Thursday, March 29, 2012

Celebrating Christen

March 29, 2012. A date that has been on the calendar for quite some time – marked far in advance as a day of great celebration. Today would have been Christen’s 30th birthday. I remember her mentioning on more than one occasion how excited she was about it. She was so ready to celebrate.

When I moved back to New York in 2010, I wasn’t sure when I’d return to Chicago for a visit, but March 29, 2012 was a date in the back of my mind that I would do my best to get back for.

When I think back to my 30th birthday, Christen will always come to mind. She hosted my birthday party at her place and it was one of my fondest memories of our group of friends gathered together in a beautiful time of fellowship. When she would talk about her upcoming 30th, I always wanted her day to be just as special and memorable.

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of Christen in some way or another. Though I may not share what’s on my heart with others, she’s always on my heart. I have pictures of Audrey and Hudson saved as my wallpaper on my laptop and my phone. I look at their faces every day. I look at Joe’s blog every day. I think of them and pray for them so often.

The fact that Christen is no longer here is still so surreal. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up my phone to call her or started to text her a prayer request or something silly. The other day I realized that I had all my voicemails from Christen saved from the past year and a half. I cried listening to her voice. And I laughed a few times, too. She was so caring and wise but she also had such a fun, silly side. The voicemails highlighted her so perfectly. She was such an amazing friend and I miss her so much. I am so grateful to have known her for the years that I did and I will always treasure the special memories we shared.

Christen is celebrating today, that’s for sure. A celebration far greater than any of us envisioned for this day. I can just picture her rejoicing with Jesus, wearing that beautiful smile of hers. She shined so brightly on this earth with the light of the One she now resides with. Her Creator. Her Savior. Her King.

March 29, 2012. A date marked far in advance as a day of celebration. And a day of celebration it is indeed.

My dear, dear sister, Christen…

I love you. I miss you. I celebrate you.

And though it's with tears, I rejoice today
because I know you are rejoicing.

Extra Love.


Shelly70x7 said...

J, you took the VERY words from my own heart and life and wrote them here. Seriously, everything I have been thinking, working through and everything I have done, you said right here. I just found a letter from Christen that she wrote to me before I left for Africa last year. I balled like a baby. The letter was all dirty because I carried it with me to the summit of Kili and around the orphanage in Malawi. Such a treasure to have found again. Sometimes it's hard to say how much she means...I'm glad you were able to start :) Love you much

Lis said...

You celebrated her well, my friend.

Happy birthday, Christen!