Life moves pretty fast. Last week there were two funerals on my calendar. I only attended one. Then just yesterday, the father of the groom of a wedding I shot last summer died suddenly. I feel as if I knew him, I captured his daughter AND his son's weddings (a year apart)...he has some fabulous kids and I feel so blessed to know them. This time of grief is hard.
The one service that I attended last Thursday was for the mother of 2 girls I went to Travis Baptist with in the days of my youth. She was a sparkly woman. She radiated peace and such sweet smiles. It grieves me, the pain her sweet daughters must be feeling. I wish I could protect the world from all this darkness.
The first funeral (the one I missed) was for a young girl that I graduated high school with. She leaves behind a beautiful little one, a daughter not a year old.
Grief is hard. It weighs heavy on your heart and makes you feel numb all over. Or like you are drowning and can't catch a breath.
Walking through the doors of Travis Baptist Church last Thursday flooded my eyes with tears before I even could think about Carolyn. Just the memories that the sanctuary held for me were so passionate, so vibrant in my mind's eye that I nearly got up to leave. But I loved the grieving family, and I stayed seated and let the memories flood my soul: the first night I sat in the pews there, hearing the message of salvation, the first time I met so many shining faces that hold their own special places on the shelves of my heart. The first time I sang in the choir, the first time I stood in front of a congregation and testified that Jesus was real in my heart. The first time I saw someone wash the feet of a brother. My family's own walk with the Lord and their public commitments to follow Jesus. The hands that I held in prayer, so often, the teachings that were spoken from the pulpit, the songs that were sung from the hymnals, the love that swelled in my heart for my church family. It was so real, so strong, so alive. It was the place where I learned about the different kind of loves, where I learned to pray, where I learned what it meant to be authentic and where Jesus continually picked me up when I did fail.
And through my grief, I give thanks. The memories, the friendships, the painful times of growth. It gives me such joy to have such vibrant memories, even though my path took me elsewhere, I shall never forget those days.