It hasn’t been two weeks since my friend Stacie passed away. Side note: We need to come up with a new term for “passed away.” None of the current phrases work for me, so let’s rally and find something new, something more fitting. Also, I don’t like “in a better place.” Even though I believe that’s true, that one’s out too.
When I found out the date of Stacie’s service and knew it conflicted with my mission trip to Guatemala, it felt like a kick to the gut. I knew I couldn’t bail on my commitment. If it would have been a vacation, it would’ve been an easy call. There was never a doubt what the right decision was—and even what Stacie would have wanted me to do–but still, it felt beyond crummy.
My husband John took a video of Stacie’s service and emailed the link to me. I’ve been able to watch most of it in bits and pieces. The video is pretty shaky in some places. John told me that’s because he was crying while he was holding the camera.
Yesterday we had a Soles4Souls shoe distribution here at IMA. Joining that group, among other sweet souls, was approximately 20 teenagers from Napa, California. After spending the day putting shoes on little, precious toes and loving with her whole heart, things became clearer for one teen, Jacque. She said, “Today I changed my ideas about what I want to do with my life. I know now I want to do something that helps others.”
If you ask me, it appears she found her place.
I’ve cried off and on the past couple of weeks. And I bawled my head off on Friday, March 18th—the day of Stacie’s service. But I’ve also had the blessing of being distracted by 120 or so little Guatemalan girls. The loss of Stacie’s presence has been, at times, piercing. But I have been consoled by countless kisses and long snuggles. These girls don’t know it, but they have been healing me.
Stacie is in a place that has no words, so I guess there’s no point in trying to find them. So nix my earlier request. Stacie is whole, with no short term memory problems. All of her questions answered, all of her problems resolved. On top of full clarity and health, she’s probably belting out show tunes with the greats. She’s one of them.
I miss her, and that’s okay. More than okay. It’s a sweet spot. An earned spot.
Today is my last of ten days here in Guatemala.
My fuel tank is empty, yet spilling over.
I am exhausted yet invigorated, distracted but acutely aware.
I was supposed to be exactly where I am. Just like Jacque—we are not in “a better place,” but the best place.