I know that I promised the conclusion to the short story and you are all waiting so patiently but I have to interrupt today to share part of my story, actually a very special person in my story. About a year ago, a friend of mine came over for supper one night. I had been thinking about her a lot and had really felt like I had to ask her something. For a long time, I had been watching her. I watched how she spoke about others, how she treated people, how she made time for people, how she was not afraid to take on challenges, how her life reflected her faith, how she raised her children, how she taught, and how she handled the struggles of life. In all this watching, I realized that she was someone that I would like to have mentor me. That night that she came over for supper, I was going to ask her if she would become a mentor to me. I felt like I needed guidance and the strength of another woman to help me with my faith and to keep me accountable to how I wanted to live out my life. Her example inspired me. Here was someone who I knew would be honest with me, ask me hard questions, and love me no matter what.
Well, needless to say, I never asked her. She came that night in pain. She had just been at the physiotherapist because she had very intense pain in her lower back and wanted some relief from it. As we ate supper that night, I watched her some more. As we talked and laughed, I could tell she was uncomfortable but she was enjoying the moment and wanted to be with us despite her aching back. She shifted restlessly throughout supper and dessert, trying to find a comfortable position. I knew that I couldn't ask her my question at that time and silently prayed that she would get better. Hoping that a time would come when I could.
A week or two later she was diagnosed with cancer. The pain in her back was a tumor. My heart broke. My question remained unasked. Over the next months I spent time with her, watching, listening, and noticing. She smiled, she wept, she listened, she shared her journey, she remained steadfast in her faith, she created memories with the special people in her life, she studied the scriptures, she showed all those around her that hope is only found in loving Jesus, even in the darkest of days.
A couple months ago, I thought about my question. I realized that I didn't really need to ask it anymore. She had been showing me everything that I needed to know. Her life, her story, her faith were a living example to me. She had been mentoring me all along. Her life was impacting my own. Through her struggles and her battle with cancer, she modeled to me that life is about living. Life is about the moments that you spend with the ones you love. It's about impacting others in small but life changing ways. It's about being who God made you to be and knowing that He loves you immensely. It's about laughing and crying and feeling. It's about speaking words of love in truth and honesty. It's about letting the people that you love, know that they are special to you.
Yesterday, I watched as my mentor, my friend, was lowered into the ground. The ache in my heart will be there for a long time. It is hard to say good bye to people that you love. I look forward to the day when we can sit and talk and laugh again and share together our stories of lives lived loving God and loving others.