She was my age. Younger actually as her birthday is in July.
We grew up together, I was at her wedding, she was at mine, we were in home group together.
Yesterday, I was at her funeral.
It was beautiful.
There is something about attending a funeral of someone your age that that makes you reflect on life in a different way.
My thoughts are still scattered and chaotic. But I write to understand what I feel, to try to understand the incomprehensible.
So, here are some thoughts after attending a funeral:
Find your people and love them hard:
My friend, she had a big family, and she loved them hard. She put all her heart and soul into them. She knew who she was called to be as a mother and a wife, and she lived large in that calling.
I came home yesterday and I hugged my family. I’m determined to love them hard.
I’m determined to love my friends hard. I’m determined to make time for those that are important to me.
I’m determined not to let life get in the way. I know my heart is big enough, and if it isn’t, then I am ready for it to grow.
My friend, she had an infectious smile. You couldn’t help but smile back. She had such joy in life. And the fact that she is no longer here makes me remember how fragile life is.
So, I am determined to live. To open up my life and live expansively. To choose adventure. To let love not fear inform my decisions.
Life is good, life is hard, but I am going to choose to live it. To live the pain and the joy. To live the grief and the celebration.
Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!
2 Corinthians 6:11-13 (MSG)
Live in community:
My friend, she lived in community. The church was packed yesterday, with so many familiar faces from my teenager years through to being a young married. The beauty of church family. We all hated why we were there. But it was so good to see everyone. To have conversations about kids, and jobs, and life.
I grew up without community. Changing country every three years until I was 14. It is still astonishing to me that these people are my family. Bound together by faith, and by history, and by friendship.
Sharing grief makes it more bearable.
These three remain:
My friend, her faith sustained her. She had hope for her future. She had love for her family, her community and her God.
These three remain.
They always remain.
Faith, hope and love.