Happy New Year!
As I sit and reflect on the last year two events dominate my mental landscape. Both of these were deaths. Is this a sign of me getting older?
Carolyn passed away after a valiant battle with cancer. She beat it and beat it but finally she succumbed. She showed up at Taylor wearing a wig because she earlier that month had undergone radical cancer treatment. Every teacher begins the year asking students to tell their stories. Each time Carolyn revealed more of the terrible struggle she was engaged in. Finally when asked she simply pulled off her wig as if to say “This is who I am!”Carolyn was a great preacher. I used to tease her that she only had one sermon, it was about the great God that had touched her life and longed to touch yours. She preached with a power that did not come from her petite and frail frame. Even in her last days when she had an opportunity to preach she was transformed into this tigress from God. It was in seeing her transform and hearing her preach that a little over a year ago Chris came to the Lord. He is such a blessing to us in our Taylor College community and a constant reminder of Carolyn’s ministry among us. Walking with her through that two year battle formed us all in our tiny community. We laughed a lot, for Carolyn was a funny lady, and we cried a lot. All who knew her at Taylor miss her terribly but we know that “death has been swallowed up in victory.”
Mark also lived with us for a time. He struggled with his own dark issues. He talked about Carolyn as his sister. I had to ask Mark to step away from our community for a time but we remained great friends. He was very active in our Up Town community. Last summer we decided to give living in the Taylor College Community another try. He was going to move back right after our annual vacation to Deer Island. This was always a special time for him because it was his annual quality time with his daughter. They had a special time together with us at Deer Island. It seemed like at least for a while that depression was lifting from Mark and the future looked like it held hope. We arrived back on a Friday and that night after our Drop In Mark helped put tables and chairs away and he left me with a cheery good bye. That was the last I saw of him. The next day he was brutally beaten and died. Time has gone by and the police have not found out who did this to my friend. I often pray for him or them.
Both of these friends have affected my life. Their struggles make mine puny and lend me perspective. I realise how fragile life can be and the enormous effect we can have on others’ lives. I am resolved (I had to work that word in somewhere) to live a life that has a positive good news affect on others in 2011.
Happy New Year, my friends