Yesterday we buried a dear friend of mine. I will always remember Betty's beautiful smile. Even in her last days when the cancer in her body made everything hurt her so, when you spoke to her she would acknowledge your presence with a smile that lit up the room.
This was a year-long process for my dear friend. She was diagnosed, for the second time, with breast cancer about a year ago. She didn't want to go through treatments again, but her family begged her to do it and so she did. She had surgery and then came the infection and when that was cleared up she began her treatments. They made her feel so bad but she didn't lose her smile.
She came home but wasn't there long before it was decided that a care facility would be the best option for her, just until she got her strength back. She didn't want to go...she wanted to be home, but she went and I think she appreciated the care that she received there. She came home for a short time but had to return to the center for follow-up care. She never came home again.
Friends would stop by and always by her side, as much as she would let him, was her husband. Max wanted her just to get well, and "to come home and take care of me." What he didn't recognize right away was that she was. She would tell him it was time to go home. She would tell him to be sure to stop by the church and have the evening meal with us so that he had a little food and a lot of friends. She would tell him to call her when he got home so she knew that he was safe. She wasn't home, but she never stopped taking care of him.
Not that she minded caring for him. That's what she promised to do so many years ago. And she didn't stop. Until a week ago, when she just couldn't do it any more. But what she taught him in this last year is that he can care for himself. That the family won't fall apart because she's not there to hold them together. She taught us all that there is a grace that most of us will never fully find. It comes from a place within that restores and refills. A place called love. Seeing the bad, but forgiving and understanding. Facing the challenges, but persevering. Loving....through all of it...loving...everyone.
You can rest now, Betty. Enjoy this new life you've just begun. No more pain. No more sickness. No more medicine. We understand your message. I'm not sure we'll ever get it as well as you did, but we'll do our best and that's all you ever asked, isn't it?
So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:6-8