This 'gift of words [for Mary]' is actually for her best friend Claire... on Mary's birthday... which would have been today.
Mary would have been 29 today.
But early in the morning on May 1st she was hit and killed by a drunk driver.
(The trial is actually taking place today.)
I have two brief, but very vivid, memories of this sweet girl.
She used to come visit Claire regularly, and when they hadn't stayed up too late the night before, they'd come to church together, all smiles of course.
The first time I'd met her was one of these visits. She and Claire sat behind us in church. She was so lovely. I had already heard so much about her, my heart already loved her.
The second time she and Claire were having one of their famous ice-cream-for-lunch dates. It was next to the restaurant where we were eating that Sunday, and I popped in on them. They looked at me like guilty little children with their hands caught in the cookie jar. It was such a sight!!
Mary and Claire were beautiful friends.
Claire's life has drastically changed since that morning when she received the news that Mary was in intensive care... and then worse.
Mary also left behind a husband, parents and siblings.
She was treasured by many.
Life can be so sweet and then hurt so bad at times. Our hearts get all jaded and broken and fearful. The temptation [for me at least] is to hold back, build a wall, guard the door. But then -as we try to lock out all that can hurt us, we end up locking out goodness too. Our walls are all too effective.
I have watched my friend Claire hurt from the loss of this sweet friend & friendship. I have seen her temptation to give up, throw in the towel, build a great wall. But she has resisted. Instead she has prayed and pressed in for blessing and comfort. She has allowed God to strengthen and walk with her through mourning. And she has reached out in new ways to friends like me. And for that I am grateful.
I wanted to bless Claire today. My prayer is that she will be wrapped in the beauty and comfort that she has continually offered others. And that she will embrace joy and celebration for a life well-lived and a friendship savored.
You are a jewel, Claire. I'm so thankful for you. Pray you have deep deep peace today. -Love you!