The sun was streaming in through the windows of my house. At 2:15 pm, I opened my phone to her website and clicked on the link to watch the live stream of her memorial service. I watched as Jason and their children walked into the sanctuary. I listened to the musicians play beautiful music. And I especially listened to the words that were spoken at the beginning of her service. A man (I am not sure who exactly he was) came to the microphone and said “Welcome.” But then he proceeded to share how that seemed so impersonal. Because Kara was one who would take your hand and put it over your heart, entering you into her heart. And just as Kara was taking hold of your hand and placing hers over yours, her hand was also being quietly grasped into your heart and you didn’t even know it.
Those words that he spoke are so true. I may never have met Kara. But through her words, through her vulnerability, through her heart, I got to know this beautiful child of God. A child of God who ventured to share even the hardest darkest pieces of her life. And because she shared her story with so many of us, she indeed grabbed our hands and placed them over her heart and at the same time entered into our hearts. And because she shared her whole story, many around the world gathered to laugh, to cry, to mourn and to grieve this beautiful child of God this afternoon.
Tears streamed down my face as I listened to Kara’s memorial service. But then it was 2:45 pm and I needed to leave. I grabbed my shoes and slipped them on. I grabbed my car keys and walked outside. The sun was beating warmly across my face silenting reminding me of the beauty of this world. I opened my car door and sat down. I placed my phone in the cupholder and drove to the hotel where my friend and her family were staying. The whole time Kara’s memorial service played on my phone.
I pulled up to the hotel. I turned off the livestream; wishing I could listen more but knowing that the video would hopefully be uploaded later. Before I went into the hotel, I wiped the still wet tears from my face and reflected for a moment. Then I walked through the front doors of the hotel, turned left, went down the hallway and turned right into the pool area. I found my friend sitting at the table and her daughter happily playing in the swimming pool. I haven’t seen this friend in quite a while so we sat and visited while her daughter played. While we chatted, I watched the children and families all playing so happily. Deep inside, my heart was breaking for Kara’s family as they were at that same exact moment saying goodbye to their beloved wife and mother. But I also know that because of Kara’s own words and own examples that she would want me to be with those near and dear to my heart. She would want me to continue to “love them hard” so that is exactly what I did.
After about an hour, I came home to my house. I tried to get back onto the live stream but it was finished. I laid my phone down on my coffee table and turned on my television. A couple of hours later, I opened my front door listening to the first Spring rain falling. The aromas of that Spring rain wafted over me and I stood holding my screen door wide open, the rain falling lightly upon my face, and my head resting on the door looking up to the heavens; looking up to where Kara now resides and continues to tell her whole story. I stood there for a few more minutes letting the rain wash over me and then I looked up to the heavens and simply whispered, “Thank you Kara Tippetts.”
It was a simple thank you, but it is one that I believe many of us are saying to her and to her family because she shared her whole story with us. May we too, in the mundane days of faithfulness, remember to love big, to be vulnerable, and to share in the midst of even the hardest darkest places as well as in the most joyful places.
To read more of Kara’s journey, go here: Mundane Faithfulness. If you would like to help support the Tippett’s children, the family asks that donations may be sent to:
P.O. Box 49727
Colorado Springs, CO 80949
I am linking up with Barbie Swihart for the Weekend Brew and with Anita at Blessed but Stressed for Inspire Me Monday.