An Underlying Sadness
Yes, I have been pretty quiet lately. Busy, like all of you. Procrastinating about writing, like many of you. Trying to channel any creativity that might lie within toward crafting meaningful Holy Week services, like a lot of you.
But for several days now, I have felt a deep sense of sadness lurking right below the surface. I don’t have to look too far to find the source. Six years ago, on the Friday following Easter, one of my best-est (not just best – best-est) friends died.
Very. suddenly. Very. unexpectedly.
We met in CPE. Oh, the adventures we shared! I remember how we both went through parallel struggles – as moms, as students, as interns, as CPE guinea pigs for a new program. She often felt that CPE was letting her down, even though she fell into the role of chaplain as naturally as if she had done it all her life. Even after we completed the course, we would laugh at how, for her mid-term presentation, she wanted to play the country song, “I Shaved My Legs for This?”
We were both rookie pastors. We read and discussed books – Bible and otherwise – together. We prayed together. We went to Fat Club together. I could call her with my latest pastoral joy or frustration, and she could finish my sentences. And vice versa.
That year, we spent a lot of time discussing plans for Holy Week services. We – somewhat jadedly – eagerly anticipated “getting Jesus back out of the grave” so we could get out from under the pressure we felt as wet-behind-the-ears pastors charged with the responsibility of planning ‘perfect’ services. We were ready to get back to ‘normal.’
We met on the Monday after Easter for Fat Club, a low-point lunch, and a few errands. I was sick. She prayed for me. We parted ways. That Friday evening I received a phone call from a mutual friend with the news. I still cry when I hear the words in my memory, “She’s gone.” I was visiting my parents’ farm at the time. I remember walking in the pitch black country dark to the end of their long driveway and flinging rocks as hard as I could into the blackness, wishing I could hurl the grief away as surely as I could the rocks. I can hardly bear the memory of watching them close her casket at the funeral. Had I not been brought up to “behave” in spite of my emotions, I would have wailed aloud. It hurt that much. Damn. It still hurts.
Then the grace. The following Monday, I received a note in the mail. From her. It was postmarked the day before she died. On the cover of the note is the verse: “If God cares so wonderfully for flowers . . . won’t He more surely care for you?”
Inside she wrote in her graceful handwriting: “Just wanted you to know you’re in my thoughts and prayers. I’m here if you need me. Peace. P.S. I’m glad we’re friends – maybe that’s what I shaved my legs for!”
I think of her often as I interact with you, my RevGalBlogPals. She so would have been one of us. And you would have loved her.
Just like I did.