|We visit to remember not what we lost but what remains...(And now these three remain:faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love...-1 Corinthians 13:13)|
“Hey! You wanna’ come?” asked my friend on the other line. She knew I worked the night before but I had told her in advance that if they would go to the cemetery to pay a visit, if I felt okay, I would rather go with her and her mother if that was okay with them.
“Of course…If you don’t mind…I respect your privacy, too.”
“C’mon. Get ready and come down and go with us,” she replied.
The familiar graveyard site they both visited since losing her sister came to view. The brief laughter we shared in the car was replaced with silence as I veered my car to the left and entered the huge, white metal gates that welcomed those who mourned daily for their loved ones that they lost.
We washed and wiped the marker, as her mother placed some roses in the vase secured on the ground. I saw her grief but the eyes seemed to have run out of tears. But I knew deep inside, her heart was forever marred with a hole. The size of the daughter she lost 13 years ago.
“Must I forget remembering the day she died?” my friend vented out.
I didn’t know what to say as if she had caught me off-guard. I remembered looking at those dates on her sister’s marker.
1960 - 1998…
Careful not to break her already scarred heart, I replied, “Yes.”
“But don’t forget the memories she had spent with you. I know those loving mem’ries were your connection to her love that remains…”
As I was saying those words, what stood out in my mind was that “tiny dash” from those dates. I never met her. But I knew so much about her life. I knew she was a great teacher who passionately taught her students with the best she could, always encouraging them to reach their full potential. I knew she was a loving wife and mother to her two young kids at that time, not minding all the tasks on her hand daily even if it meant little relaxation. I knew she was a loving daughter to her mother who always coaxed her to enjoy her retirement life by encouraging her to go on trips with her family. I knew she was a loving sister to my friend because she served both as a sister and a father figure on those times that they had to fend for themselves without a father. She was that strength that held her family amidst life’s trials, shown through her faith in God and love that was poured into her heart, which in return, she readily applied in everything she did. People who knew her would understand what I just wrote though I didn’t know her. People who had grown to love everything about her because she loved genuinely.
Yes, I never met her in person but it felt like I had known so much about her because of the way she lived her life. That dash…That mattered. She had left so much loving, warm mem’ries to all the people she came across with. It was because she always put her heart in everything she did. Her passion to help others…The way she looked after her loved ones… She truly left a never-ending impression because her deeds were always done with love.
If only I could see these people's hearts who knew her...I know it would be easy to spot her place in those hearts. She must have left fine prints that were etched and would not be forgotten. Only some would do that. Like her.
Dash...A short symbol…A reminder how short life is. But this is the one that would stand out because what we do here matters. It may not mean anything to some. But to God, He is recording that dash…
"And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”- Revelation 14:13 (ESV)
"Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless" - James 2:20 (ESV)