|Karen and I on a random dirt road in Kyrgyzstan|
Karen was the Associate Pastor at MPC when I came on staff as the Director of University Ministries and it was a gift to have a woman in full time ministry walk me through my first year. But what was even better was that through that year, she not only was my mentor, but she became my friend. A dear friend. A treasured friend. Karen was a woman that I wanted to be like in many ways.
In Karen’s last days of fighting ovarian cancer, she planned out her funeral service, or “celebration of life.” And her service was completely “her.” This is my third funeral in one year and there is something radically different about going to a funeral for someone who lived with every ounce of their being for Jesus Christ. Someone who longed for heaven, knowing full well that this life on earth is temporary, but real life is with Jesus. Someone who wasted no time and devoted all of their gifts and talents to knowing Jesus and making him known. Karen was this person and in so many ways her funeral was a total celebration that she made it, she achieved the goal, she won the prize, she was where she longed to be and we couldn’t help but celebrate. I know many funerals are titled, “celebration of life.” But there is little to no celebrating. The room is dim, the music is slow and weepy, the whole mood is heavy and low. I understand that death is hard and in no way am I being insensitive or inconsiderate. But Karen’s service was a complete celebration from her smiling parents that greeted everyone that walked into the church, thanking us for coming, to the Northkirk Church Choir that sang their hearts out and led us in worship that was celebratory and upbeat. Karen chose the scriptures to be read at her service and the pastors who shared words that were amazing and wonderful. I’m sure she chose the music too.
|Karen laughing harder than I was at my wedding|
|Crammed into a Krygyzstan bus with our college students, always smiling|