The Death of a Friend

Romans 8:37-39 was the Sunday Scripture read from the pulpit the day before my friend was killed. She was walking to church to cook dinner for the parents and children who had participated in Vacation Bible School when she was struck down by a truck and pronounced dead on the scene.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Thoughts on the death of a friend

I met Elsa two years ago through mutual friends. We hit it off and over the course of our friendship we had many deep and heartfelt conversations. On the day of her funeral, I drove in silence purposely taking a country route through the hill country to Georgetown from Austin. Elsa would have preferred that route with her deep love and appreciation for nature. So on my way to her funeral, I wanted time with her. No distractions.

When I arrived at the church she loved and served, I sat off to the side and quietly recalled one of those conversations. The topic had drifted to things spiritual as it frequently did, religion, faith, love, fidelity and trust. At some point, I shared with her an epiphany – that insight or idea that drops on us from out of nowhere. This particular epiphany had come to me long ago when I’d suffered a painful betrayal that left me angry, devastated, and abandoned, feelings much like Elsa was describing that day. I sighed and said, “Ah Elsa, . . . know that Jesus is the only lover who will never leave you.” Silence settled over the room. I could tell she was giving this idea consideration. She was like that. Then she looked up, smiled, and nodded. She got it.

As aggrieved as I am at the horrific accident that killed her on that street; as aggrieved as I was on the day of her funeral, . . . I have a sense somewhere in the sad darkness that settled over us at the moment of her death, there is a smile. Finally, my friend Elsa is in the loving arms of her faithful lover. Just as she was a true and faithful servant in all things, so is Jesus.

And God looked upon his creation and said, “It is good.”