August 22, 1999

Dear Laura,

What a wild summer! About a year ago I joined a Search Committee to find a new full-time minister for St. Stephen’s. We met last Wednesday, and I welcomed him to our healing service. This dude appears to have lots of charisma so my piano solo composition presented itself that afternoon. It’s called “Arrival” and the harmonic structure is based on 4th intervals full of hopeful anticipation … no resolution, but lots of expectation. I will play my tune on the sanctuary Steinway this morning as a welcoming gift from our parish family.

Arrival also represents a new chapter for St. Stephen’s as your death triggered a generous endowment “no strings” gift from Mom’s estate to our church. I hope and pray that effective stewardship principles will align with a sense of fiduciary responsibility and be our guide. Since mom’s death in 1992 and in spite of my behind-the-scenes gifts, my prayer has remained unanswered as church expenses consistently have exceeded revenue. 1996 was the only year in the past decade when we produced a budget surplus. Remarkably, we were in the black to the tune of $666! What might that sum portend? It may well be that my prayer petitions have been solely from a self-centered human perspective or that I have not been open to God’s answer. It may well be that St. Stephen’s mirrors some of the emotional dynamics and dysfunction you and I experienced as children. On this day I remain thankful to God for his instruction through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in all matters!

Today is also Uncle Sam and Aunt June’s Golden wedding anniversary. I’m looking forward to a fun piano gig celebrating two of our favorite relatives. I’ll start playing appropriate love songs in about an hour.

You won’t believe what just happened, Laura. Wait a minute … you already know.

Aunt Terri composed and just sang a tune for Uncle Rol, who died earlier this year, called “I Just Remembered.” She whispered to me that it was a simple little waltz and that nobody would be listening. Of course we were mesmerized and moved to tears. There are no coincidences in God’s universe. Terri was playing the Steinway that Uncle Rol had played as a child. Our grandmother and great aunt and grandfather and great uncle were sisters and brothers who lived next to each other. Dad’s childhood home was now Aunt June and Uncle Sam’s address. Uncle Rol and Aunt June’s grand piano simply moved next door. I enjoyed finishing the gig playing a Steinway with so much history. Aunt Terri just mentioned under her breath she would like “I Just Remembered” to be orchestrated. I have such respect for her musical sensibilities and am thinking I have a new tall order to fulfill. Wish me luck.

Love, Brad

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