Stan Buck got to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” yesterday. We’ve known it was coming, but that doesn’t lessen the pain. We know that he is in the presence of the Father, that his body is cancer-free, that yesterday he was part of an amazing church service, but that doesn’t lessen our pain. Because now we figure out how to continue our lives – at home, at work, at church – without him. His office light isn’t on. His planner isn’t on his desk. He isn’t in there hearing every word we say when we think he isn’t listening.
What might lessen our pain (or at least mine) is the thought that his legacy lives on. There are so many incredible things about this man that will live on, as seen in the many, many Facebook posts on his page and others. We’ve all been changed for the better simply by knowing him, especially for those who were lucky enough to be under his teaching at Sonrise. He taught everywhere he went; whether by a comment about his love and respect for his wife, a reassurance of God’s love, the joy on his face when talking about his daughters, or his vision for Sonrise. He was a teacher, plain and simple.
Chad and I came to Sonrise in 2003 when a church plant we had been helping to lead closed. We wanted to go wherever Marcel Murray was leading worship, because quite frankly we were exhausted, and we knew we would get filled up there. “There” was Sonrise. We moved to Illinois a year later, but back to Fort Wayne in 2006 and didn’t need to discuss which church we would go to. Sonrise was the answer, yet again. I started working there in April of 2007 and have been blessed by that “job” time after time.
Here are some of my memories of Pastor Stan.
- little hands seen in the rear-view mirror doing the hand motions to Sonrise Preschool chapel songs as we listen to Pastor Stan sing on the iPod
- children waving to him so excitedly, as he continues to achieve Rock Star status from leading preschool chapels
- him strumming his guitar around the office getting ready for preschool chapel (it’s the theme right now), with such a big smile
- one of his first Sundays back after his brain surgery, Ada just wanted to give him a hug, so he got down on one knee and hugged that girl
- sitting in our living room with him after taking Discover Sonrise, and I told him I’d love to work at the church someday
- Stan retelling that story several times, and how he was glad I ended up working at the church
- Stan’s alter-ego on our staff mini-golf outings
- his calm dignity in all circumstances
- he never wanted his health to dominate conversations or meetings
- he got choked up talking about his girls
- he never, ever spoke ill of his wife
The last conversation I ever had with Stan was last Sunday night after our church’s 25th Anniversary celebration. I was exhausted, and couldn’t decide whether or not to stay and socialize. Chad convinced me we should stay and say good-bye to the Bucks. We waited in line for a few minutes to talk to Stan, and when we got to him I told him how thankful I was for Sonrise, for this church he had started 25 years ago. I told him our family is all in Illinois, so our Sonrise family is very important to us. He then motioned to himself and said, “Part of your family is right here.” Oh how I cherish that last conversation with him. How I cherish what he has taught me and our family. How I cherish the fact that really, he will always be here.