Two weeks from today I will be leaving a place that feels like home to me. Not because this is a city with which I have any familiarity. Not even because I have deep personal friendships here. But, because this is where my friend lived the last few months of her life.
This friend lived many places, moved often and never felt like she belonged anywhere. Yet, whether it was an RV, a log cabin, a suburban mansion, an apartment or a mobile home, she always had a room furnished and waiting for me. She knew me so well that my bed always had cotton sheets, the refrigerator had organic food, and there was easy access to sunscreen, a protective hat and a hiking stick. A bottle of Kendall- Jackson Merlot rested on the counter with a glass imprinted “Too blessed to be stressed”.
My friend never felt like she belonged anywhere but she always made me feel like I belonged in her space.
This morning as I drink my coffee my eyes wander around all this beautiful décor that I will walk away from in two weeks and leave in the hands of an estate sale agent. It’s not that I want or need the things. It’s that I am overwhelmed with the realization of how deeply I have been loved. And I am saddened that I will never again visit my friend on this earth.
She is not here. Her ashes are on a glass-topped table that is held up by an artists rendering of a human figure.
My heart was stirred this week by Viola Davis’ acceptance speech at the Oscars. As I listened to her I felt a deep bond though I know this is a woman I will never meet. As she spoke the words I have copied below I recognized that part of my grief is that my friend is one of these people Viola is referencing. This friend is one who had great potential, dreamed big but never saw her dreams come to fruition.
My grief is deepened by the reality that, even though I tried, I was powerless to bring any of her dreams to fruition.
Here is part of Viola Davis speech:
“There’s one place where all the people with the greatest potential are gathered. One place. And that’s the graveyard,”
People ask me all the time, what kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola?”
And I say exhume those bodies. Exhume those stories. The stories of the people who dreamed big and never saw those stories to fruition. People who fell in love and lost.”
“I became an artist and thank god I did because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life,”
My friend was an artist too. She celebrated what it means to live life. She suffered the torment of broken dreams and in her words ”I am not designed for this world”.
I confess I would like to exhume her and make all her dreams come true. But that is not within my power.
I grieve as I think of leaving her home and the realization that I will never visit her again on earth. I grieve all her broken dreams, losses and pain.
Thankfully, I don’t grieve as one who has no hope, for my friend knew Jesus and someday we will be together in a place we both belong.
Until then, let’s join Viola in seeking empowerment for all the unknown people with big dreams and look with compassion on those who cannot find a place to belong.