Earlier this month, a quiet day went by without the world knowing how this day changed my life. I started to write a few words about the importance of this day on Facebook, but deleted the post when the few written words could not portray my heart’s feelings. On March 12, 2014 my Dad, my only living parent entered his eternal home and the one who had known me the longest left this earth. Just 14 months before, my Mom had also gone home. As someone who always has longed to be known, losing the ones who had known me since my birth has brought deep grief.
The day my Dad died, I received a voice message from a friend assuring me that I was not an orphan and I appreciated her message. I still had parents, they had been wonderful, caring and loving parents. One of the things I loved about our relationship was the way they knew me. Especially the way they knew that I needed to talk out my thoughts to process them, as well as other little nuances about me. Who else knew these all of this ~ who else had been at my life events, who else knew me in this way?
My parents had life long friends that knew them before I existed. They went to church with my parents over the years, shared meals, traveled together and did life together (as the saying now goes). They watched each other grow from their 20’s and then all the changes that the years brought. They buried parents, raised children, worked and retired, travel on many trips and spent every Friday together after both couples moved to Florida. They had the relationship that everyone talks about today — a life long commitment to their friendship.
Not long ago, I was in Florida and went to spend a few hours with these dear friends of my parents. I will admit to being a little cautious, because I did not want to feel that familiar feeling of grief that has been a constant presence in my life the last 2 years. But I really wanted to be with them to once again, to be with someone who has known me from the beginning.
It was a sweet, familiar feeling to be hugged tightly when I arrived and to sit across the table and talk about our lives. They asked questions of me and my family because they knew me, my family and my history and they were interested. They gave me time to shed a few tears as we talked about my parents and they had shed a few of their own They asked me over and over again to stay and genuinely seemed disappointed when I got ready to leave. We took photos together and prayed together – not knowing when (or if) we might see each other again on this earth. And it was sweet and hard and precious and familiar.
And once again I felt known by people who have known me since I was born. I know that as I grow older I will feel this feeling less and less here on earth, making my longing for my heavenly home greater. I am known by my God and it is in this relationship that I must lean into more and more to be known. And in reality, He knew me first…
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…. Jeremiah 1:5
Thank you Jim and Shirley for knowing me and loving me all of these years. I love you both very much.