Saturday, June 6, 2015

A seamless life

We traveled across the mountains this week. It was a quick but important trip to a city on the eastern border of our state where we joined a host of people honoring the life of a dear friend. It was a powerful time. It's taken me three days to be able to write about it with any clarity. Too many conversations, too many images, too many tears and laughter and eloquence from those who spoke have stilled my fingers here.

Her son told me, "This is the last part of her dying."
I suppose that's as good a place as any to start. We came from all over to pay our respects to this extraordinary life. She wouldn't have called her life extraordinary, of course. She simply lived the life she was given, was faithful in all her endeavors. A better word for her life, perhaps, is seamless. It's a wonderful word for who she was, how she lived. As a quilter, I've thought about seams. I've looked at pillow-cases, for example, and marveled that most of the time, they have a single seam holding them together. T-shirts can come the same way without a single seam in the body of the shirt. This seamlessness is the best metaphor I know for what a life as Jesus' disciple should look like. It isn't about necessarily doing extraordinary acts that put a person on the global map. It's about living each day as His, doing the work one's been called to, being in relationship, even laughing and vacationing as a gift of oneself, and a gift to others.

My friend lived a seamless life. The testimonies about her were of a piece: she was relational, she was a care-giver, she was honest and wise and transparent. Over and over, we heard the same words until I realized that we were really hearing God say, "Well-done, good and faithful servant!" straight through all of us to the one who is at home with Him. Hearing Him say it FOR us, so we knew how pleased he was with this quiet life well-lived.

Every life is more complicated than straightforward. I know this. Each of us is given a whole truckload of gifts (BY GOD!!!) with which we are to serve others and glorify Him. My gifts aren't the same as my friends. I could no more duplicate her life than I could be a professional athlete. But what I can do is live my own seamless life, doing and being who He created me to be, each quiet day or each loud one.
My friend's brother was one of the speakers to give testimony of her life, and he ended his remarks with words from their dad: "She was who she was meant to be."

I gasped at those words. So profound, so loving, so full of what Father God was also saying. And they've stuck with me. Let that sentence be my aim. Let it be the aim of each of us--to become who we were meant to be.

This is RJD over at Dawn's blog. But instead of posting an old journal entry, I am simply posting this--it's my personal privilege to have been this woman's friend, and I'd love to share her with others.
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Dawn Paoletta said...

Carolyn, first I am so sorry for your loss - no doubt the sting of death, though not victorious over us, still stings in time. That being said, my friend- this writing,...sharing...this post. Thank you. It is powerful. I filled up as I read it. My heart with you- and truly profound...what a tesimony. May it be said of us...that we be who we were meant to be. That we would do this now... allow God to make us seamless, and gracious with the gifts He has bestowed upon each of us. Thank you Carolyn. This post blessed me. And thank you for pressing on and showing up here this weekend even with a heavy heart. Grateful for you...and your portion.

Susie - Recovering Church Lady said...

Such a beautiful tribute. We hope the same can be said of us when we are gone. You have captured your loved one in your words so well, even though you did not need any detailed description of her. Thank you for this, it is inspiring to me as I go about my day and my years.

quietspirit said...

Carolyn: I, too, am sorry for your loss. I'm sure your friend will meet you at the gate when it is time for you to go live with Jesus. I love the message I receive from her brother's words. If only we all could live a life like that. "She was who she was meant to be." I will remember this phrase and hope I, too, can live up to it.

Deanna Wiseburn said...

I'm sorry for your loss. An amazing testimony.

Pamela M. Steiner said...

What a testimony of a life well lived...yes, may we each be who we were meant to be...that is a challenge...and yet...we really don't have to DO anything special to be who we are meant to be...we just have to BE...hmmmm, I need to think about that. Could it be that God is pleased with me just the way I am? I don't have to be someone else...or do something extraordinary (in my mind)? Perhaps we are always doing the "extraordinary" in God's eyes...because He sees us as His special creation...being exactly who He designed us to be. I love this thought today. It really helps. Thank you. And yes, I too am sorry for your loss...but we both know our loved ones/friends in Christ aren't "lost" to us...we WILL meet again someday. This was beautiful. Thank you.