Kathy was unlike any of my eight brothers and sisters…there was a melody only she could hear. She had a quirkyness that made you laugh and a logic that made you believe. She was not an especially deep thinker but she was wise – not a critic, not a judge, not a jury. She had that way of looking at you that at once made you know you were caught but at the same time know that is was alright because we were all caught about one thing or another. She was real. She minced no words, although sometimes you wished she would have.
There were many years that Kathy was gone away. She had made some difficult choices and walked some very rough paths neither of which I am qualified to write about…or judge. She made it through those struggles and I was able to develop a relationship with her that even after her death has kept me going. For a number of years she lived across the road from our family farm. There were many times I would sit with her on her old front porch in the evenings or sometime early mornings. She would play her guitar and sing songs she had written and I would listen. She would share with me things the Lord was teaching her and experiences she’d had and her dreams. Often times her thoughts were random and disconnected…more musings than anything…but then there were times when streams of life would flow out of her mouth and I was a lap dog. She was the second person I told after I had accepted Christ at 12 years old and after that we had a whole new world to talk about. We talked a lot. I desperately miss those times.
Over the years our relationship came and went like ripples on water. There were times when we were distant and untwined and then other times when we would sit, just the two of us, and reconnect the way friends, too long apart, would do. When I learned that she had lung cancer I didn’t really know what to do. I knew what the outcome was and I did not want to go there…not yet…not ever. Life and death are not in our hands. We sometimes know how, but the why is rarely revealed this side of heaven. Those are decisions we are not clever enough to make. Years later when it was discovered that I had lung cancer, I could not help but think of what Kathy went through…and wonder if I would be consigned to the same fate. And I wished I had paid more attention.
I am thankful for many things about Kathy, but the one I am most thankful for is her understanding of peace. Peace with yourself, peace with your family…peace with God. Because of the choices she had made and the things she had experienced she understood that it is important to do something about the things that are in your control and not sit on the sidelines waiting for someone else. She also knew it is just as important to leave those things that you can’t control in the hands of Someone who can – and have faith that He will. The three men in the furnace were not taken out of the fire but protected in the fire. David was not left in the camp during the battle but given the tools to be the front line – and alone on that battle line. Joshua didn’t cower in the shadow of the walls of Jericho…he stood on top of the rubble after they fell. Kathy did not die because of cancer – she lived because of Christ…and sings because of grace.
I am so thankful for the time she and I had while here in this world…and I am even more thankful that eternity is waiting. I bet she has a front porch and is there strumming her guitar and singing softly…