Today I found out a friend died. I have only known her for the past year. She was a priest, and a friend in the sense that I knew her to some degree, and she knew me to some degree. We weren't close in the sense that there was a lot I didn't know about her, and a lot she didn't know about me. Still, I counted her a friend, and someone who I thought highly of. She was intelligent, warm and passionate about the church. She was an encourager, hopeful, a decent person. She died suddenly, and I'm left thankful for her life, and even more thankful I didn't waste moments and skip the thoughts I had of her the last time I saw her.
I last saw her in a group we are part of on Wednesday nights. She had started teaching the other group that meets on that night, as opposed to the one I participate in. But the last time I saw her (last Wednesday) I told her how much I had enjoyed her sermon on the Sunday my daughter was baptized, and how my friend (my daughter's godmother) really thought a lot of her words. She accepted my comments graciously and smiled at the compliment. We chatted for a few minutes. I'm so glad now that I took that opportunity to tell her that I valued her and her contributions to the church I go to. I'm thankful that I told her I appreciated her one last time.
I'm thankful for her life. I'm thankful that I was able to meet her and know her, even if it wasn't as deeply as I now wish I had. I'm thankful that I was able to share the words that came to mind when I saw her instead of holding them back like I so often do. Oftentimes I find myself unable to say the things I think. Perhaps it's the fear of looking foolish or even a little vulnerable, I don't know. Regardless, I will be thinking of Irene this Thanksgiving Day and I will remember her comment to me once about her prayer life...she had told me that she always starts her prayers with praise and thanksgiving for the blessings in her life - and she meant it. When she talked about God she had this certain smile, this almost glow about her. I never doubted her faith. She had a certainty to the way she spoke about God. She once asked me where I was in the formal process of discernment. I laughed and told her I wasn't in a formal process, but that I would figure it out eventually. She laughed and told me there was no rush, God will work it out. She was right. May she rest now with the One she was so very thankful for.