It was just last spring we sat across the table, sharing life in layers of light and lovely, the in-depth way friends can, no matter the age or seasons between them.
There was news to share, but we didn’t rush it. Just as spring had followed winter, we knew the words would take root in their time.
It was in the tender, graceful way she leaned in that I knew it was coming. The way her aged hands grasped mine, and the kindness in her eyes held my own. There was such a certainty there, a clarity and peace as her practiced words fell upon my heart.
My tears couldn’t help but flow, as she shared the news that the cancer would take her before the next spring would come.
She let the words sink in as my heart tried hard to beat them back. To lose this beautiful woman so full of life and so loved; one who loved others so well. She was so much to so many, and the sadness flowed down my face as I contemplated the loss and felt the yearning for more.
In her ever so kind and gracious way, she allowed me the moment. Then with firmer grasp and a Jesus-filled peace, she leaned in more purposefully and she tended my heart with beautiful truth.
“I’ve lived 85 years on this earth. Sure they’ve been hard and trying at times, but they’ve been wonderful. I’ve done the things I wanted to do. I’ve had love, laughter, and joy, and I’ve had a beautiful family to share them with. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s wonderful! I know where I’m going, and I’ll be ready when God tells me it’s time.”
She spoke away my tears with her words. The surety of her faith and certainty of heaven were the truest truths she knew to share.
Within her was no remorse, no regret, no pleading for more or anger at less. She simply emanated a Jesus-peace — a readiness that comes with anticipation of what’s next.
It’s the way spring follows winter, isn’t it? Tulips and daffodils wend their way in thawing ground, and rose buds and apple blossoms unfold themselves in reply. It’s everywhere vibrant and bursting, and hearts can’t help but beat in wonder anew through winter’s un-berthing.
It’s within that season I seem to see God best. The surety of the change shows me the constancy of Him.
It helps me believe that in the midst of our own changing seasons, and the loved ones He weaves so beautifully in and through our lives, His certainty is our hope, and His promise is truth.
I navigated icy streets and snow-laden sidewalks that last day we shared together. I really didn’t know how I’d find her, now that the time was close. But her voice had been clear and strong over the phone, and her bright smile delighted as always, as she slowly walked down the hallway to greet me.
Her tender words wove a beautiful pattern of God’s love into my heart that afternoon, and her eyes simply sparkled in joy at what she knew was to come. I marveled at her peace, and she graciously granted my tears, knowing they were of love rather than loss.
My dear friend was right, she wouldn’t bear witness to another spring. Just five days later she quietly reached for His waiting hand, and within a breath was in His embrace.
Jesus was her peace. She attended Him daily in caring and kindness.
Love was her gift, and she His gifting to us. And just as sure as spring follows winter, my heart yearns to follow His with that same anticipation anew.
Though it’s loss we often fear, isn’t it love and promise we remember? Renewed through each passing season, within the constancy of His truths.
Spring may come late for some of us this year, but I can hardly imagine the glory of it from heaven’s view!