The Day Judi Scott Died: A Message From the Scott Men
While driving a rented car from San Diego to Oceanside California, I got a text from my wife: "Judi Scott is in cardiac arrest, family is on their way to the hospital, no pulse."
My heart sank.
Just a few days before, I had sat in front of a few hundred City Group leaders for our Saturday training and had a wonderful dialogue about the incredible work Jesus was doing in the life and family of Judi Scott's oldest son, Tim. As Tim sat next to me on stage, answering each question in turn, his story of God's grace transforming his life held 200 people on the edge of their seat. Redemption. Restoration of broken family relationships. Things were so sweet, so good, there was so much to hope for and look forward to.
And now his mom was dead.
I arrived home a few days later and Tim Scott came over to my house. We talked for 5 hours. He poured out his heart, things he had written, journal entries of the day, conversations he and his brother and father had been having, events and images of the day itself he couldn't get out of his mind, and so much more. At the end, he said, "The Scott men circled up and agreed, we need to tell our story, and you're the man we want to do it. Would you do us the honor of burying our mom?"
An idea had been growing as Tim had been talking, and so I responded, "It would be my honor, bro. I will absolutely officiate her celebration of life service. But I've got an idea. I think there's a message of hope here to convey, but what if I'm not the one to convey it?"
I outlined for him my idea. Mike, Tim, and Chris giving the "message" of the funeral through sharing their story. He agree without hesitation. "If it would help one family, one person, I'm all in."
We agreed to meet on Monday with his younger brother Chris to see if he'd be open to the idea.
On Monday we sat down in my office. Before we had even finished the usual pleasantries, Mike (the dad) walked in the room...unannounced, unexpected. He said, "I've been driving around the office for an hour, but I wasn't sure if I should come in or not. I decided I would, and here's what I have to say..."
Almost 6 hours later, after many tears, several bear-hug sessions, lots of laughter, and a brainstorming session on the whiteboard, we left with a plan. The Scott men...a father and two sons... had a two-fold goal...to honor the memory of their beloved mother, and to communicate a message of hope found in Jesus Christ. Each had their writing assignments. Let's circle back in 2 days and we'll regroup.
They completed their writing assignments the next day.
Meeting the following day, we agreed there was way too much content to get through, so we would edit it down and stitch it together. Each man was growing in their clarity and conviction that this was what the Lord was leading them to do. They knew it would be a funeral like none anyone had ever gone to. That's ok. Judi wasn't like any other woman they'd ever met.
Thursday and Friday were filled with many hours of editing, slashing, re-writing, re-ordering, and stitching. Late Friday night, we gathered again, this time in my home. Next to a roaring fire, the Scott men read the completed draft for the first time.
Handing the single draft back and forth, each man read his portion.
We talked about who should read what. Dad, maybe you should read this part, I could read that? Finally we landed on a good order. Mike should start and close, getting the first and last word. The boys should take the heavy lifting in the middle.
When they finished reading it through, there was only silence and the crackling of fire. I think it was Mike who spoke first. "That'll sing" he said quietly, giving it a nod of approval.
Each man sat in contented silence. The hard work was done. This was their story. God's story. Laid out in as plain of language they could muster. Now all they had to do was deliver it.
We circled up as we had done multiple times that week, and with heads together we prayed, asking the Lord to bless the day of celebration for Judi, asking the Lord to use their story to challenge and encourage every person who attended.
I believe the Lord answered that prayer.
Mike, Tim, Chris...I love you men. You honored your mother well. You honored the Lord well. You pointed to the glories of the grace of Jesus with articulate detail. Thank you, for your honesty, your humility, your courage.
May all who read or listen to this story find themselves moved towards redemption, towards reconciliation, towards relationship with Jesus and family. Grace, hope, love...these are not just words. These are realities that can be experienced. I hope you find yourself drawn towards them as you listen to their story.
With thankfulness to God,