This morning, my friend A. (name will be withheld) died after a long battle with leukemia. I will always remember her for her bright spirit and her love of the harp. (She was really sweet and always came up to say ,”Hi!” whenever I or the other harpists played at a school function). I can’t recall a single moment where she didn’t have a smile on her face; even when she was tired, she always made an effort to stay positive, quite a feat when you are forced to interact with people in a close boarding school environment. Her belief that she would be taken care of and that things would turn out for the best (come what may) was unshakeable, admirable, and memorable.
It’s in moments like these where words and sometimes even faith fail. I admit that even God’s comfort and assurance seems to fall short in these moments of mourning. How is it that God would only allow A.–a cross country runner before her diagnosis and someone who, throughout her treatment, looked forward to the day when she would be able to run a race again–just a little over 18 years of life? Though I know she has been released from her pain, and I cannot mourn the fact that she has moved on to a place where her body is free from its earthly constraints and struggles, I cannot suppress my anger at the thought of the life that she will never have. A. was exactly the kind of person who would have made such a difference in people’s lives–how, why, was she taken away so early in life?
A. was perhaps the best living example of 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 I can think of:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Everything about her perspective on life was a focus on the “unseen,” the potential that the future always held. Despite her circumstances, she was a reminder to all who met her that we will always possess the ability to look forward, to look beyond the struggles of this moment. While this is certainly a lesson in the struggle of faith, A. gives it a more practical meaning in how we approach our lives. I think this verse reveals just one small part of the greater whole that was A.’s philosophy on life, just a glimpse of the energy that drove her to push herself in her studies at a rigorous boarding school, to continue coming back even after numerous leaves of absence to continue her education in spite of her disease, in spite of the advice that told her she could not.
I was telling another friend of mine earlier today that what will always make tear up at the thought of A.’s passing is her unfulfilled hope of one day being able to run again. Though I know she is running somewhere now, free of the pain that held her back for all those years, it just breaks my heart that I can’t be there to see her find her stride again.