The last time I saw him was in early December. I took a student over to the nursing home where he resided, and we played for the residents there. He was sleeping for most of the time that I was there, but at one point, he looked up, opened his beautiful blue eyes, and looked directly at me. "There are those beautiful steel blue eyes that I love so much!" I said. Then he quickly closed them and went right back into his almost comatose state. I kissed him on the forehead, and patted his forearm. He quickly grabbed my hand. I told him that I loved him and that I wanted to play some Christmas carols. He whispered, "That'd be fine."
Dr. H, as I fondly called him, was my former pastor, a wonderful shepherd and a loving friend.... He buried my Tony and married me to my second husband. Though I wasn't led to Christ by him, his teaching has certainly shaped my life in more ways than I could begin to count. He was an encourager.... my biggest cheerleader after Tony died... and one who loved his flock well above and beyond the call of duty.
And we loved him back.
I think probably my favorite Dr. Hubbard story has to go like this:
We were sitting at dinner, just a few weeks after Tony had died. Crowded around my little breakfast table were five of us.... Dr. H, Mrs. Faye (his beloved bride), my friend, Ron (who led me to Christ later) and his wife, Jean. I had made some supper for us, and had them over to say thanks for all that they had done from the time of Tony's illness until his dying breath. And for dessert, I had decided on Sara Lee pound cake, and fruit. I had bought the whole fruit that had been quick frozen in a bag, thinking this would be fine, and would be easy. (Somehow, I think I managed to miss the domestic gene for females...) Anyhow, the fruit didn't thaw as quickly as I had hoped. Dr. Hubbard was trying to be nice, but he just couldn't fake it. He said, "Bitsy, I nearly broke a tooth!" I quickly apologized... and we all got a laugh about how bad my cooking skills were. (Needless to say, the next time I entertained, I had pizza delivered!)
A little later that night during the dinner conversation, Dr. H looked at me and said, "Bitsy, I believe the roses will bloom again." I had never heard that expression before, and he explained to me what he meant. He was saying that he believed that I would eventually remarry, though at the time, I wasn't so sure.
As it turned out, he was right. When my then fiance' and I had met with he and Mrs. Faye for lunch in order to plan our wedding just a couple of weeks prior to the wedding, Dr. H again found a moment to tell me, "I think the roses are in bloom again." Nearly four years had passed since the night around the dinner table, and soon friends and family would gather in the livingroom of that same little home and my then retired pastor declared two of us as husband and wife in the company of a handful of family and close friends.
Yes, Dr. H, and they are blooming still, now eight years later... but none like the many roses that you have cultivated in our lives, my sweet friend. You were a joy to me and to countless others in your 50 plus years of ministry....
Thank you, Ken Hubbard, for sixteen wonderful years of friendship. You are a gem in His crown!
I love you, and I will miss you sorely. See you on the other side.