Today was the funeral for a friend. She was part of our close-knit church community, so her passing leaves a noticeable hole. I've known her some 10 or 12 years. Her son was a beloved student in my seminary class for 4 years. She's been a cub scout leader to some of my kids. Her husband has been a teacher and leader to our family as well. For a little while, we knitted together. She was talented and smart and good, all the way to the core. She struggled from a disease called Acromegaly that caused many difficult challenges to come into her life, but I knew her as a creative, generous, funny individual who loved to play games, appreciated beauty in all forms and refused to be defined by her illness.
I appreciated the ideas that were shared at the funeral, most of which center around the fact that because of the life and mission of Jesus Christ, life is eternal and that relationships, individuals and lives continue past this life and into a future life. I believe with all my heart that this is the truth about life and death. My heart tells me so. I see the difference in people's lives when they act according to this belief. It brings peace and comfort. I saw that today. One of the things I already knew but loved hearing was the amazing love story of this married couple. They are true romantics in the most pure and beautiful sense. A favorite poem of theirs was "The Hanging of the Crane" by H.W. Longfellow. Her husband quoted from it and summarized it most touchingly. It is the story of a marriage and family, from the wedding feast to the golden anniversary. He mourned the fact that for them, the later chapters will have to wait, but he expressed hope in that time to come. It was really special to have a little view into such an ideal relationship.
I love this photo of my friend because, if you look closely, you can see that she (in the purple) has just made everyone in the room laugh. We are looking at her while she enjoys a moment of perfect, petulant, and, most likely, very clever wit. That is one of many sweet things I will remember about Amy.