Friday, September 30, 2011

The Power of Words

Before Sara died, she asked me to speak at her wake. She didn't desire that I share with others memories of her. Rather, she asked that I speak about who she was in this world. She told me that she wanted people who came to see her as I spoke.  She also told me I wasn't allowed to cry. It would, she stated, "Make things less effective." Love her.  A friend who was present asked that I (Shannon) put it up for all of you, who were unable to join us at the service, to read.

.  .  .  .  .  .  .

Gail Caldwell wrote: "It's an old, old story. I had a friend and we shared everything, and then she died and so we shared that too."  

Words are powerful. Uniting. They shape our view of the world, ourselves, each other. Words, in the best cases, make us immortal. Words are how I found her. Faith is what brought us together.

A friend send me an email, asking me to pray for a mother who knew she was going to lose her baby girl and carried her to term anyway. I immediately prayed, and then got online to read something called a blog. First time I'd read one. In. My. Life. I took in the entries from first to last, with tears streaming. My heart ached. I prayed. I returned again and again to follow this mom's story. In the process? 

I found Sara.

Our friendship was wildly unexpected. I linked to and as I read I heard her voice. HonestFull of FaithStrongTrue. Her words? They were her, and like a book waiting to be opened, I dove in. Heart first. Because that's how all of the great things in life are to be done. I sent an email explaining the similarities in our stories and assuring her that I'd never written to someone like this before, I wasn't creepy, and um, if she had some time, could we possibly correspond? She immediately replied with an, "Of course! I'd love to get to know you..." And, as it's said, the rest, for us, for was history. Day in, day out, doing "life" together. Only now, knowing what I do about her, does this response make me laugh. I'm quite sure that is how Sar answered every single person who contacted her. .

Sara did everything full throttle, both feet in, filled with intention and limitless enthusiasm, shown by the sparkle in her eyes for what most interested those she loved. She told me that the most important gift you could ever give someone was your full and undivided attention. Sara got it. She knew that to live well meant to treasure moments and seem them as gifts. She chose joy. Not happiness, which is as flimsy as a shirt blowing on a line in the breeze, but true heart joy which sustains through obstacles, disease, death. She make the hard choices. 



She chose community . Using her words to a build a life when her body failed her. She shared her faith boldly. She was realAlivePresent in every moment. She made those around her and those who shared her world via her words desire to enjoy their days as she would have...

No going back

No regrets

...taking the time to feel the sun kiss their cheeks and cause freckles, which she so missed seeing on her own. Sara lived. 




She was a daughter, a sister, a friend. She loved to sing. She loved to dance. She made the world's best volcano cake. She adored cheese...and Oreos, frozen and dipped in peanut butter. Some have called her inspirational. She was, but not intentionally. Honestly though? To me? She's simply Sara, my best friend. The one with the snort-filled laugh who made up songs for everything. She had eyes that twinkled and hugs that filled you up way past overflowing. She was my heart.

And here she is, proclaiming that it's not about her, in full Sara-get-the-last-word fashion. But this time? I have to disagree. Because it is about her, what He's done through her.It's about her taking the time to teach us through her words and her beautiful life how to be genuine and honest. How to love the Lord and follow Him. How to make our lives more outward focused than in. Loving well. Living well. Choosing joy. That was our gitz. And because here, in this place, she deserves the final word, I'll leave you with hers...

"Make it about Him, not you. Enjoy every second. Choose joy."

Well said, good and faithful servant. Well said.



  1. I'm sorry I couldn't stream the service to hear is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. You are most welcome, sweet one. It was a gift to be a part of her life and share in her service. It's my hope that others "saw" her as we did. She was incredible.

  3. shannon, thank you for sharing both this post and your life with Sara. i wish i had been able to do something in this life to make hers easier, instead she did it for me.

  4. I think you accomplished exactly what she asked you to. Thank you.

  5. This is an incredible post, Shannon. Thanks for sharing it. I hope you don't mind if I link to it from my blog post on Saturday. :)

  6. I so loved the ustream of the service. Shannon - I will be praying for you. The next several months will be difficult for you as you grieve the loss of dear Sara.

    I followed Sara for about a year. Inspirational and upbeat. I have her "Choose Joy" button on my blog as a reminder to myself.

    Holding you up in prayer. The same God who holds the stars in place, holds your broken heart.

  7. Thank you for posting this Sweetie...
    Wonderful ... perfect.

    Sara's tee-shirt that she wore for all at the visitation to see hasn't left my mind.

    It's Not About Me...

    God's been whispering so many things to me since that evening I logged on and read she was headed home...this is one of's not about me.

    Sara was a master at living that. At pouring into others and deflecting the questions and conversations away from her.

    I ordered a tee shirt yesterday, on the front it says:
    It's not about me
    on the back it says"
    It's about Him...
    love you Sweet Shan~

  8. Like Robin, I keep remembering the tee, even though I only read about it. That's a great idea to have one made.

    Thank you again for sharing this, beautiful soul. Praying for you still.

  9. Shannon,
    What have written about Sara is so beautiful and so true of her life!! Just as the Lord blessed Sara with a gift to write, a gift that she, in turn, used to encourage so many; He has also blessed you with the same gift!! The posts you have written here on your blog are so full of truth and encouragement!! I hope, that if the Lord places it upon your heart, and if, in some way, it may help you to go through this process of grief and healing, that you will continue to share your beautiful gift of writing!

    God Bless,

  10. Shannon,
    One word.... Beautiful....
    Thank You.

  11. Although I first felt like I was coming in at the end of Sara's story, I now sense it is only just beginning. That God is not done with her yet. It would take more than death to extinguish such an intense God-given light. And as for you, Shannon, I trust He is holding you close in your grief - in the loss of half your heart - and that in time, he will fill the hollow place she leaves behind with an exquisite kind of joy. The joy of being part of his work, his plan, his incredible purpose. Much love from across the miles.

  12. Sara lives on...not only with our Father in Heaven, she lives on here...through her friends. She embodied love....and that love lives forever. I cry...and I didn't even know her. I cry because I love knowing about her and Who she stands for. Thank you for sharing "The Power of Words."
    Sara showed God's love through her.
    What a testimony she has....