Dedicated to the Glory of God
Ryan Clark Hastings
Roger Hastings, Ryan's uncle
Trevor Hastings, Ryan's cousin
While he was chastised, I just acted like I didnít know why he had done that. But what I think of when I think of Ryan now, and what I hope everyone can remember from him, is his immense sense of character and maturity.
Even if everyone his age was doing the same thing, if he didnít like it or think it was right then he wouldnít do it.
Ryan did whatever his heart desired passionately. This is something quite rare to find in his generation. Something I model myself after today.
There is a song lyric that is fitting for the special bond that Larry
and Ryan have:
They have one of the most loving parent-child relationships I have ever seen. Ryan was a great kid and in the last couple of years, he matured to become a fine young man. We all miss him but take comfort in the knowledge that we will be together again in Paradise.
You notice that there is a navel theme to a lot of this. And has a prayer of a midshipman on one side and you may or may not know the song that we sang is the Navy Hymn. I say that as a formal Navy Officer and I can speak to it with some since of authority about what sorts of demands that makes. It was Ryanís hope to be a Naval officer and I think he would have been a good one.
As I look at that prayer just inside your program it talks about "keeping me true to my best self, guarding me against dishonesty and purpose and in deed, and helping me so to live that I can stand unashamed and unafraid" these are characteristics I saw in my child.
He was in, let me say it this way, there is a phrase BLFT (Brave, Loyal, Fierce, and True) those words describe Ryan more than any human being I have ever known. I shall miss him greatly.
In so much of what our remembrances are today is just a very tiny flicker of what this young life has given us as a storehouse of memory. And as the days go along we will recall to each other things that have meant a lot to us or something that has brought humor into our lives or pride. That isnít strange for a grandparent to say is it.
And all the other things that made up the life of Ryan Clark Hastings. So I want to share some little venyetts of memory that I have as a grandmother. I was not fortunate enough to live as close as his grandparents, John and Charlotte Clark, who live in Richardson and he had been in their home may times.
With us, my husband and I, we have lived further away always, and so the visits were limited in time but the memories are still there. And so, I would like you to know if you donít know Ryan real well, a few of the things that he was like when he was a tiny little boy.
He was a golden curled, curly headed, little long lashed lady killer eye lashes that knew how to use his big brown eyes to beguile you and to convince at the earliest of age that he knew what he was talking about. He often did and it astounded us sometime that he knew what he knew at the age he was.
So as we all, most children he had his ups and downs emotionally because you know things are going fine one minute and the next minute a little summer thunder storm takes over and they whale and they cry and they stomp their feet and they want their way. And sometimes they get it.
One day I had come to be with Larry and the children for about ten days and so I had set out a little light lunch for them planning to do the evening meal as a family major meal. So on the plate I had put some cold cuts, slice of baloney, and some cheese crackers and some fruit.
And it did not take Sara long to demolish the meat, it was gone in no time so she took her fork and she looked on Ryanís plant, took the fork got one half of his baloney slice, well he was indigent and he said Sara stole my ham. And so I guess that was the beginnings of his realizations that all of life isnít fair.
And maybe a little flick of a sense of justice arose in him them I think we saw it appear off and on from then on in his life a sense of justice and wanting things to be right and fair.
Also when he was about the same age maybe the same trip I was in the kitten preparing a meal at his house and he was getting a little restless playing his games and he wanted me to take him some place in the car. And I said Ryan I canít do that right now Iím making dinner and I canít leave these things that are cooking well he mould that over a while then he said could he play in the car even though it wasnít going anywhere.
So it was in the garage and I thought well thatís fairly safe the doors are down and Iím here in the kitchen and I can open the doors and Iíll keep an eye on him that might work out all right. So he went out and got in the car, it wasnít too long before I hear this Rock n Roll music boy and he had found out how to turn the radio on.
And in a little bit I got a little curious, looked around the kitchen door into the garage. He had learned also how to take the visor back at the top of the car in the roof of the car and he was standing on the set of the car going up and down and up and down to the music. He reminded me of a little chicken with his head out of the shell just so much this little head bopping up and down.
