~ Colossians 4:6
Tonight, I am thinking of someone whose words were so often like this, well-seasoned and full of grace. A little over a year ago, she wrote this in her blog:
I am longing for Home. I know this is good because I was never meant to nestle in here. The verse that has haunted me often is when Jesus is talking and says that birds have nests, foxes have dens, but the Son of man has no place to lay his head...it sobers this world up a bit. It keeps me from being intoxicated by what it has to offer. There is a line in a Rich Mullins song that says, "Nobody tells you when you get born here, how much you'll come to love it and how you'll never belong here. So I'll call you my country, but I'll be longing for my home. I wish that I could take you there with me."
What I do long for on this side of heaven is deep, intertwining friendships that never question the realm of purity and never tap into self-protection. There is a loneliness that subsides only for a little while, usually with a hug or a warm smile. But usually...usually it haunts me because I know I have no place to lay my head and weep.
~ Kylee Boden, “Hungry for Home”
Last Wednesday the young woman who wrote these words left this world that was not her home. She left behind a husband, four children—including a newborn—and many friends and loved ones. Tonight I was blessed to join around 400 people in viewing her memorial service (which was in a city about 3 hours from where I live) via live webcast. Of course, many more also attended the service in person, to celebrate the life of this woman who touched so many.
It’s difficult for me to find the words I want to say. That’s why when I found out about it last Wednesday evening I just posted the poem “Brave for Life” and didn’t elaborate further. She wasn’t a close friend to me, but she was the sort of person that you could meet once and never forget—an outgoing person with contagious joy and unshakeable faith, who never seemed afraid to reach out to the people around her. She was someone I admired very much, especially since I am so chronically timid about reaching out to others.
The last few days my thoughts have returned again and again to my too-fragmented and too-few memories of her. We spent some time together on a road trip to Atlanta with several people from the young adults group at my church—that may have been the first time I met her and her husband, Matt. I’m not sure. It seemed like everywhere we went in the city, she was so quick to reach out to people, even total strangers. And she reached out to me, too. Back then I was a shy outsider who didn’t quite know how to connect with the rest of the group, despite having attended the church for many years. But Kylee, Matt, and a few others who were there refused to let me be an outsider on that trip.
Later, she became my co-worker, co-teaching in the middle school classroom at my school. I worked in high school, so we didn’t interact much directly, but whenever we did she was always warm and friendly. She was great with the students, too.
Several years have passed since she moved away and stopped being a regular part of my life. Since then, she has started a family and moved a couple of times. We didn’t really keep in touch. I’m not sure when the last time I spoke to her was. And now she is gone. But I believe in the Home that she hoped for, too. I know I will see her again.
“There is a loneliness that subsides only for a little while, usually with a hug or a warm smile.” I want to be someone who drives back loneliness with a hug or smile, even if only temporarily, the way Kylee did for so many. I want to be someone who lives with Home in her heart, and strives to show others the path that leads there, too.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
~ I Corinthians 13:13
This entry was originally posted at http://hymnia.dreamwidth.org/143996.html.