I went to a funeral today.
I never met the young woman we are grieving today. She was the daughter of one of our DRC satellite leaders. She passed away on Sunday after weeks in intensive care; she came to South Africa in hopes of medical care that would save her life after they could no longer help her at the hospitals at home in DRC.
Only one month older than me.
She was healthy.
She was happy - a newlywed, married in 2009, less than one year ago.
How quickly life passes us by as the words of the season rang in my ears during the service, “From Dust you came, and to Dust you shall return.”
There are countless reasons to mourn her passing. Today we are mourning.
There are also countless questions to ask. As the questions come in and the grief set in, I have spent a lot of time talking with Lucille (one month older than me). We have spent time reflecting on our own short lives that could be taken at any moment.
I am reminded to be grateful for all I have. For all that our lives have offered us, and more importantly, (we hope) others.
Today I am (perhaps selfishly) not ready to grieve the loss of Esther’s life. Instead, I am thinking about what I would want today to look like if it were a memorial service in honor of my own life, even at the young age of 25. I would want it to be a celebration.
I would want the small congregation not just to grieve, but also to celebrate the many good things of that have been shared over the past 26 years. It would be a celebration that of a life fully lived, even if it was cut “short.” I hope it would be a celebration of a life in which every day was lived fully, embracing each moment in refusal of letting mistakes of the past or fears of the future dictate the present.
Today, I celebrate. I celebrate that even if Esther and I did not meet in this world, we will meet in the next.
I celebrate that though we never met, Esther’s life has brushed mine.