Monday, May 11, 2009
Peggy and Promptings
Peggy and I became fast friends as freshmen in college. Our dorm rooms were right across the hall from each other. Her roommate was the quirky, eccentric chick on the hall; mine was America’s sweetheart. She and I were the “real” people somewhere in between those two extremes and we found a connection with each other there.
My memories of her from those college days are that she never hesitated much when it came to going for the most out of life. She was a music major. She changed from piano to voice because she couldn’t lug those 88 keys around with her as she lived life to the fullest, but she could take her voice anywhere she went.
It wasn’t long before she fell in love. We were sophomores when she and Ken got married. Several of us on that dorm hall wore the blue pleated skirt bridesmaid’s dresses in the wedding. I was her Maid of Honor.
When she left the dorm and started her life as a newlywed, naturally we were not as close any more, but we still kept up with each other. I remember the first time she invited me over to their cozy little love nest and she made homemade soup.
Her first son was born before we graduated from college. It was another step in the separate ways our lives took.
After graduation, I moved away.Then I moved back. And got married, and then moved even further away. She and her husband had another son. And another one. And another one. And then she and Ken divorced.
We kept up with an occasional email. We’re not as close as we once were, but the memories of our friendship remained cherished and favored.
Sometime right before Easter this year, I got a burden on my heart for Peggy. I didn’t know at the time where it came from or why the burden was so marked and heavy on my heart. (You can read about that here).
We’d had a little communication by email so I knew she was ill. But, really, I had no idea.
My heavy heart led me to call her a few times. We never really got to “talk.” I got to hear her voice again. She got to hear me say, “You’re in my prayers.” That’s about all.
As the days went by so did the short but sweet attempts at communication. Facebook updates, mostly. I kept looking forward to a long, intimate girlfriend conversation with her.
Before I knew it, April was over. April ended on a harsh note for me. Some unexpected distractions in my own life kept my focus on things other than Peggy or that burden I had felt. I was busy staring at all the broken pieces in and around my life that had accumulated and piled up all around me over the last couple of weeks. I was fully engulfed in grieving over all that brokenness.
Then I got a wakeup call about my friend.
And an answer to where and why I had felt such a burden.
And another reason to grieve even more.
Peggy passed away.
She was only in her 40’s.
She died of a cancer I can’t even pronounce – leiomyosarcoma
I don’t know why things like that happen. But I do know that God’s hand was in my life because of it. I know without a doubt that the Holy Spirit was the one prompting me to reach out to her just weeks, days really, before her death. Although I didn’t get to talk about any details of her life or her cancer with her, I did get to hear her voice again. I cannot tell you just how loudly that voice is in my memory right now. The Holy Spirit made that happen.
I have been reminded how important it is to follow His promptings.
I can say this from experience: Today, if you hear His voice . . . Listen. And follow.
Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts ... Psalm 95:6-8