A dear friend left this world for the arms of her Savior this week. Though our hearts are heavy, we rejoice now that she is at home with God.
She may very well be put in charge of some aspect of the party – that great celebration to come (she loved a party and knew well how to plan one).
He may have her on cake baking detail. She was an extraordinary cake baker before the days when arthritis limited the use of her hands for the decorating.
He may put her among the children. If there is a Children’s Church Pastors’ Hall of Fame, her name is at the top of the list. This my own children would attest to.
He may assign her to *making-the-rounds*. You see, this was one of her great gifts, and it was never more obvious than on the job. As her co-worker for almost twenty years, I had a bird’s-eye view of her daily, morning rounds.
She was always an early arrive-r to the office. While the rest of us were straggling in, coffee-in-hand, endeavoring to begin yet another day, Bea was wandering the building. It was her time to touch base with everyone and give a word of encouragement.
When I say everyone, I mean from the mail room to the boardroom, doors swung wide for her – or she might push her way in. We used to say she could get away with what the rest of us could not. She was honored, respected, and received by all.
And she touched our lives.
Mostly, though, I think He may have called her home to laugh. Another of her gifts was laughter.
My friend, I will see you again. If I had no other reason to make heaven, of which there are many and, of course, none more important than seeing our Savior and spending eternity with Him – I now have one more good and special reason. You are there. You have beat me to it. You are resting from your labor. Your body is no longer suffering from years of illness and discomfort. You are now reaping the benefits of all we hear about and long for.
And you are truly laughing now.
In 2014, following her 80th birthday, I wrote the following post about my friend, Miss Bea. I share it again, in her honor.
She got me the job that gave us almost two decades working together.
She shared my name with a person in her department who was hiring. I’m almost sure she told him to hire me that day. When I took that job I was a young woman with a four-year old, a one-year old and a sick husband.
Times were tough right at the moment. After being home for a few years with the children, medical bills had put us in a difficult situation. I needed to work. Two years earlier, my parents had moved eight hours away to take a ministry position. I was still struggling with my mom being so far away and trying to manage it all without her.
We shared so much of life, Miss Bea and me.
Though we had known each other for years through our church, working together took our friendship to a whole new level. She was well-loved by the entire organization where we worked – a friend and encourager to all.
To me, she become a bit of a mother-figure and a dear friend. Most importantly, she was a merry heart in my life on a daily basis.
There was a third woman on our work team – another young mom like me. Miss Bea helped the two of us raise our kids. I mean that’s just the truth of it.
- She helped us sort through life’s problems.
- She gave us tips on how to deal with husbands.
- I guess you could say she helped us raise them, too (the husbands, that is).
As I look back, I wonder if she wasn’t raising the two of us, as well!
Oh, the conversations we would have – and the laughter.
Always laughter. Some days, too much laughter and not enough work. Miss Bea was known for her fun-loving approach to life and the work-place was no exception. She could even make the boss laugh until tears ran down his face. She had a merry-hearted way about her.And you are truly laughing now, my friend. #laughter Click To Tweet
Like most of us, Miss Bea’s life has not been without heartache and pain. Some days our office filled with tears instead of laughter. She battled cancer (more than once), nursed her husband as he battled cancer, and buried family and friends way too often.
When another of us took our turn at heartache, she was right there beside us with comfort and encouragement. Before the day was over, she was most likely doing or saying something to turn the tears to a bit of a smile.
The big EIGHT-OH!
A few days ago I attended Miss Bea’s eightieth birthday celebration. They called it the Big EIGHT-OH! She always loved a party, and her family planned one in true Miss Bea fashion, complete with a photo booth, costume props, cake and lots of laughter.
I left there thinking about how I might describe her and the joy she always seems to find, even in the darkest situations. This verse from Proverbs came to mind…
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. Proverbs 17.22
Today, if you have a broken spirit (dry bones), do your best to find a merry heart. If everything about your life seems a struggle, by all means, find a friend…and laugh.
Laughter (and your faith) will pull you through.A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones -Prov 17.22 #laughter Click To Tweet