Our Sorrow; Her Joy

SunsetApr10_2004Forgive me for keeping the details vague, but I want to respect the privacy of her husband and children. Putting it on Facebook for family and friends is vastly different that putting it on a public blog, wouldn’t you agree?

But the Lord took her Home early this morning, ending years of physical suffering from an illness that her doctors didn’t understand. My new life separated us by 3000 miles,  and of course the letters, phone calls and emails faded away as time wore on. But we knew we loved each other. Time  and distance never changes love between Christians.

A few years ago, her husband put me on a group email list, on which he chronicled each hospitalization and asked for prayer. After each hospitalization, the emails would stop for a while. No news was good news. She puttered in her California garden, raising her children and serving her church with her characteristic smile that I missed since I moved to Massachusetts. I went on with life here, assured that she was okay.

Then the next round of emails would begin. Her husband confessed his weariness, his frustration and the pain of the children. He wondered if lifestyle changes would restore her health. He praised God for their supportive church, but freely expressed his grief at watching the woman he loved suffer.

I received an email from him a few months ago. She’d been in and out of the hospital all summer, but the bouts were relatively minor. I understood his email to mean that she was doing better. Maybe I merely read what I wanted to read.

Then last week a mutual friend posted on Facebook that she was in the hospital with only days to live. I struggled with how to pray. As hard as her illness was on her family, I knew their suffering would increase when she passed away. And yet how could I  not  long for her to be released from her suffering?

She had a smile that radiated the joy of Christ. Her joy is even greater now, because she’s with Him.

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