My friend Susan is a woman you watch with curiosity and hesitation; her hair is edgy and her style unique. She captivates my attention during a drop-in visit to her kitchen, and everyone else’s attention at a party. It never matters what others were doing when her story to her neighbor begins; by the end of her tale, half the room has turned their heads to hear the end. An afternoon with this dynamic retiree is a dose of laughter and surprise. On Susan’s wall in her dining room is painted a woman she calls Roxanne, lying down with honest curves just bare enough to make the prude raise an eyebrow. Susan painted Roxanne, like other paintings on her walls; the house is a witness of its owners’ gifts.
Susan is a paradox. Her unfiltered anecdotes and modern hair are not accompanied simply by clarity and acumen. She possesses also the compassion and humility that engage her constantly in service. She feeds endless lines of hungry young men who pass their days teaching the world about God; she prepares and delivers lessons to those just beginning their relationship with Deity; and wrings her hands with lowered brows in worry for her children who now face the trials of adults. Though failings never escape her, she recognizes each with the laughter and acceptance that only flows from a warm and genuine heart.
In her farewell talk to our congregation, she spoke of Christlike service, and told of a childhood classmate who once showed her a profound kindness. I’ll never forget her story. That day as she spoke, my friend Susan delivered the refreshing, renewing communication I have come to love; she testified with conviction of the nature of Christ’s love, and His desire to see us love one another. This is Susan’s way. She approaches the world with a combination of wit and empathy. She never fails to pinpoint precisely, not only the irony and humor in any moment; but also the profound truth.
But Susan is away for a while; she’s gone to work an adventure I’m sure will be grandly satisfying and selfless. She’s headed to South Korea on a mission to further the work of her Lord.
I miss my friend, Susan. Whatever magic it is that makes her approach life with such abandon, I hope it rubs off on me. I plan to write this charitable woman; I know her messages from across the sea will be filled with treasures and joy.