This week I heard news of two deaths. The first was a girl who worked at camp with me one summer, almost seven years ago. We were placed in the same section of camp during one of the hardest weeks of the summer. I remember at the weekly staff meeting I was so exhausted that when someone asked me how my week was going, I just broke into tears. I had been translating for a camper from Spain all week and was worn out from being the only person who could fully communicate with this camper, who was homesick and frustrated.
McKenzie sat with me until I had finished crying. The next day during mail call, I had a letter from her. She wrote so many words of encouragement, and ended with a Bible verse: Proverbs 17:22: “A happy heart is like good medicine, but a broken spirit drains your strength.” I haven’t seen or spoken to her since, but I cannot count how many times I’ve opened my Bible to that verse, which has her name written beside it. It has provided endless encouragement throughout these seven years.
The second was a woman named Esther, who lived at Capernwray Bible School in England, which I attended for a semester. Every week she would invite a group of students to bake cookies at her house. I was invited one week, and she taught us her very specific chocolate chip cookie recipe. While the cookies baked, we sat in her living room and talked. I don’t even remember any of our conversations, but I remember leaving her house feeling so refreshed and so, so thankful.
It’s hard to know that these people are no longer alive to shower the world with blessings. It’s hard to know that I was never able to tell them how much the tiny moments of interaction touched my life. Half an hour can make all the difference in the world. My heart is broken for their families and close friends, but I am also deeply joyful, because I know these two beautiful souls are now smiling with Jesus, maybe sharing cookies. I am joyful because I trust in God’s plan and I trust that despite the pain, He is good.
i am ink stains and scribbled notes,
conflicting images glued to pages and You
are the blank space that surrounds me,
the purity of untouched pages, You
are holding, surrounding me,
leading each part of me toward the next,
turning chaos into coherence.
i am nonexistent without You, i am
floating into oblivion without You.
You are the crafter, creator of the me
You desire. The me with a purpose—
me complete as a part of You.
i am painfully unfinished, but You
pull me into a story: meaning and truth.