Well I let him do that a while and then he got tired of that, he came in and he said Grandma I need the car keys. So I said, well maybe these will work were there were a set of play keys you know, doesnít fit anything but kids like to play with them anyway. So I handed it to him and he went on back out and after a little while he came back quite discussed and he said Grandma not a one of these keys fit, they are not right. Thatís a two year old.
We enjoyed so much seeing how Ryan moved along through life and developed. I was telling our family recently that it reminded me of a beautiful rose bud that has closed so tightly and then as the years rolled along you began to see some signs of things moving and opening up and he had come to the teen years.
When fortunately I think, maybe his family sees it different ways, I think he had to go through a little period of withdrawal. Not quite knowing how to take adults, not wanting to be disciplined to much, liking to thinking things out for himself in a quite way. So we didnít see quite as much of his, the light in talking, thatís a nice way to put it, he loved to talk, and he loved to argue it and he loved to debate.
And he would astound you Iím not kidding he would astound you by the amount of knowledge that he had about subjects that I had no idea a child that young would really notice or even know anything about. One time we were in Dallas visiting and his father was doing so kind of teaching group down stairs in Ellis Parlor right here and Ryan was I guess about thirteen and at an age that you know he was not that interested in what grown ups are doing.
But he did honor his father by coming with him and Larry gave him a little responsibility of helping with the slide projector of the illustrations that he was using in his talk. Well when that finished they had a little time of remarks by the group and questions and so forth.
We all surprised that Ryan on his own as if he was the same age of all the adults sitting there entered into the discussion and you might say he took the devilís advocate he was going to argue that thing through. But I thing that it was a time, I donít know if any of you were present, but it was a time of surprise and awe for us.
Well the rose began to open up even more and I think with in the last year maybe a year and a half. His voice began to change he shot up like a beanpole. If Trevor was standing here you would see how much we were having to look up at Ryan every time he came to visit us.
He was several inches taller and so I think I began to kid him a little bit. We all do, I donít know why we do that but we say "how much youíve grown and how tall are you and all these things about his height and some times it embarrasses kids and some times they just say thatís Grandma... thatís Grandparents for ya.
Anyway we enjoyed him developing not only in those physicals ways but in so many other avenues of endeavors both in his academic work and the assign schedules but in some of these other interests that he had that he took upon himself. I donít know if anyone today is trying to report on the happenings of the last month of his life.
But they are treasured remembrances for us, he had had the opportunity to go selected as a student to go to Washington DC for a week seminar in government affairs. He had gone with is father to Annapolis to look into some of the things about the possibility of his being interested in applying at Annapolis.
And he had done some site seeing with his father in Washington DC, then the weekend before this last one he had come to Austin with is debating team from school, and although he was having to stay on the grounds with his team.
We did not have him out at our home, but Larry and Marilyn were able to go out to be with him for a while there and so the many things that he was doing that challenged him. He enjoyed and we enjoyed seeing what happened really recently and the blossom was just opening up all the more.
But we know at sixteen it had a long way to be full blown. We have a temptation even as Christians at times like this to say why, why did this happen to such a promising young man. That is a fuddle question, if any of you ever have the answer please let me know.
I think a better way of thinking of it is... We donít know the why it has happened it can not be undone all we can do is to go forward and carry with us the good that came with his life and honor that. In the process hopefully it will be a way of showing to the world how Christians can face this crisis in their lives and bring honor to our God and thus may it be.
Some times I would look up at Ryan and Iíd say how is the weather up there and he would grin. I think today if I should ask him "Ryan, how is the weather up there" and I believe he would say "Itís beautiful".
Three Things are going to get me through this ...
(John, my older brother, already in line for sainthood along with my sister-in-law Helen - they are always there for everyone)
I call them secret service because they know way too many secrets about me!!
Of course ... don't you think it's pretty bad that when you speak in a Baptist church these days and you have to have 2 secret service agents standing by.
My second support to get me through is an IFB.. now most of you probably would not know what that is.. I do some TV production work and the IFB is that little thing you see in the ears Ė thatís so the director can tell the talent their tie is crooked or they're talking way too much ... you know ... stuff like that ...
Well today I have my invisible IFB on with God as the directory and heís going to be giving me the words and acting as my cheerleader so I can share some really special things about Ryan...
