Sunday, February 14, 2010

Celebrating A Life Well Lived

Yesterday I attended a memorial service for a dear friend who recently passed away.  She was in her 80s ... a woman with whom I started my teaching career.  P made it clear to those close to her that she did not want a "funeral."  She wanted it to be a celebration where friends would come together in joy.  The service turned about to be exactly that, with many of us friends coming together for the first time in many years.

I was fortunate to have visited her in the hospital as she battled double pneumonia, spending close to two weeks in ICU.  This was not the first time she had pneumonia, but this time at her age, it was just too much for her body to kick.  She was too weak to talk, the disease causing her to cough if she did.  But, her eyes glowed at me with such love, telling me she was grateful for my visit, as well as the presence of others there as well. 

P and her husband had married late in life with him having died close to ten years ago.  They never had children, but along the way, she and her dearly missed husband had "adopted" several, with many "adopting" them as family.  P was originally born in Spain, so her family was overseas.  Due to illness, P's brother and family were unable to make it to the hospital before her passing and likewise unable to attend yesterday's service. 

I was even more fortunate, however, to have spent the first five years of my teaching career working with her.  She was an inspiration, both professionally and relationally.  P was the most Christ-like person I ever knew.  She was hospitable, generous, and charitable.  Foremost, she was always serving others.  Even in her retirement years, she kept active and energetic by serving.  She cooked fabulous meals for a family whose wife and mother has MS.  She did weekly shopping at Sam's for a group of cloistered nuns.  She supported a ministry of a colleague who left teaching to go into mission work full-time.  I'm sure these are just skimming the surface of what all P did. 

P serves as an inspiration of a life well lived.  She is one of those rare, special individuals a person meets in life who always "points the way" to others as they walk along this Road of Life.   She was the hands and feet of Christ to others, the faithful servant bringing a cool cup of water to others.

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