Dancing Barb

This post is about a very dear friend who succumbed to cancer last December.  I penned these words in my journal as a letter to her, and then later shared them with her husband.  With his consent I now share them with you.  Barb’s life was an incredible witnessof living Jesus out loud.  She inspires me to choose joy and to share God’s love no matter how I feel.
Dear Barb,

I so admire your love for God and your radiant reflection of Him to the world.  I remember many of the amazing things you did and your impact on others, but there was this one time that really punctuated your selfless, carefree, loving-life attitude.

We were with Northside Community Church at Navy Pier for a ladies night out.  There was an area with a DJ and most of the ladies were having a blast on the dance floor.  I secured one of the few open spots to sit and saved you a seat.  You danced a little but your meds caused your legs and feet to burn and hurt, so you didn’t last long.  You weren’t visibly uncomfortable but I could see your smile ended a bit prematurely as you interacted with the other ladies.  So, while you didn’t want to take the seat I patted beside me, you were grateful for the bit of horizontal space in a very crowded area. 

As we sat and watched the ladies having a loud, fun time, a gentleman who appeared to be homeless began dancing off to our right, away from the main body of dancers.  You of course noticed him.  You have a special radar for those outside the graces of civil society.  So, what do you do? Even wracked with pain, you rise and join him dancing.  You complete the picture – bringing what would be considered odd and sad; a dirty, shabbily dressed man dancing off to the side by himself, into the beautiful picture of a man dancing with a lady.  He was delighted and his face lit up with funYou were absolutely glowing!  Despite the pain and the fact that your legs weren’t working well, you were lighting up the dance floor. 

I marveled at your determination to be joyful over succumbing to the clutches of pain that latched on to your legs and feet, trying their best to keep you in your seat.  But they never stood a chance!  And when our eyes met as you did a slow turn that involved many careful baby steps, you assured me that you were having a ball and that this man was the biggest blessing of your day! 
Oh Barb, you are one of the rare ones who receive even more blessings by giving blessings.  I think that sums up who you grew to be in Christ.  You were purposeful with your life – which was to live on purpose for Christ.  Because of the hope we have in Him we are assured a seamless transition when we die, but frankly there was no transition for you in spirit on December 4th, because you were living eternal life as soon as you loved your Savior.  The truth Barb, is that you have not skipped a beat.  While everyone has wonderful stories of you dancing, your real story is about looking for and finding opportunities to share the love of Christ, as best as you could, with those around you. 

Most of our times together weren’t dancing, they were girlfriend times experiencing life together as women and mothers.  We contemplated God’s mysteries, questioned His thinking, praised His graciousness, trusted His timing, and loved His mercy.  Your choice to love life despite your fate is proof to me that choosing Jesus is the only way to make that possible.  You lived out Philippians 4:8,

Whatever is TRUE
Whatever is NOBLE
Whatever is RIGHT
Whatever is PURE
Whatever is LOVELY
Whatever is ADMIRABLE –
If anything is EXCELLENT
Or praiseworthy,
THINK about such things.

Barb that is what you did in life.  That is what everyone saw and was in awe of.  I celebrate you and your choice to live out Jesus. And for all the blessings you received by blessing others, may you have an endless supply of crowns to cast at the feet of our spectacular Savior, now that you are gloriously face to face with Him. 

In my mind I see your glowing smile as you danced with that man at Navy Pier and I know just what you look like now dancing with the God, who became man, so we all might know His full blessing.  Thank you Barb for living and loving graciously.  I have been profoundly blessed by you…. Here’s another crown dear, aim well for me!

Love Karyn~ 

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