Well, It’s Been a Year. . .

Dear Lisa,

Well, it’s been a year since I learned that you’d gone. I thought today would be worse than it is. But now that I think about it, the sadness doesn’t hurt the same way it used to. It’s there, but it no longer chokes off my breath. The weight remains, but it no longer pushes me to the ground; I’m learning to carry it. I’m also learning that it’s okay to sit with the sadness at times, to feel around its edges and rest against its smooth grey surface. I still cry sometimes, but the splinters of grief have mostly worn away.

The sun is shining here today, and the new green of Spring is lovely to see, accented by birdsong and flowers. A pale reflection and promise of hope, looking forward to the splendors of the new creation. And yet, the creation still groans, longing for that day. . . Paul wrote of the freedom of the glory of the children of God. Your freedom, already, now. I long for it too.

I’ve been scrolling through our memories, and your smile still lightens my load, even from the distance that death has imposed between us. Oh, my beautiful friend, I miss you. I saw pictures of your granddaughter today. She’s beautiful, and precious, and so loved. She’s a vivid embodiment of hope and joy.

I keep wondering what you’d say about the pickle we’re in now, with the whole world quarantined and living in isolation. You were a pro at this! You’d love the memes. And, I’m sure, you’d have a lot of advice for how to pass the time. You were so right, dear one, this is really hard. But it’s nothing compared to your isolation. For right now we’re “all in this together,” though separately. You didn’t have many who could truly relate to what you suffered.

But you weren’t absolutely alone, and for that I’m grateful. You depended on the kindness of your family and friends who reached into your world and touched you. How I love them for it. Are you now aware, from the courts of Heaven, how many lives you touched in return? From the well of your own discouragement you encouraged so many. Your suffering was an occasion for others to see what exhausted endurance looked like. You weren’t perfect, and in your discouragement the darkness overcame you too often. And, yes, . . . the darkness did close in one final time.

But it didn’t win, did it? Death did not hold the final word for you, because it doesn’t hold the keys. No, our Mighty King Jesus holds them, and nobody goes through that door unless he opens it. Your perishable body has been sown into the earth awaiting the day when it will be raised a spiritual body, imperishable, clothed in immortality. Your light and momentary afflictions are behind you forever, and you now enjoy the eternal weight of glory which I cannot begin to comprehend. Your death has been swallowed up by life everlasting.

I love you, my friend, my sister. My Lisa.

Until I see you again—


Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” — John 11:25–26



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