Fully Alive

May God Hold You - Good CounselChristy’s groggy voice smiles over the phone line, and I can tell she is happy to hear from me. I suppress my guilt. It has taken me two weeks to call—two weeks since her father-in-law told me that my high school friend is dying of breast cancer. The news hit me hard. Christy is dying from what I have so far survived, and she has a little girl the age of my own daughter. This, in my opinion, is a terrible time to die.

On hearing the sad news, I decided to write to her, tell her I was praying, say a few encouraging words, and throw in a few high school basketball memories. Christy has a great sense of humor. But the emails kept coming from her father-in-law: “Christy really wants to talk to you. Please call her. Time is somewhat critical.” My heart aches, and I hesitate to call because I don’t want to sob and force her to take care of me. But in my spirit I know this is too important; I can’t chicken out. So this morning I called, and Christy says she will call me back after her parents have finished visiting and the nurse has given her a sponge bath.

I am a counselor, a communicator, and a word person, with a personality that is compelled to make connections and stay in relationship. But today, I have no words. Everything I think to say sounds lame. I don’t know why she is dying and I am still living. A visit is impossible, since she is 1200 miles away. So much gets lost in translation over the phone. But today, if the timing seems right and God gives me the grace to speak, this is what I wish to say to Christy:

I believe that when you die, you will be fully alive. You will know the true wide, open spaces of life!

I believe God keeps his promises. He will take care of you in the afterlife and will bring you to His side.

I believe this is not the end of “Christy.” Your uniqueness remains. Your calling continues. Whatever you were put on this earth to do, you will continue to do. How? I have no idea. But I believe it.

And if the timing still seems right, I will ask her the questions on my mind:

Have you enjoyed your life?

What would you change if you could do it over?

What lingers as important?

Then I will listen.

For now I busy myself while I await her call. Distracted, I send up short prayers for wisdom, and I pay bills. I feel the tears on my cheek. I pull up an old, Irish prayer online that reminds me of Christy, and I determine to mail this to her:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Stephanie Trahant, LPC - Good CounselStephanie works with women struggling with depression, illness, life decisions, and relationships with a focus on spiritual healing and joy. She also works with children and youth, helping them identify and communicate their inner struggles through play therapy and gentle coaching. Read more >>

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