There was nothing remarkable about this particular winter’s day when the memory of Jo wrapped itself around me. I stood at my kitchen window watching the sparrows, all fluffed up by winters frosty breathe, fluttering to the feeder snatching seeds with their tiny beaks. With a layer of white snow and bare branches as the backdrop, the bird’s quick movements punctuated the afternoon’s bitter temperature.
I was easily lost watching the sparrows. In all their commotion, they always seemed to bring a sense of peace with them. In that moment of peace, I heard the words, I miss you. Music softly playing in another room had drifted into the kitchen and captured my attention. The sweet melancholy ache in Eva Cassidy’s voice was gently whispering its heartfelt message through her lyrics. With each, I miss you, and flit of a sparrow’s wings, memories of my dear friend Joanne covered me with the bittersweet balm of love. Though I often thought of Jo, today’s memories overcame me. Carried on the wings of sparrows and lyrics to a song, warm memories of a dearly departed friend filled my heart and mind. As it so often goes with family and friends, we shared many mutual interests and adventures together. I remember the joy I felt when I discovered that Joanne also took great pleasure in watching the sparrow’s antics at the feeder outside her own kitchen window. Jo had squealed with delight when she first heard Eva’s voice on our cars CD player; it was one of her favourites too! Accompanying this flood of warm memories was the stark realization that this month marked another anniversary of her passing. A profound sadness settled in my heart and echoed I miss you too.
We know that when this tent we live in is taken down – when we die and leave these bodies – we will have wonderful new bodies in heaven, homes that will be ours forevermore, made for us by God himself. (2Corinthians 5:1 TLB).
If I am honest with myself, the sadness I felt was for me; I missed all of the memories that would never be made. I missed Jo’s infectious smile, her words of encouragement, and all she held dear. I missed spending time with her. But when I think of Jo, instead of myself, my heart is filled with joy. I know that my friend is in the presence of the Lord; that she has a wonderful new body and heavenly home. Jo is free from all earthly worries and bondage and is with her heavenly Father; singing, dancing, praising. Glory to God.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” I take solace in the knowledge that time apart from our loved ones are but a moment by eternity’s standards. In God’s perfect timing we will be reunited with our brothers and sisters in Christ and with Jesus too! Heaven is our home. And so it is with a cheerful heart that I fondly remember my friend on this cold winter’s day. I remember times past, but I also remember her hope for the future. With eyes sparkling, voice bouncing, and a contented heart, she spoke lovingly about meeting her Jesus. Jo was jubilant when she told my husband and me that she would greet us at Heaven’s gate and show us around. We look forward to that day, and hope we’ll be her neighbours too!
Prayer – Loving Heavenly Father, we thank You for creating us in Your image and including us in Your eternal plan. We thank You for blessing us with family and friends. Sometimes memories are a source of comfort, and sometimes they are a source of pain. We give the burdens of our hearts to You in exchange for Your peace. Comfort all those whose hearts are aching and let them feel the loving embrace of Your everlasting arms. Open our eyes to the beauty and wonders of Your creation. Speak to our hearts and remind us that we are even more precious to You than the little sparrows. We ask these things in Jesus Name. To God be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
London, Ontario, Canada