Sunday, August 15, 2010

Life goes on

Best friends
Bonnie Schulte and Joanne Sampl

Dear friend, I hope you will indulge me as this post is a bit of a departure from my typical blog. This week marks the first year anniversary of my dearest girlfriend's death.

One of the blessings of the friendship that Joanne Sampl and I shared is that we fully recognized it was a gift from God. With that said, I don't know that either of us ever intentionally planned "I want to be Bonnie's/Joanne's friend." Yet, as the years progressed and our camaraderie grew, we took steps to actively nurture our relationship.

Our conversations ranged from business issues--What in the world is a brand's essence, and more importantly, why do I care? To spiritual matters--How do you think Abraham handled that long three-day walk to the mountains of Moriah (Genesis 22). To family life--Aaarrgghh. We're moving again. Joanne knew how to be a friend. She always made time for me. She incited me to seek truth, encouraged me to laugh out loud, and taught me how to back off and listen.

Since her death on August 19, 2009, the world has continued on, in general, and I have moved on, in specific. I've been having the time of my life in my new job at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. My husband marked two years with his job and he has a list of "rip-it-up/fix-it-up" projects that could last him two lifetimes, much less one. Our son's girlfriend recently accepted his proposal of marriage and our daughter was granted acceptance into her university's doctor of physical therapy program.

The world has experienced approximately 129 million births, a gunman opening fire on and destroying innocent lives at Ft. Hood, Texas, and a catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Thousands of gallons of crude oil have flowed into the Gulf of Mexico changing the area's landscape forever and the world's economy is all but turned on its head. Ah, yes. Life goes on.

In complete faith, I know that I know that Joanne's soul rests with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The pain surrounding her premature death, however, is still extremely raw. I can't say her name without stopping to collect my emotions before continuing to speak. If I dwell too long on a memory, tears inevitably pool in the corners of my eyes and unavoidably pour down my cheeks.

I firmly believe the last words I said to her. Days before she died, her loving husband, Michael, placed a telephone next to her ear allowing me to call out across the 775 miles separating us, "I love you, Joanne. Thanks for being my best-est friend. I'll see you again one day on the other side."

Whoever said death is a natural part of life was wrong! When God created the world, all was good. In fact, it was very good (Genesis 1:31). Death was not part of the plan. Because man chose to take matters into his own hands, however, sin entered the world. With it came the pain and suffering of death. Thanks be to God in Christ Jesus that the story doesn't end there. Through the life, suffering, death and resurrection of His One and Only Son, we have eternal life through Him (1 Corinthians 15:54-58). Amen and amen!

Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God!
He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:55-57 (NIV)

Blessings, dear friend.
Faithfully Following

1 comment:

  1. "Yet, as the years progressed and our camaraderie grew, we took steps to actively nurture our relationship." I can totally relate to that quote from personal experience. There's a really animated debate that I thought would be of interest on evolution vs. intelligent design going on at