Thursday, April 11, 2013

Bigger, Better Things? A Tribute to a Friend

When we were young, my friend, we had big hair (it was the ‘80’s!), big dreams and big laughs.

We had big pom-pons (what’s with the little ones the dance team girls use these days?  Budget cuts?).

We had big ‘sun basking days’ on the roof of your house, unwisely using baby oil with SPF 0.

We went to big polka dances at the pavilion (I can hear our daughters now …. "Mmmmoooommm, you did what?")

We drove around in your mom’s Volare, my parents’ big, ugly brown van, Gwen’s Javelin, Jayne’s parents’ station wagon, and a variety of other beater cars.

I suppose we had some worries, but really, we mostly had fun.  Big fun.

But there is a time for everything. A time to be born, a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them.  (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2,4-5).

Three years ago this week, I sat with you, as you entered a new season of life – a season of grief and a season of widowhood. We sat in the church and mourned the unexpected, tragic death of your husband.

Before I go any further, I want you to know -- I was proud of you. I am proud of you. I will forever be proud of you.

It was a fresh spring day.  Incense floated through the air, mingling its heavy, sweet smell with grief.  The sun was shining outside, stirring up a light breeze. The gentle, tinkling of a waterfall, in the back of the room, sang softly.

Friends and family gathered in this Holy place of your husband’s funeral.  It was a Holy space.

We heard kind words about a man who loved deeply, was generous to others, but who struggled.  It was an open, honest reflection of his life, inviting us all in to the reality of our own lives.

And you were there, with your son on one side of you, and your daughter on the other. You all stood strong.

You were there, head held high, gracious, and although grieving, you were grateful, not just for your husband, but for what the Lord gave you across the years and in that room.

You were there, doing what you had to do, being who you always are – beautiful.

My friend, on this day that marks the third anniversary of your husband’s death, I want you to know that you are loved. You are amazing.  You are strong. You are beautiful. 

Many love you and your children.  You have allowed the Lord to carry you, and you reflect His power and His glory as you’ve grieved, but lived.

Yes, to everything there is a season.

Neither of us could have ever imagined what we each have walked through in the 30 plus years since we had big hair, big dreams and big laughs, but now, perhaps we have better bigger things – bigger strength, bigger love and bigger faith.

Dearest Cynthia, I am so proud of you.  It’s a privilege to call you friend.
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