Every pre-workday morning, Beth routinely awoke several minutes before her alarm sounded and padded her way to the kitchen to flip the switch on the coffee maker. I really need to get a new coffee machine that will start brewing without my daily intervention, Beth reminded herself sleepily. How nice it would be to be awakened by the rich aroma of my favorite blend…just like in the commercials, Beth imagined.
Back in her bedroom, Beth gathered her clothes, her favorite and well-worn jeans and one of her numerous comfy t-shirts, and started the shower. Within thirty minutes Beth re-entered the kitchen and was more than ready to enjoy her first cup of coffee for the day. For the next fifteen minutes Beth could peruse the newspaper while sipping contentedly.
Unlike most people, Beth started at the back of the newspaper and worked forward. She wanted to take a quick peek at anything newsworthy or worthwhile on the television that evening, and then she checked the weather, and finally the obits and the living section where Beth was sure to find some new article of interest to her. Save the heavy news for later on, was her motto, and most days it rang true…not today.
As Beth read, she never expected to come across the name of a former employee from her workplace. Beth was stunned to read that her one time co-worker and friend, Barb, had died. Skimming the death notice for more information, Beth took note of the request for donations to the local heart center in town. Remembering Barb’s zest for life, despite her oft-frail condition, Beth felt a knot in her throat.
Eyes stinging with tears, Beth pulled herself away from the paper and left for work. Everyone has probably heard the news by now, Beth guessed. Parking her van, Beth continued to battle against the surging emotions within her. Later, Beth told herself, I’ll deal with this later. We have huge orders going out today with all the weddings and graduations this weekend.
Taking a deep breath, Beth prayed for God to help her through the next eight hours. Upon entering the florist shop, Beth instantly knew Barb’s passing was known for every one of the eight employees stood with tissues in hand, red-eyed and sniffling. Feeling her own eyes brim with tears again, Beth didn’t even try to fight it this time. Instead, Beth and her friends shed their tears and found solace in one another’s shared memories of Barb. Before the day was over, they had each had taken a hand in designing the most spectacular bouquet to be given in honor of their friend’s life.
“Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, ‘I have no delight in them.’”
Ecclesiastes 12: 1
I don’t really understand how to begin my prayer today. My emotions and thoughts are running in such divergent directions. I cannot think clearly. So many memories, wonderful memories, are vying for preeminence in my mind. Oh Lord, how dear this soul was to us all. How she loved life…and her with more reason than most to despair.
I am put to shame for the number of times I’ve groused about this minor inconvenience or that. As I recall the courage my friend consistently exhibited, I cannot help but give thanks for the blessing of her acquaintance. This single person gave so much to so many. Lord, would that my life will make such an impact, that my words bring such inspiration.
Will you bring the heart healing to all those who suffer now? Lend us your strength lest we fall away because of our despair. And never allow such sorrow to turn into bitterness of the soul. Rather, help each of us to put life into perspective. Remind us that you are calling us, every one, to a special purpose. Please Lord, undertake for us this day and let your love shine brilliantly through us for your glory.
“When life gets tough, when you’re overwhelmed with doubt, or when you wonder if living for Christ is worth the effort, remember that you are not home yet. At death you won’t leave home – you’ll go home.” Rick Warren in The Purpose Driven Life
Copyright 2009 Michele Howe