"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

4.25.2006

if we could see beyond the clouds

A good friend sent this link to Amy Butler's post on Allie. Amy is the pastor of Calvary Baptist in Washington. Gray, she calls it. The color of the sky, the hospital, the morgue, our hearts.

Gray is the only way to talk about this weekend. As my pastor emailed, "It doesn't matter that 'we all knew this was going to happen' because her death is just terribly unjust." I know she's not hurting anymore, and I'm glad for that, but it's just not... I don't know what.

It's unjust. It's gray. It's heartbreaking. You look at all the guestbook messages about Allie's life and you realize -- she really lived. Even The Advisor (about whose relationship to human emotions I sometimes wonder) asked me to send her condolences. The Advisor saw the life in that student who missed too many classes but never gave up and earned her degree in four years despite it all.

The worst part is over. (The worst part was talking to the CPP on Friday night about what outfit she needed to pick out for Allie to be buried in. How do you do that?) The funeral is today and they will bury Allie and remember her life well lived and everyone will figure out a way to go on and the sky will be blue again. Someday.

Here's the thing about being so far from home when something awful happens. You have friends, and they try to comfort you, and they aren't embarrassed when you cry in the internet cafe, even if it happens three days in a row. And they try to make you laugh and remind you that God is faithful. And it's good. But it's not the same. They don't know you like your friends back home. You don't share memories and stories and context. Everything here is so transient - people come for two months of research and then they leave, or they come for two years and their contract expires, or they were here four years ago and are just back for a weekend visit.

Some people are cut out for that kind of life. I am not one of them.

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