A year ago today my friend, Shelly, went to be with Jesus.
She has been perfectly herself in the presence of her Creator for 365 days.
I bet it feels like a millisecond to her.
It feels a little longer to the rest of us. .
The gut wrenching sorrow of those first few months has eased off but
I still think about her. I wonder what she is doing.
I wonder if she knows we are all okay. Because we are.
Even though we still miss her like crazy.
I have spent this past year grappling with why God took her.
I have come to this conclusion. I still don't know. I'm not that smart.
I have also spent this last year growing increasingly thankful.
Because I got to have her as my friend.
There will never be another Shelly.
She was uniquely and totally herself.
Who I am changed because of who she was.
Her last year when she was working so hard at trying to heal, in pain,
in constant discomfort, feeling horrible, she kept doing what she did so well,
being herself, enjoying the good things about her life, tending relationships,
She kept living.
She embraced each victory and when the cancer pushed, Shelly pushed back.
When things got scary she sang worship songs and invited Jesus into her fear.
When things were good she reveled in them.
When things were hard she hunkered down and fought her way through.
And when she knew she was going to see Jesus, she did what she did best of all.
She loved the people around her.
And she loved us good.
The last time I hugged her, she was already easing into Heaven, one breath at a time.
She hugged me hard and said, "I'll see you again."
I cried. I told her I was going to miss her.
And then I said, "Save me a place in the angel choir."
She promised she would.
But until that day, I have decided the best thing I can do is be like Shelly.
I am going to live.
I am going to keep enjoying the good things about my life, tending relationships
I'm going to love the people around me.
And I'm going to love them good.
I love you, Shelly. Hit some high notes in my honor, sister!