Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Color Purple

(photo from
What hole do I seek to fill this morning? My friend has gone home to be with Jesus. The ache in my heart feels like a big black hole has been blasted through my chest.

She’s in glory; at peace, without pain of any kind. She’s whole now. I’m filled with joy for her. Yet, I grieve. I’ve let go of such a great treasure.

Her love and friendship will always leave its impact in my life, and right now, the only words I come up with for how this feels are “hole” and “vacuum”.

She’s been sick for months now. Unless God intervened with a miracle of healing in her body, this was inevitable. Yet, shock somehow sucked the air out of the room when I got word she was gone. It became hard to breathe as my mind tried to process the words.

(picture from
Over the last two decades she’s poured into my life in ways God purposefully chose to use her for. Through her, God taught me so much and cultivated a precious, caring love in my heart, taking me to new levels of ability to pour out this caring love in new ways and with new courage and vulnerability. My heart shares in her ecstatic joy as much as I’m able while still wrapped in this earthly flesh.

Still, I weep. Many tears.

She wore many smiles. Her truly happy, laughing smile; the one where she threw her head back to catch her breath whether the laugh came out, too, or not. Her “I’m trying to show my joy” smile; the one she wore when she was going through something tough. Her simple smile of contentment. Her “devilish” smile; the one she tried to hide behind when she said or thought something she knew she should have kept in. Her smug smile, the one she flashed after sticking her tongue out at you.

She also wore scowls and anguish from time to time, like the rest of us.

The hardest expression she wore was the empty one; the one we just quietly waited through, the one I didn’t know what to say in response to. She wore that one the most when she was tired; mentally, emotionally or physically.

(picture from
But no matter what she wore on her face, she was always – wearing purple. I never met anyone more fanatical about their favorite color. Have you ever seen a purple microwave? She had one. A purple television set? Yep. A purple ceiling fan? Yeppers! Plus, a closet full of purple clothing. Purple suited her well; the color of royalty perfectly fit this daughter of the King.

Over the years, we laughed together more than we cried together. We prayed together, we contemplated scripture together, we confided in each other. Sometimes, we rode along in the car in silence. You know you’re with a friend when you can do that.

Several years ago we walked together through her journey of healing from colorectal cancer. That included chemo, radiation, radical surgery and severe infection. She fought it well and God provided the healing she sought. Last summer we received the news that cancer was again attacking her; a different kind of cancer, in different parts of her body. This would be different.

Ironically, a purple ribbon was symbolic for pancreatic cancer awareness.

(picture from
This time, I believe God allowed her to lay down her battle and choose to join Him in the heavenlies. I’ll greatly miss you, my friend.

“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” – Psalm 116:15 (KJV)

He’s welcomed her home.

When my father-in-law passed away last month, I shared pictures and memories, feeling that liberty to do so, because he was part of my family. This time, it’s different, my friend belongs to another family and their loss and memories take priority right now. My heart surrounds them all with my deeply felt love and my compassion commands prayers on their behalf. Our hearts hold hands right now.