Heartrending Pastor’s Anniversary Remembrance

E-mail received from Pastor Chris Becker on August 26, 2012 – (In Honor of my marriage to Dr. James A. Kennedy)/photos added by me

“Hello Barb.

Thanks so much for writing to me yesterday. Doing well here, although very, very busy. We as a church had our big annual ‘Block Party’ yesterday. It appeared to be a grand success, with over 200 people from our community in attendance, not including the many members of our church family who pitched in last evening.

I realize today marks the anniversary of your wedding, and I’m sure it has been a very difficult day. It is with great fondness that I remember marrying you & Jim, the very simple but beautiful ceremony that took place at the church building. I also, with deep sadness, remember the challenged & tragedies that transpired only weeks and months after that joyous occasion, most notably Jim’s death on New Year’s Eve day. I feel badly for the tremendous pain you have experienced, Barb, and even months later, I still lack a great deal of answers for how things transpired. Only God knows, and I fully trust His purposes & plans, but sometimes that doesn’t make it much easier. My heart continues to go out to you in your loss, Barb.

Jim is sorely missed by me, by our church family, by our Ark Valley community, by everyone who knew him. There are still days when I think of Jim’s passing and I contemplate to myself, ‘What if he were still here?’ Still, undoubtedly, he is missed most of all by you, Barb, by the one who deeply cherished & loved him. I encourage you to hold on to the positive memories and continue to be grateful & in awe of the very precious & incredible season of life God gave you with Jim. You are absolutely right: HE WAS A GREAT GUY!
And his love for you was very evident. I know thinking about that doesn’t take away the pain. In fact, in some ways it probably increases it. Still, I do believe some consolation can often be found in taking delight in the opportunities & privileges we have had in this life experience. God has been very good to you, Barb. Probably sometimes hard to fully appreciate, since you’ve been through so much tragedy & pain over the past several months. Still, He has been very good. He gave you Jim and all the joy & ecstasy that went along with him, granted only for a few months, but nonetheless granted to you personally & marvelously. Again, hang on to that! You have had the privilege of being loved & adored by a wonderful man in a way that many women only dream of. May our great God continue to be your sustenance, strength and comfort.

Thank you again, Barb, for the many kindnesses you have personally shown to Jennifer & I over the past year. We are thankful God has seen fit for you to be part of our lives … As to coming back to R. F., of course you are welcome any time. Just let me know.

I have been extremely honored, and continue to be honored, to be the ‘Kennedy Pastor.’ Your words of appreciation mean a great deal to me and I treasure them in my heart. It has been a blessing to hear from you again, Barb. Our thoughts & prayers are with you, dear one.


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