With all that is going on right now - the frantic holiday season, my upcoming one-year anniversary, Ross's many recent interviews, hopes to lead a new ladies' Bible study group and the unexpected passing of a young friend - I have been, until last night, too overwhelmed to write. When too many thoughts and ideas crowd my mind, they are unable to flow as freely as they should. Instead, they jostel each other, clamoring for space and voice, and, unable to move, they fester and rot.
Last night provided and unfortunate remedy to that.
The news of Melissa Lynch's sudden death yesterday was shocking and I know that most of us who called her our friend are numb, unable to process the fact that a vibrant and beautiful young lady and fellow actress is no longer with us. I don't profess to have any answers to the painful, angry questions her passing has brought. All I know is that I am praying to my God, the supplier of all needs, who will comfort those who mourn with the completeness of his love and mercy.
We need time to express our anger, our fear, our regret and our shock. I don't believe that God condemns us when, in our confusion and outrage, we ask, "Why?" I do believe that he wants us to run into his arms so he can bring us peace - although he doesn't always provide answers. There likely isn't an answer that would satisfy us anyway. Why so young a woman? So beautiful and talented a friend? Why so perfect a smile? Yet, there is a measure of good that can emerge from all this...
Those of us who remain, who acted with her and therefore took a little part of her soul with us when we left Clarion, have regrouped. People who have not had much contact, if any, in years, have found each other again, carrying the matching banners of mourning. We have rediscovered common and beautiful memories - not only memories that involve Melissa and her great talent, but memories that remind us of why we fell in love with our art. If we close our eyes, we can remember the glowing glory of standing under a single, golden spotlight...the giddy, nervous laughter of pre-show superstitions...the thrilling triumph of a standing ovation...the shared intimacy of creating lives and a histories out of nothing...
The radio station is frequently listen to, K-Love, often features a guest speaker during the morning show. Yesterday, it was a pastor who has been encouraging his congregation not to make New Year's resolutions, but instead to choose just one word that will act as a lens through which they want to see themselves and their lives.
The word that immediately came into my head as I drove the icy back roads to the bank yesterday morning was "relationship". I had spent so many hours this past year fretting over not being a good enough wife, sister, daughter, friend, employee, Christian, leader. I made myself sick comparing myself to people I considered more successful than myself. I grew depressed and anxious, and more withdrawn than I had been previously. All of the beneficial social and relationship-building skills I had gained through training at Starbucks, Dollar Bank and Berean Fellowship crumbled from disuse. I wasn't spending much time with my friends. I was sometimes reluctant to help at church, even though such work previously brought me joy.
It slowly dawned on me that feeding my insecurities was not the way to build and sustain healthy relationships. I mean, I knew that and have always known that, but as I was driving, I just felt lightened by the reminder of that knowledge. Relationships involve sacrifice, passion, effort and determination. They rarely just happen, and even those that seem to happen organically still require nurturing and care. I felt that God was reminding me about my duties to the people in my life with whom I have relationships: my husband, my family, my co-workers, my church and my friends. And he reminded me that service to others cannot dwell in the same heart as self-loathing, so I must choose.
Just as I was beginning to make that decision daily, I was struck with the news of an old friend whose relationship I had let fade. And I was filled with sadness and regret at both the news itself and the fact that I had lost touch with her - and myself.
Although I would much rather have been reignited by something other that the death of a charming young woman, I am determined that I will gather up the memories - and the potential - of passion into a beautiful bouquet and display them where I can see and enjoy them as often as a please...and allow them to remind me that nothing follows us to the grave but the relationships we have built.