Her name was Shannon. She was the most beautiful blonde little thing. The wife of David and mother of three, one could hardly contain her love. Ella, Garret, and Eden had her wrapped around their fingers. She adored them and they adored her. They still do and always will.
She also loved people very much. If you encountered her she would smile sweetly and stare directly at you, completely interested in every piece of your crazy life. She was humble, yet quietly confident. She was a children’s ministry leader, enjoyed running outdoors, singing, reading books, and collecting Barbies.
Four years ago, at my daughters dance studio, she was the first friend I ever made. Every week I would quietly hide in the corner of the busy waiting room, a bit insecure and not one to mingle. Yet, she would find me.
And every week after practice I would walk to my car and think to myself, why does she care about my life so much? She doesn’t even know me. My heart was completely moved by her.
But then on Sunday morning, February 4 Shannon died of lung cancer. She was never a smoker and lived a healthy life in all areas: physically, mentally and spiritually. We are still in shock. This world is an ugly world. This world needs more people like Shannon. Not less. Why her?
At the funeral, worship music began to play. My heart leaped and then settled peacefully into the Spirit’s presence. Exactly what Shannon would have wanted. As we were asked to stand, I felt towered over by several silhouettes of grieving family and friends. I began to peer for a glimpse of the front as the family walked in. Then through a tiny open window I saw him… her husband, a complete broken mess.
The worship music continued, and tears streamed down my face at what I saw. Sure, he was broken and weeping, but it was not this that caught my breath. It was his posture. I stared at him, and I smiled – this picture forever burned into my memory. I looked around and wondered if others caught it too. For this man worshiped while he wept.
Although his left arm covered his head, which was bowed down in brokenness, his right arm reached high to the heavens in surrender.
Both were equally important.
While standing before the ashes of his beautiful wife, he was consumed with confusion, fear and anger. He already missed her so much. How could he raise these babies alone? Yet, he felt peace. Yet, he worshiped. A great sea of witnesses surrounded him, being touched by his testimony. And he didn’t even know.
The Lord gave, and the Lord took away.
(My heart will choose to say)
Lord, blessed be your name.
This Easter, I plan to remember this picture, for both are equally important. Our left arm can cover our head in representation of the cross, suffering and death. Our right arm can represent life and reach high in victory and worship…for death has lost its sting and in eternal life we will sing!
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!