Thursday, May 14, 2015

Her Story

I've been thinking about stories today. Specifically, I've been thinking about the story each of us has of our own lives. There's a starting place, a birth date, time, parents. There are childhood events, siblings, significant traumas, perhaps, teachers who shaped us, experiences that changed us. There are the struggles of adolescence, some so severe they forever mold our character. Each of us has the story we have and we share those stories or we don't. I think of how our birthplace trails us around forever. For example, I was born in San Pedro, California, though I don't remember it. My father was in the navy and got his orders to transfer to the Bremerton, Washington shipyard just before I was born. I flew for the first time when I was three weeks old. But despite the fact that I'm a Washingtonian, I have to put San Pedro, California on every official document. That's part of my story.

When Grampie died, I wrote up his story as well as I could, just as I'd done for my mother. It was placed in various papers and read at Grampie's memorial as the sum of his life. And today, I'm thinking about another life's story must be written in the same way. A dear, dear friend died Tuesday. I won't be the one to write her story but I'm thinking of it, nevertheless. I'm thinking what I know of her story, what I know of her character, who I know her to be. These are a few of the things I know, and they aren't about facts (though I know her birthdate, her birthplace, her parents' names, etc):
  • She loved to have conversation. That's how she always said it, not conversations--plural--but conversation, like it was one, ongoing deep-reaching interaction between people.
  • She loved to laugh. She had a really witty, goofy side and a strong sense of the ridiculous (in the best sense) and her laugh was inimitable
  • She was always at the disposal of any who needed her nursing care
  • She was deeply transparent, willing to admit her flaws, talk about her worries, face her fears
  • She was wickedly competitive at games--practically impossible to beat, especially when she got a certain glint (and wink) in her eye
  • She had an ease in everything she did, from cooking to taking care of sprinklers to knitting to playing Sudoku on her Nook
  • She loved to take naps
  • She made everyone around her feel they were the most cared for-person in the room
  • She gave long, tight hugs
  • She was practical, calm, wise and tender
  • She adored her husband and family more than anything on this earth
So these are some of the myriad things that make up my friend's story. And I have been feeling very sad that her obituary has to be written. Of course. There's a giant hole where she was that won't be filled. The first time it caught me was when her husband wrote an email that said, "The kids and I will be fine..." I met this woman on my wedding day because she was married to one of Beve's closest friends, and in all that time I've never heard our friend (her husband) use the personal pronoun  in relation to his family life. That single I breaks my heart so deeply I can't even speak around the lump in my throat.

So I wait a moment and when I can think here's what I know about my friend's story:
It isn't over. She lives. She has stepped through a stable door (as The Last Battle puts it) into something much bigger and more beautiful than is on this side. I can't imagine how beautiful it is there, but SHE can. She knows now. She's there. For us, for her beloved grieving family, it feels like the end, but it's only the end of this part. And I do not, DARE NOT, mitigate how difficult the road ahead for them (for me too, in a different way). I told her last week I would pray for her children. She knows I will. I have lost a beloved parent. That part I know. It's gruelingly hard work.

But I sit here, where I have sat with her and prayed for them, and thank God that she is. That though we cannot know it, she lives and breathes and has her being just through the stable door in His throne Room.

1 comment:

Pamela M. Steiner said...

So beautifully written. I love that. I like the idea of going through the "Stable Door" into the throne room. Jesus entered this world through the "Stable Door" when He left heaven, so it is fitting that we would go through that same door to enter His realm. Thank you for these thoughts today. I've had heaven especially on my mind lately as we approach my son's 1st year anniversary of going through that "stable door" many thoughts and feelings I haven't been able to fully express yet. Still working on that. Thank you for helping.