The final category I call the ROCK Category (because they will rock you, rock you, rock you)Ė my beautiful and loving daughter Sara, my precious soul-mate Marilyn, and 3 incredibly wonderful step-daughters.. Whitney, Allyson, and Julie .. every man should be so lucky to be surrounded by such gorgeous babes!! Of course some of you may need to take me out for some manly tool time kinda stuff laterÖ
And then my crazy siblings Ė we are blessed to be all so different and yet bonded so close Ö and then my Super Rocks Ė who trained up the child in the way in which he should go Ö my unselfish and saintly Mom, Jeanette Ö and my Dad the Brilliant scholar and teacher, C. B. (ya know ... we never did call him CB that much!)
Now I am not going to be weeping during this talk on strict orders from my sisters ... but after I finish they said it would be ok ... I'll tell you a little more about tears though in just a minute...
Three categories about Ryan that Iíd like to share with you:
-How many parents do we have in the room... just raise your hand
A couple of the things we want most for our kids
As most of you know we are a family that knows divorce Ö.some things changed about 2 years ago where there was an opportunity for Ryan to move from San Antonio and come live with me in Dallas.
One of the hardest decisions I have ever made was to agree to let him stay, for you see, he had just started his sophomore year and had made lots of friends Ö according to him Ö and he just couldn't see starting again. So I gave him the desires of his heart and just prayed he would flourish. Dana and I agreed to talk a lot about his progress and keep him on the straight and narrowÖnot that we needed to..
He began to talk about spending time with friends during the day at school (for some reason most of the names were girls) so I was pleased that it sounded like he was plugging in. But then I became curious as to why when I called him on the weekend evenings that he wouldn't be out with friends.
His reply was... "Well you know dad .. lots of my friends just want to go out and get drunk on the weekends and I just really don't have any desire to do that or to even go watch them get drunk.."
What a testimony to me that was Ö and of course tremendous pride that my son would have that kind of conviction... you see it was a reflection of a young man that had big plans and he was not going to do anything that would jeopardize his goals... how refreshing in this day and time..
Now to his HUMOR
Ryan always seemed to speak the adult words and phrases even though they were coming out of this little man body.
At one point he lived in Omaha with his mom and step dad Ö for those of you who share the pain of divorce you know how hard it is to have those moments with your kids and then have to say goodbye.
Well... Ryan and I had a pact about the good-byeís at the airport - NO TEARS in front of each other (after we parted it was ok to weep profusely, but no tears in front of each other)...
On one trip, when he was about 9, I convinced the flight attendant to let me walk Ryan to his seat and visit for a few minutes before the plane took off... we talked about the Cowboys, video games, and the like and then I noticed the flight attendant coming our way. Well you know what happened by now .. the wave came and my eyes started watering up ... Ryan looked at me for a minute, then got his little half-grin that he was so good at and said,
"Ya know Dad, I just hate to see a grown man cry"
Big Thoughts for such a little guy .... where did he get this stuff??
Finally his LOVE
I know that everyone in this room will be able to relate to my final story.. what we all seek from those we love the most Ö is to express their affection and respect to us.
Ryan and I were riding in the car this past summer and I think we were headed for Best Buy to check out the video games. We were probably listening to NPR about the upcoming political debates (since that was a passion of his) Ö hard to believe a 16 year old wasn't trying to knock your ears off with some group you've never heard of like Smashing Pumpkins or Pearl Jam... not that he couldn't Ö but he just lived most of the time on a higher plane.
We were talking along and then he reached over and turned down the radio and said, "You know Dad.. you really are the best dad in the world" ... then I said "No Ryan ... Youíre the best son" ... then no dad your the best dad...and on and on ...
Then he grabbed my arm, put his head my shoulder and said... "I love ya man.. I really love ya man"
You see .. even through the pain of not being together everyday we were able to connect and be close in a very very special way.. we were soul buddies Ė our spirits and hearts deeply woven that manifested itself in one of the most beautiful tapestries that you could ever find between a father and son Ö And now I have a uniqueness that most of you will never experience .. in a very small way Ö I now know what great pain our God went through to have a son die.
Let's embrace our pain but not wallow in our pity - Let's follow Ryan's example - Set high goals, be committed to what we know is true, stand up for what you believe, and don't be afraid to tell those around you that you love them so very very much...
Now ... I get to cry.