Two days ago I watched my friend lay her husband to rest. At our age, mid 40s, who’s prepared to bury their husband? No one!
When tragedy strikes it is a reminder that life is precious and that we cannot take one moment for granted. When tragedy strikes and takes out one of the kindest, mild-mannered, hard-working, optimistic, humbled, charismatic, God-fearing, family-centered individuals that you have ever known, you are left bewildered and at times even questioning what you know to be true about life. We all, no matter how kind, no matter how strong, no matter how loving, have a time to be born and a time to die. Though it is a reality I know all too well, the pain, once again, settled deep in my soul and I wanted to know why. Why him? Why now? He has a beautiful family. Let him finish raising his kids and grow old with his wife. Why God? Why?
As we gathered for the funeral, we prayed for their strength especially my friend’s, their children and the father. No parent is prepared to bury a child. In awe, I watched my friend walk in with such dignity and grace. With more strength than I ever imagined she would have. She nodded in acknowledgement and motioned to indicate that we would talk later. Later when we did talk, I was sure to capture the moment via picture. My beautiful friend and sister was radiant, filled with the Holy Spirit, poised in elegance and strength. A strength that only God could give her.
During the service, I listened as their daughter spoke highly of her father and how she would miss him. I listened to their son speak honorably of his father, the lessons learned and assured us all, just as his father would have done, that everything would be okay. I watched and listened as my friend, held her head high and spoke of the most unimaginable love that she shared with Gift, her husband, her best friend, her lover. She read a page from her journal written on their 11th anniversary describing the blessing in being his wife. I remember thinking, “Look at God”! They kept a journal of their marriage. 19 years worth of love lived, captured in pictures and in writing. Amazing!
In that moment, I smiled, as I wiped my tears away. God was in the midst. And Gift was too. I scanned the room filled with people from all over the world, Africa, Europe, the US and realized how Gift was a true gift to each and every one of us. Yes Gift was his name. And whether we knew him for a brief moment or a lifetime, he had greatly impacted our lives with his consistent humbled, loving nature and a smile that could brighten any room. It’s by no mistake that his parents named him Gift. He was a gift to this world and his legacy will live on through all of us who knew him. We all should aspire to live and love as Gift. He didn’t take one moment for granted, nor should we.
May God’s peace and grace be with you as you keep pressing forward.