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The Witness of Presence

“But I don’t want to.” I heard myself say even though I knew He wanted me to. “I don’t want to be an imposition.” I knew I wouldn’t be. “I’ll send a card.” I know a card is nice but presence means more. I thought of a million other places I would rather be than a gut-wrenching funeral of a young woman the same age as my kids. 

Truth be told, Morgan had newly re-entered my life in the past few months. I was friends with her mom when she was little before they moved away and then she reappeared back in town and we loosely reconnected. She had turned into a beautiful young woman. I saw her mom in passing a few months ago and when I looked in her eyes as she talked about her daughter, her illness and her young husband, my heart tore. Putting myself in her shoes even for even a moment felt unbearable. 

As God and I conversed I began to see it. I began to see what He was asking of me. Chosen grief. His was a chosen Cross, a chosen bearing of our burdens, a chosen serving and a chosen life with us. In my season of loss, some of the ones who meant the most were the ones who chose to be in my sorrow with me - not because they had to but decided to. These were the ones who gave the most cherished gift of all - presence. I remembered this and so on Saturday I went.

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Some grief happens to us and we can’t get away from it. It’s the grief we personally experience. The kind we experience whether another is there to experience it with us or not. It’s OUR loss. It’s OUR grief and there is no hiding from it. But sometimes in life, someone in proximity to us experiences loss. It may not change a lot about our personal life or our day to day activities. It only affects us if we allow it to.

He wanted me to allow it to. He was asking me to choose grief, to choose mourning, to choose to be with the family even if I sat in the back of the room by myself. He wanted me to allow myself to mourn. He wanted to care through me even if I never said a word. With me, I brought a little piece of His heart. Jesus weeping through me for the sorrow of the close friends and family. Feeling the sorrow myself as I grieved the loss of a beautiful woman I barely knew. Silent prayers going up as I sat in that sacred room celebrating a beautiful life. Me a witness; a witness to a beautiful life and a witness of Jesus’ deep care and presence in our sorrows. That wasn’t the only thing I felt or was witness to.

Sacredness. I felt sacredness. This beautiful short life lived at the feet of Jesus even through suffering. Her life was one to behold and stand in awe of. Words feel inadequate to explain how honored I felt to be at a celebration of a life lived to know Jesus and one who loved so deeply. At the closing of her celebration of life, they played a video she recorded about intimacy with Jesus and all she was learning. Her life was truly a witness and it was an overflow of her inner life with Jesus. I went to be a witness of presence and was gifted the witness of a young life lived loving Jesus wholeheartedly. I walked away changed.

If you want to watch the video of her speaking, you can watch it here *start video at 1:03:39