Thursday, October 27, 2016

So great a cloud of witnessess...

This October has been one of the most beautiful that I can remember. Brisk, cool mornings--the dew soaking my shoes through before 9 am. October: month of reflection, preparation, cool mornings and hot, sunny afternoons. Last October was an emotional roller coaster of a time: a dear woman passed away, Tim and I learned of the job we now hold, our wedding was two months away, and we were two months into our year-long internship.

October 15, 2015 | A gorgeous day spent outside with fellow seminarians making apple cider. It was in the midst of this community that I learned of Tracy's passing. In the midst of the most perfect fall day of flannel, organic apples, and fresh-pressed cider, we learned of the worst news imaginable. They don't go together--the joy and perfection of a fall day and the death of a beautiful, kind, joyful woman.

October 15, 2016 | Was the same kind of day. The quintessential fall day of cool mornings, vibrant leaves, and warm afternoons. Most of this day was spent in a classroom for a weekend intensive. I had been asked to craft a worship center on the theme "A Great Cloud of Witnesses." A year removed from her death, I reflected on the woman whom I consider to be one of my witnesses. As I moved heavy bricks, wound tulle, and lit candles, I remembered Tracy. I remembered her excited phone call upon receiving my Bethany application. I remembered Tracy tearfully, purposefully, mightily standing up for young women ministers. I remembered Tracy's beautiful worship style and invitational leadership. I remembered our walk to enjoy Harvey's in Bridgewater--talking about call and the happiness in our lives. I remembered her talking about her future husband and meeting him online, and how it's okay to date outside the Brethren pool. I remembered meeting her after she had raced through the airport to make our international flight to Burma. I remembered joy, belly laughs, intentional conversation, journeys, bible studies, ice cream, and real talk.

I was in the chapel of Bethany Seminary--in a place to which Tracy had helped call me, had journeyed with me. The perfect fall light illuminating the otherwise dim, dormant sanctuary. Her rays of light continue to shine upon me like the hot afternoon October sun--adding warmth to a cool day.

© Katie H.
Maira Gall