Week #43 – Summer Fun Challenge: “Walk the Boards and Ride the Waves!”

Robert Church, Jr.  1974-2014 Walked these boards and rode the waves. Loved and Remembered Always.

“Walked these boards and rode the waves…” (Photo credit: Grace Church)

[Editor’s note: This week’s post comes on the heels of losing yet another beautiful soul too soon: to the family, friends, loved ones, classmates, bandmates, and all who knew and loved Rob Kalp (HHS class of 1988) — my heart is with you in the days, weeks, and months ahead.  And to Rob Kalp — who left a legacy of love, life, laughter, and music — this post is for you!]

Week #43 – Summer Fun Challenge: “Walk the Boards and Ride the Waves!”

Greetings Happyness Tribe — and welcome to week four of our Summer Fun Challenge!

In the midst of all the parades and parties and fireworks last week…a new memorial planter quietly appeared on the boardwalk in Ocean Grove.  A joint gift from the Church Family (including my parents, siblings, sister- and brother-in-law, Jim and Renee), the planter’s inscription reads:

Robert Church, Jr.  1974-2014
Walked these boards and rode the waves.
Loved and Remembered Always

Since Rob disappeared from our boardwalk early last year (he last visited in March of 2014, just before his diagnosis) — I have been looking to the boardwalk every day to see his 6-foot-something frame, his big wave, and his confident stride.  Every night I come home and make my turn onto Ocean Ave. — only to be reminded of his absence in this beautiful place.  A place we shared as a family since childhood — and continued to share into our adulthood.

Even after I felt the rocky dirt of his freshly dug grave in my hands — this longing to see him here, in this place, has dogged me unresolved.

But when I turned that corner last week — the same corner I’ve turned hundreds of times since then — and saw his planter sitting on the boardwalk in the rain, something immediately changed.  His presence was no longer absent.  He was here.  Indeed — a boy named Rob Church lived.  He walked these boards.  He rode these waves.  And now…this square foot of Ocean Grove belongs uniquely to him.  For me…he was home.

Through all the years we visited Ocean Grove — as children, teens, adults, and friends — I never dreamed our world would come to this.  Benches and planters were for old people, maybe even pets, but not for us.  We were young, vital, alive.  And then it occurred to me…that is the point of the plaque.  Life is about what you do, where you do it, and who you do it with.  The plaques and benches along the boardwalk are filled with legacies: “…who loved Ocean Grove…”, “…who helped us all to grow…”, “whose happiness was a day at the beach…”

If you had a plaque…what would yours say?

This week’s assignment: LIVE YOUR INSCRIPTION!!!  Walk the boards!  Ride the waves!  Spend time doing YOUR favorite activity!  If someone were to write a memorial plaque about you…what would it say?  Where would they put it?  Spend time there doing that thing as if it was your last.  Imagine how you might want to be remembered…then make it a point to LIVE IT!  Do it with love…do it with laughter…and above all: do it with Happyness!

Don’t wait!  Live your legacy today!

Spread Happyness — share your thoughts in the comments!

7/10/15 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

PS: Our FUN LIST is still growing!  I’ll keep adding your ideas to the list — and pick one at random for each weekly challenge.  Keep ’em coming!!!

– “One Tank Trips”
– Surprise trip for spouse or loved one
– Kayaking
– Beach time
– BBQ’s
– Tourist for the day in nearby city
– Walking the boards
– Rock climbing
– Scuba diving
– Touring an estate
– Time with family
– Sitting on the porch
– Watching for rainbows
– Learning to surf
– Gardening
– Writing a book
– Working on a “summer” project
– Moving to a new town
– Planning a spa day (or half-day, or even lunch hour)
– Taking Fridays (or Mondays) off!
– Day at the ballpark (Minor League stadiums are great, too!)
– Outside concerts/music events
– Hot air balloon ride/festival
– Pool volleyball (a Church-family classic!)
– Take yourself or someone you love for ice cream!
– Weed your front yard garden (and talk with neighbors and folks walking by!)
– Lose yourself in wonderful music, either listening or singing
– Play in the grassy backyard
– Play with your dog (or maybe your neighbor’s dog!)
– Sing karaoke
– Explore your town, county, state…through food and drink!
– Visit a farm
– Make plans to see friends you don’t often get to see (or schedule a gathering!)
– Blind-folded Make-overs!  (Great for a rainy day!  Bonus points if you go out in public after!)

(What are we missing?  Send me your ideas and I’ll add them to the list!)

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