I was brought to St. Paul’s by two forces, both turning out to have a great influence on my life. A love of God had been instilled in me as a Lutheran lad who grew up in Des Moines. And secondly was the love Cindy Morton had for St. Paul’s and shared with me.
I began, in 2008, to attend services as Cindy indicated it was going to be “one of many conditions” she had for her new soul mate. I remember the first visits and the wonderful welcome I received from Rev. Cathleen (Bascom), John Doherty and so many of the parish. (Of course, I was sure that, most simply, they wanted to know who this guy was that was coming to church with Cindy.)
I knew how much St. Paul’s meant to Cindy as a place of community and her many great memories of raising Alex and all the wonderful events that occurred as he grew in faith. From baptism to adulthood, this truly was the answer to Cindy’s prayers when, in 1986, a spiritual home was sought where Alex could be raised. And, of course, there was the warm welcome you showed to her Mother and Father. In recent years, Mary Jane always felt the love of many of you, and the spirit of God’s love when she entered the Cathedral.
In 2008, I was immediately impressed by the wonderful worship service that allowed such a personal relationship with the Lord. However, the parish “won me over” by the respect you showed to Cindy in allowing her to serve you in so many ways. Her service to St. Paul’s was one that she truly loved and you honored her by allowing her to serve the Lord. I knew, as you did, how talented she was and how much she loved to serve others.
We were blessed on Dec. 22, 2015, to be married by Father Troy, a day that will be remembered by the image of a blessed guest, shown in sunlight near the altar. We, of course, have been blessed by so many of you in the past year as we traveled the path that the Lord had chosen for Cindy and our family.
As many of you witnessed, Cindy had a strong faith, which was demonstrated in so many ways. Cindy once wrote to me “of her strong sense of looking for Jesus’ presence in all and how we who are now living must carry the load.” Throughout our journey the past few years we accepted the call in Matthew 11: 28-30
“To come to him who are heavy laden… to take my yoke upon you and learn of me… and you shall find rest unto your souls.”
This message was given to us twice in the Gospel readings on two special Sundays when we needed to hear these words most of all. It served us well and remained a touchstone for our faith.
While the sudden call the Lord had made to her to come to him was astonishing to all of us, Cindy’s total acceptance reflected her love of the Lord. The Lord was generous by giving us a brief time to accept his plans.
As we prepared for the Lord’s final call to Cindy, we discussed what message she wanted to leave with those of us left with her memory. The thoughts were simple but will guide us forever.
Cindy’s hopes were that each of us would:
- Love all around you, more than you have before, and
- Enjoy the beauty of God’s wonders, and
- Serve, however possible, those in need.
In St. Paul’s I find these thoughts are present in so many ways, and it is a source of strength.