Some days are just plain bizarre. This past Saturday morning, when I asked the girls (at 7 am) to go upstairs and play quietly,I found them having a tea party they called "Bible Study."
Later that morning I attended the funeral of a "friend." I put that in quotes because I only met her a few times but had been praying for her for 7 years, as she'd been battling leukemia, through my weekly Ladies Bible Study group . Shannon was the type of person that even though you only met once, you still felt like you were her friend after that meeting.
The contrast of the joy of my children and the pain of grief over losing Shannon is head spinning. It is heightened by the dichotomy of my every day life in light of what we are going through with Sophia's cancer.
Leaving a legacy is not something we tend to think about unless we are faced with death, or the shadow of it. Having parents that are focused on their legacy has always helped me keep a perspective of how I want to be remembered, and it comes to a fine point when you are walking through CancerLand (as I've taken to calling it).
In Shannon's brief 41 years of life - she touched so many people. It is very hard to stand at her graveside and think about all the years of promise that will never be fulfilled. However, as I've come to realize, the path to joy is often paved with pain.
Author Mary DeMuth calls it a "thin place" where Heaven is so close you can almost touch it - where the supernatural is within view. Often you must walk through terrible circumstances to understand you are so close to Jesus and all He promised.
Shannon's funeral was a thin place. It was at the same time mournful but with an aftertaste of joy and peace - knowing her struggle was finally over. I've said it before, death is hard but suffering is worse. And as both pastors who officiated mentioned, as Christians, we can cry but it is with the hope of the eternity that lives in our hearts.
I sat with many members of that Ladies Bible Study we were both a part of and the last song was Chris Tomlin's "I Will Rise." There wasn't really supposed to be group singing, so to speak, but we did anyway. It was as if we could not contain our belief that, that song at that very moment, perfectly described Shannon's ascent to Heaven. It was through tears this group of ladies sang their passion for Christ and love for Him, Who finally healed our friend completely. I was so proud to be a part of my family of faith - to be drawn in and up, strengthened through my sisters.
It was one of the most beautiful moments of my entire life.
And it will go on my record as a thin place.
Shannon left behind a husband and two young children - whom she prayed for all the time. As one pastor said in closing, those prayers will follow them throughout their lives. I know, despite their hurt, Shannon's family will cling to her legacy. And they will cling to her faith as The Lord develops His relationship with them.
Shannon's final moment was a thin place. You might be wondering what I mean when I call this the 11:11 legacy. You see, all her life Shannon made a wish at 11:11. And it was at that very moment, last Wednesday, when The Lord took her home.
So, as you go about your life - back to your every day - remember those moments of joy, even if they have to come through pain. Take 11:11 and make it your own thin place. Think about your legacy - ask what Jesus is doing through you that will reap eternal benefit.
And keep going. Until He takes you home.