I find myself drifting off into the deep spaces of my mind.. Places I’ve been, things I’ve done, friendships I’ve made. I never remember tangible things, it’s always an experience or advice collected. Something about having Walker leave this earth makes me leave also..I want my life to have mattered, my time and experiences to have been purposeful.. I sift through my past as if I’m looking through a queue on Hulu or Netflix..
It’s so familiar but also feels like something I’m so disconnected from. A life without medicine and shifts.. Now that he’s gone, I’m in that life again, the pause button lifted, but I feel stuck trying to find which way I move next. I keep being reminded of a friend who lost her life to Leukemia in ’07.
I found a verse she had scribbled on a slip of paper from 15 years ago..She gave me many handmade cards, all with timely scripture and cute drawings. This verse never meant more to me then it did this morning when I read it for what felt like the first time.
“See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The Lord God is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.” Isaiah 12:2
In what feels like this crossroads of my life.. I’m left afraid that I will make the wrong choices or somehow not make any choices. Chasing after a desire that has left me empty handed, I’m not sure what to do now. So I remember my dear friend who lived life to the fullest without realizing that it would be cut short at 26. As much as I have wanted Walker’s life to have been purposeful to others, I also have much of my desire to love the Lord sparked by watching my dear friend.. I want to share her memory..
Ladies of the ’01 summer crew (Katie is in the second row, 2nd from the left. I’m sporting the ‘fro in the second row on the right)
Many years ago I had a friend that gave me a glimpse of what loving Jesus really looked like. She was the kind of person you meet where you feel as if you’ve known her your whole life. She saw through my shallow skin and insecurities but never judged me for them. Something was different about Katie and I wanted the confidence that she had and smile that could put you at ease. She signed all her cards, My cup runneth over..
We were all from different places in the country, gathered into this guest ranch to fill our summer of ’01 and make some money. Our jobs were tedious and from sun up to sun down. Most of our conversations were spent while making beds and wiping down tables but allowed for a closeness to form within those tasks. We would get a day off to explore our surroundings and if we were lucky, we could borrow a friend’s car and drive up though unfamiliar Colorado mountains, walk through the streets of Boulder or dine in Denver.
We took pictures on the side of mountains as if we had climbed them and then in the back of trucks on the way to serve breakfast from cast iron skillets. She made me feel like I was her best friend and sister after only just being strangers. Katie was from Dalton, GA and we shared an interest in art and music. She was a student at SCAD and was chasing a dream of being a fashion designer. I don’t know how I remember so much from our short time together except that she changed me. My life was different after meeting her.
Katie could tell a story about her childhood that would literally transport you to that moment in time. I’m not sure if it was her southern accent or abounding grace that captivated an audience, but by the end of her story, we were all on a farm in the chicken coop with her. She was everything you’d want your own daughter to be and also hope for your son to find. She shared the Bible with me in a way that I didn’t know possible. Katie loved God and her family and creating art.. It wasn’t possible to be around her without being inspired by her. I wanted to know more about the Bible because of her knowledge and love for Jesus. It was contagious and a true example of emitting the love for Christ.
I had grown up going to church and had a basic understanding of Sunday School Christianity. I believed in Jesus but not to the point where my life was about him. I could look up a verse but didn’t really know how to live for him. Thinking of Jesus as my Father, was crazy and a bit bizarre..but not to Katie. She challenged me to learn and to trust that Jesus was real..
At the time, I knew there was something different about Katie. I didn’t know all these things at the time except that I liked her and for that reason, I kept all the cards and verses and memories close. She wasn’t sick then. She was living her life to the fullest because every moment counted. She knew that then, without the pretense of sickness upon her.
All of this is about that one thing. My daydreaming or lack of direction..I’m grasping for one thing.. To be on purpose and live life for Jesus.. It’s easy when you know what you have to do each day. Now my direction is turned and I pray that my next steps are focused and inspired by those that aren’t here now.
Katie and I kept in touch for a few years but as it happens.. we lost touch. We had one email in 2006 where we caught up but then in 2007, I Facebooked or Myspaced her.. and found out that she had passed. I was so sad that I had lost time with her but so grateful that our paths had crossed and that she had continued to inspire my walk with Christ without her knowing. I found this quote from a fundraising page created for her.. It is the perfect snapshot of her vigor to be with the Lord in her own words…
“It’s all I can do to clap in time to praise music … but I can hear Him whisper and I have felt Him only inches away if any at all and He has touched me and my insides stand in attention and my heart is red and it beats hard and fast and if you turn me inside out like an orange there would be some fantastic celebration with parades and Ferris wheels and fireworks and marching bands and jelly beans and pinwheels and fire eaters and Hula Hoops and … fat ladies in polka dots and lions and popcorn and acrobats.”
I’m so tired of the sadness and daydreaming. Let us be filled with inspiration from those who have gone before us. Let us not be afraid but comforted by the closeness that both the heavenly and earthly realms overlap in. Katie had told me that when she started her clothing line that it would be called Rauschenberg Road. It was the road she had grown up on.. That name was so unique and so beautiful, that I have always remembered it. She carried her past with her and wanted it to be the name of her future. Her designs and creations. The beautiful overlap of where she’d been and where she was going.
“The Lord God is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.”
I wanted to share something she wrote to me that I can’t even believe when I read it now.
“God has been so good to us both..We have nothing to worry about..that makes it easy to sleep at nights…”
Did she know then what we would endure? That 15 years later, I would read these words and be reminded that we have nothing to worry about?. No worry makes it easy to rest… How much I needed those words..
“Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?” Luke 12: 25-26
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Victory. Weary worry. Rest.