Sunday, March 31, 2013

Pep Talk: "Lyndi would Approve"

Billy Joel’s 1973 hit, Captain Jack, plays in the background as the eyes ponder a picture of a wonderful woman who recently departed. It’s the program from Lyndi McCartney’s memorial service. There’s a picture of her on its cover.

Loving and devoted wife, loving and dedicated parent, loving and wonderful grandma and loving and fantastic friend to so many, including the writer of this Pep Talk. Lyndi was celebrated in grand style by children, husband, pastor, rabbi and tons of friends and fans. It was the prayer of the McCartney clan that it truly be a celebration of the 70-year-old’s life. Mission accomplished. Job well done.

The day started at eleven in the morning with the service, an opportunity for admirers to speak of Lyndi’s magical touch and then a celebration feast provided by Pasta Jay’s owner Jay Elowsky. The guy who feeds the Buffs is a long-time McCartney family friend.

Time did not permit me a chance to step before one of the two microphones available. This is what I wanted to share with the gathered, including Lyndi in an open casket before a large flock of admirers.

First off, Lyndi and I did chat occasionally. Usually via email. Her hubby does not have a clue how to work a computer. She did. When passing some information her hubby needed about some Victory projects,  we’d usually catch up a bit about life. I went by to see her in the hospital near the end but she was sleeping. I said a quick prayer outside her door and left quickly. 

The story I wanted to share had nothing to do with us and everything to do with what Lyndi McCartney did for a man she had never met. This man has become a good buddy of mine. We attend a Friday morning gathering of knuckleheads who challenge one another to grow in our faith. At the beginning, once the chop-busting has ceased, we go around the room and share prayer requests. I had asked for prayer around Lyndi and the McCartney family. My buddy Bernie then told a story that knocked my socks off.

“My wife had walked out with the kids,” Bernie admitted about a painful moment long ago. “I was living in Minnesota but wanted to get the heck out of dodge. I moved to Denver.” The man who mentors troubled kids shifted a bit in the chair. “I’m in town maybe two weeks, challenged about life and attending a church service in Autora. I’m leaning against the wall listening to the sermon and wondering what the heck is happening to me?”

Someone else in the crowd that day, somehow, in all the humanity, noticed this man’s torment. “After the service was complete, a woman approached me,” Bernie offered. “She mentioned noticing my despair during the service and wanted to know if everything was okay?”

A basketball junkie when not working in the insurance business or helping kids, the cool Cuban then told the dozen-or-so dudes sitting around the table: “The  woman asked if she could pray for me. I said ‘yes’. It was a beautiful prayer that give me hope when I really needed it.” Bernie blew me out of my chair, closing with,  “That woman was Lyndi McCartney.”

Yep. That’s the story I wanted to share with those gathered to honor a woman who stood for everything good about life. All four children spoke at the service. Each was awesome in praise of her love, support and mentorship. It was mentioned during the humorous, compelling and adoring comments from Mike, Tom, Kristy and Marc, the following: “Mom always showed such mercy and grace toward others.”

Amen to that. Born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma but raised in Santa Monica, California, Lynne Marie McCartney “Lyndi” to most, headed east to attend Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. Also, just a few miles away, home to the University of Missouri. There was a guy playing on the Tiger football team at the time. A scrappy center and linebacker back in the day of going both ways. This young man came from Detroit, Michigan. The two met somewhere in Columbia. Your scribe attended school there too. There were many opportunities for Mizzou boys and Stephens girls to connect. Popular and pretty Stephens’ gal meets talented and handsome Mizzou athlete in college.

They married young. Made it 50 years before emphysema ended what, despite challenges along the way, became a wonderful love affair. A love affair overflowing in abundance when it comes to faith, family and fun. Many comments centered on the annual McCartney Fourth of July family reunions. Joyful and forever moments born, never to be forgotten.

Lyndi McCartney was exalted big time. If there’s a Hall of Fame in heaven the gifted String A Pearl writer is a first-ballot inductee. Deservedly so. So many thoughts were running through my head as I exited the church in Denver’s northwest suburbs and headed toward downtown. As I began to think about another afternoon of Odd Couple chatter about sports, life and whatever else with partner Eric Goodman on Mile High Sports Radio, one thing would not exit the cranium. Lyndi McCartney always had her reticular activating system on high alert to do good for others. In particular, show mercy and grace.

Admirable? You bet. How about this? This week, let’s honor Lyndi’s spirit and really focus on showing mercy and grace toward others. Who’s in? Can I get a witness? Who knows, maybe it will give somebody hope. I know, no guarantees. Simple, not easy. This much I do know. Lyndi’s concern for Bernie, gave hope when there was, at least at his trying time, little available.

Mercy and grace. It can help others. It can help us. Win. Win. I know Lyndi would approve.


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