Sara had a disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis. This disease inflames the joints between bones and eventually fuses the bones together. People with this disease live in constant overwhelming pain. Sara went from being a vivacious working woman to bed ridden. She became a prisoner to her apartment and her body- or that's how I would look at it. She used that devastating disease that was slowly taking her life to bring joy to others. She lived more in her last years than I feel like I did in my whole life. Her physical body might have been frozen but her spirit and heart soared above the heavens. She was free.
She refused to let bitterness over take her. She refused to be lonely. She was a constant reminder of joy. She reached out to people. She created a community. Many women I love and respect talk about her being their hero. She was at weddings, baby showers, and so many other important moments via skype. She would reach out to those that were hurting and comfort them in a way that only the dying can. She understood broken dreams, loneliness fear, and many other hurts. She cried with them and laughed with them. She reached out to a hurting world and used her pain to heal.
"...I have lived in this condo since I was 29 years old. I haven't left it, ventured out, even open a window in years. It's where I am, where I will always be, and yet when someone says the word 'home' I don't think here.
I don't think anywhere, really. I think who.
Because my home rests in the hearts of people."
Home. Oh, my heart aches. I have such a restless spirit. I want to be here, I want to go home. I don't know what I want. Why can't I have her peace? I long to be back where I can hear the wind though the trees. Where I can feel the cool grass between my toes as the cicadas sing their song as the sun sets. I want to hear the birds sing. I want to be surrounded by life.
I am. It isn't the life I grew up with. It always startles me when I hear birds out here, but there is life. I need to take Sara's perspective. There is a little girl who loves to make you giggle and an amazing boy who loves to sing. I am loved by a man who worships the ground I walk on. I have a house- that is way bigger than I need but perfect for the someday when I have friends to entertain. I am blessed and I feel selfish for being so unhappy.
Choose Joy. Did you know that is her handwriting on the stone? Did you know people all over are getting her words tattooed? I think that will be my next tattoo. This woman has been sweetly reminding me of things over the last couple months. A woman I never met has tears from me. She might have been lonely every once in a while but she was never alone. She had thousands of people cheering her on. Her hope and honesty resonates through her blog. She is whispering to me. There is peace.
I hope God is showing her how many people are celebrating her and her life and I hope some day I can hug her and thank her for being there for me during a somewhat dark time in my life. I hope to show her my tattoo and ask if she realizes how incredibly she lived her life.