There are people in the world that flood it with love and light. There are people in the world who just being with them is enough to make so much about life feel better. There are also really special people who can make you feel and look beautiful while accomplishing all those other things. That’s Our Cathy.
Cathy Brown is a rare treasure. She has been taking care of the hair and hearts of our family for almost 10 years now. She’s one of those people you meet and know immediately that they are special because of how they make you feel. Set at ease. Okay to be yourself. Okay to be honest. Loved, no matter what. That is rare.
We were just in San Angelo and I got to sit in one of my favorite places – her chair. My daughter rushed in to see “My Cathy.” That’s just what Lauren has always called her – claiming her for herself as if to want to soak up all the special love she gives alone. She just loves her Cathy, and at five she isn’t aware just yet that Cathy has plenty of love to go around. That love Cathy has is in her heart is due in large part to a sweet man named Pete Chappa. He is Cathy’s daddy, and because of how Pete loved Cathy, the world is so well loved by her.
One day Cathy was cutting my hair and her daddy called her to tell her he was outside and wanted her to run out for a minute. She came back in with a huge smile on her face and a tiny bag that held a fish sandwich inside. He was driving and thought to himself that she might be hungry because she works so hard so he stopped and got her something to eat. This grown woman with her own family glowed like a little girl being adored. That’s exactly who she was in that moment and who she had always been. Adored by her daddy. That adoration carried her her whole life and even through having to say goodbye.
Being loved so well meant that Cathy knew her daddy loved her because he was loved so well by his Father and her seeing him at the end of his time here before walking into the presence of his Savior filled her heart with a joy mingled with the pain of loss. Oh that we would all love our babies so well that joy in knowing the race was won and crown received would guard their hearts after our lives are over. Her assurance in this flowed from how she was loved.
Every day her daddy taught her something that changed my life. Pete may not have ever fully known this side of heaven how far his influence would reach. Everyday he sat with his children and said so much to let them know they were loved.
“What’s the most important thing?” They would say, “My daddy loves me!” “Does your daddy love you in the storms?” “Yes, my daddy loves me in the storms!” “When does your daddy love you?” “My daddy loves me all the time!”
Wow! Every day. No matter what they were rushing off to, he slowed everything down to have that moment. Every day. Why? I think he had to know there would be days ahead where that would be a guidepost. It was. When Cathy found out she was pregnant at sixteen, she had to tell her daddy.
She said the words wouldn’t come, but then this conversation did:
“Cathy, are you going to have a baby?”
It probably felt like 20 years to her but wasn’t even a full minute.
“What’s the most important thing?”
“My daddy loves me.”
“Does your daddy love you in the storm?”
“My daddy loves me in the storm.”
“This is a storm, but I will love you and walk with you through it. When does your daddy love you?”
“My daddy loves me all the time.”
It took ten minutes to type that because I couldn’t see through the tears that come when I think about that conversation! In a world of “love” based on conditions, her daddy loved her all the time. That is unconditional love. That is a life covered by that blessed assurance that no matter what, Cathy would be loved and cared for and cherished. No matter what. How could there be a more beautiful a picture of God’s love?
Since Cathy told me this story that she shared at Pete’s funeral and with me that I share now with her permission, my heart swells at the very thought of it. She said during our conversation, “I don’t know how I ever got such a good daddy.” I looked at her and said, “God gave you such a good daddy because he knew the world would need a Cathy Brown!” He knew I would need Cathy.
Those kind of legacies go forward. Pete has blessed the world with children who knew what it meant to be loved by a father unconditionally and what it meant to know it deeply. He gave them an anchor that pointed them to the love of God. When you have that framework the beautiful picture of God’s love makes more sense and you can give it away.
Cathy has. She had given her love away to me and my family selflessly. Unconditionally. I may never have adequate words to express to her what she means to me and how I love her, but after our last visit I know that I need to thank God for her daddy Pete. Without him, I wouldn’t have begun to say and sing the same thing to my babies.
“Momma loves you. Momma loves you. Momma loves you all the time. I love you in the sunshine. I love you in the rain. That’s the most important thing. Momma loves you. Momma loves you all the time.”
I’ve been singing this and saying this to my babies everyday since Cathy shared it with me. I am thankful. I want them to know. I want there to never be a doubt that any part of my love or affection will ever be conditional. I will love them no matter the weather. I will love them all the time, and I hope that teaches them about God’s character and love for them.
Thank you for this Cathy. Thank you for everything.