This week I received word that one of my dear friends from my university was dying, losing her battle with cancer, and that she only had a few days left. I immediately sent her an email, knowing that she could not respond, but hopeful that someone could read her what would be my last words to her. Last night I heard the final news--that she had fallen asleep on Thursday night.
I am thankful for this, for she has fought this disease for a few years. I am thankful that she did not die in pain and that she no longer has to suffer. At the same time, I know that even amid the suffering of her body, she never seemed to complain about her circumstances or stop living a joyful life because of them. I remember something she wrote on her blog last year--about life being a gift that God has given us. And so now, I want to reflect on the gifts that God gave me through the life of Caitlin.
|Our last suitemate picture together, May 2012|
Caitlin had a beautiful voice. Every Friday night, a group of us would gather and sing hymns a capela in a chapel that had a nice echo. Her alto voice was deep and strong. It resounded and many times penetrated my heart. The hymns she sang with such joy, thoughtfulness, and sincerity. Caitlin was also a gifted violinist and pianist. Whenever she played, I felt like the music flowed from the beauty of her soul--of Christ living in her.
|Martina and John's Wedding Reception, May 2012|
Caitlin's giggle always made me smile and was very contagious. Her eyes twinkled and almost seemed to laugh whenever she had a bright smile on her face, which was more often than not. When she wasn't smiling, it was because she was comforting someone in sorrow. I remember one night in particular when I was alone in my room, she and Jen came over to see me and show pictures from the orchestra tour in Europe. After that was over, they both left, but Caitlin came back to talk with me. If I remember correctly, that was one of the moments when she asked me, "How are things with your heart?" I couldn't speak. I was struggling at that time--I don't even remember what the situation was--and I started to weep. She just held me and waited until I could speak, and then she listened and comforted and advised and prayed with me until my heart was at peace.
|One of the many notes she left on my desk at SAU, |
unless this one was from Martina who followed in her footsteps....
Sometimes she would leave notes and flowers on my desk to encourage me.
I remember that it was mostly because of her godly counsel that I began doing mission work as well. She encouraged me to go to Guatemala for the Share Him series and to go to Korea as well. So I feel like I can say that she played a big part as to why I am here today.
|The night of Caitlin's RN graduation, December 2007|
Caitlin & Saralyn, December 2007
I remember how, during the summer and our times apart, she would call at random times. We always had difficulty connecting, but whenever we did, we had wonderful conversations.
One of the most beautiful things I remember about her, though, is how in-tune she was with God and how much she knew about and loved Him. Her Bible was tattered and marked up on every page. She had read it so much that the binding was falling off, so Jen made a lovely personalized, Tree-of Life cover for her and had her Bible re-bound. During our weekly group Bible studies, Caitlin always shared deep, impressive thoughts that led me to draw closer to God.
Caitlin was beautiful inside and out. When I think of her, I think of this verse:
"But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ" (2 Corinthians 2:14).
|Our last picture together, May 2012|
I look forward to the day when I can see Caitlin again in a perfect body, when the Lord calls her name at the resurrection, and we all go to heaven to live with our Savior forever (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), for it is He and He alone who can transform our lives in this way and cause us to leave such a positive and far-reaching impact on others as did Caitlin.