It seems fitting that today, today it rains. Here in Ohio we've been in need of rain for a while. The dry heat of September has been draining the energy out of everyone, toying with allergies and generally rousing a general impatience for cooler, crisp, autumn weather.
This evening, very dear friends- my second family, will be hosting a celebration service to remember the life of a daughter, wife, sister and friend. It may seem like the rain is fitting, due to sadness and heaviness we carry in our hearts... but I think it is lovely, that today, as we remember the life Rachel lived, that the earth, along with our hearts, receive a soft respite.
We say celebration service (rather than funeral or memorial) because we truly are celebrating the vibrant life Rachel lived. Last night I spent time with my best friend, sorting through photos to have at the service- reminiscing, crying, sharing about the sweet, dear life she lead, the many photos she kept, the diaries, lists and other amazing things she documented during her life.
Rachel may have lost a battle to cancer, but she lived her life to the fullest while here, on this earth. I am so grateful to have been a small part of her life. To have met her and to have counted her as friend. I cannot express how sweet it is to have been present at beautiful moments in her life- to have captured her engagement photos, her wedding day... to have photographed her and her family together. To have enjoyed small, friendship moments, watching movies (we both not so secretly loved seeing the Twilight movies in theaters) talking about books, sitting and talking with her sister-in-law (my best friend) in their kitchen. Trying to make it through all the Harry Potter movies together, spending evenings and afternoons with their whole family.
It seems strange, or maybe surreal since she was only a few months older than myself- but Rachel never swayed in her faith. She knew, through everything, that God had a plan and if that involved cancer, than by golly, it was the right plan. Strong, unwavering , always encouraging, always the one to quip or try and make a dark moment lighter... it seems unbelievable that someone so young could leave behind such a legacy. And yet, that is what she has done. A sweet friend, in conversation the other night noted, "God gives grace to those who need it, when they need it. We can't grasp how it works, because we don't have it at the moment, because we don't need it." I feel that must be true.
And while there is much beauty and joy to celebrate- today, and the days to come are sure to be hard for everyone who is still here, missing her. Your prayers for her family and loved ones would be greatly appreciated.