and sharing your life with God is about hope that you can celebrate forever with Him in Heaven. So, I'll leave you today with a verse about hope.
Jeremiah 29:11For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.