I have been sitting here trying to figure out how to fit my experience this weekend into a blog post knowing full well it is impossible. I recently lost a friend to a 2 1/2 year battle to cancer and Saturday was the memorial service. The funny this is, Abby-Jill wasn’t one of my closest friends by any means. Yet the thing about her is, if you knew her at all, she was a friend. She just was that kind of person. So the hubby and I headed back to Chicago to celebrate an extraordinary life at the church that we used to call home.
I don’t say that term lightly. People often use the word home when referring to the church they attend. But for many years Park Community Church was my home. I moved to this huge city and didn’t know many people and found this amazing church. Immediately I fell into a group of musicians who simply embraced me as family. Ryan came into the picture shortly after and we “did life” with these people. They weren’t just our Sunday morning. They were our Wednesday night, our Friday and Saturday night, our Sunday afternoon. They were our “family” away from our real family.
A few years into our attendance there, the church went through a semi-ugly church split. Suddenly this group of people that had been a huge part of my life splintered into all sorts of directions. Of course we kept in touch, but time tends to make things harder. We had kids and everything changed. We stayed at the church and made some new and equally wonderful friends. But the music changed and the people singing it changed and nothing quite felt the same. It was this moment in time that disappeared before I even realized what I was going to miss.
So yesterday standing in the space where church used to be held, singing along with the band that I started out singing with, singing the praise songs that are now “too old” to sing anymore, I could not stop crying. Not just for a friend whose life was cut way to short, but for a space in time that I can’t get back and won’t ever be able to. And then it hits me that what I am longing for I won’t ever find on this side of heaven. I got a taste of it yesterday singing Abby-Jill’s favorite praise songs looking around the room at the faces of so many people I love. This week Abby-Jill got to fully realize what I got a glimpse of this weekend. We aren’t meant for this world and I find myself strangely longing for that place when I am once again singing in a room full of “family” without a care in the world. Thank you AJB for reminding me and for touching my life once again.
For another perspective on Abby-Jill check out what my hubby had to say about her legacy.