Thursday, October 15, 2009

Invade their grief with joy

I've known my friend Traci since kindergarten. She and my twin sister, Heather, were best friends but they’d let me play with them every once in a while. We went to the same elementary school, high school, were in Brownies together. Our moms were good friends so we got together often. I have wonderfully fond memories of being in her house, looking at her dad’s immense train set, visiting with her mom and watching Traci and Heather dance to Greased Lightening (maybe if they had let me dance, too, I wouldn’t have just spilled the beans…!)

Traci’s brother, Derek, was also a part of our get-togethers, like it or not. He was a typical younger brother: always wanted to know what was going on and routinely tried to disrupt whatever Very Important Things we older, more mature girls were doing.

Thankfully Traci, Heather and I have stayed in touch over the years (Traci even worked with Sean at the GM plant in Atlanta for a time) and though we don’t talk often we do email occasionally and can see each other’s statuses (stati?) on Facebook. Another way I’ve stayed in touch is by reading Traci’s sister-in-law’s blog. Unfortunately, it’s a blog chronicling her fight with colon cancer. I’ve loved reading her entries which are full of faith that God can heal, faith that God can sustain, faith that God is ultimately in control. Her posts have been amazing and more than once have brought me to tears. She hasn’t posted recently which has concerned me, but I was hopeful that was a good sign that she was able to spend more time with Derek and her two young children, six and four.

Deep down I knew what it really meant, and a few minutes ago my Mom sent my sister and me an email from Traci’s mom, letting us know Derek’s wife passed away Wednesday.

That pesky little brother who’d throw soccer balls and footballs and any other round object at us is now a widower with two young children. I’m 1,500 miles away and can do absolutely nothing. I can’t take a meal or watch the kids or sit with Traci or hug Traci’s mom. I feel so utterly helpless.

What I can do is pray. I can pray for the peace that passes all understanding to surround that precious family. I can pray for God’s faithfulness to be felt. I can thank God Derek’s wife left a written testimony about her faith and her belief that God would heal her, either here or in Heaven and I can pray that brings comfort to the family.

And I can pray for Traci.

So Traci, if you’re reading this, please know I’m praying for you and sending you love from a long way away. And I’m praying your mourning will soon turn to dancing.

Young women will dance and be happy,
young men and old men will join in.
I'll convert their weeping into laughter,
lavishing comfort, invading their grief with joy.

Jeremiah 31:13