This is a tribute to a woman's whose heart is bigger than the universe and who loves fiercely, even when it's scary to and even when pain is most certainly yet to come. This is for you, dear friend Amy.
I met Amy for the first time nearly five years ago on a staff retreat, as she and I worked at the same university. Immediately, I was struck by her presence because it exudes confidence and warmth all at the same time. Sure, she was likely nervous showing up to a retreat already in session and being brand new to the team (I was, too), but you would not have known it. People like this impress me and I am drawn to them. I was drawn to Amy.
The way I see it our relationship could have gone one of these ways: 1) just professional, but friendly; 2) friendly, and slightly personal; or 3) very personal and involved in one another's lives. We chose #3 and if you knew Amy, you would understand how it would be hard not to be very personal and involved in her life. She ushers you into some of the deepest places in her heart and along the way gives glimpses of a woman who has persevered through pain and comes out shinier for her King.
Amy always has been a touchstone for me because she can see past the junk and gets to the beauty of a person or situation. She has taught me that where I may only see black, there is still light waiting to be unearthed. This is how she sees people- even those who have hurt her- and this has been life-altering for me in so many ways.
We used to tuck ourselves away in each other's offices and I will treasure the times we cried and prayed together because of the burden of a painful situation we (along with a few others) were going through in our office. Amy always was my biggest cheerleader on our team and I can only hope that I gave her the same kind of encouragement she gave me along the way in those four years we served together.
When I resigned from my position at the university I was sad at the prospect of not seeing my colleagues and students every day like I had for so long, but Amy was one of only a few people that I committed to staying in touch with because she is someone I can always see in my life. And while our communication and time together since I left at the end of August has been sparse, she is still a dear friend in all the ways that count.
Some day my guy and I may have children and already I am looking forward to their meeting "Aunt Amy" and having her whisper in their ear "What was heaven like?"
P.S. If you think of it, you might pray for Amy as she enjoys the company of her cat, Pattie, of many years for what looks to be Pattie's last weeks, as she has cancer. Amy loves Pattie dearly and this is a very difficult time for her; she is essentially losing a long-time member of her family.