Sunday, 16 December 2012

Dear Ellen

Dear Ellen,

I remember the day I first met you. Church camp, 2011, around the bonfire. My husband was playing guitar and singing so I was juggling a 2 year old girl and attempting to push my 5 month old baby to sleep in the buggy at the same time, whilst not blocking anyones view, whilst trying to keep him from crying. You were standing behind me and asked if you could help, took the buggy and pushed him to sleep. I'd never met you before, yet you reached out to help another mum having a hard time. For me that first experience with you epitomises who you are.

You are someone who sees people in need, and reaches out to help. Especially young girls, and mums, but you cared about everyone. Someone who was shy, and at first perhaps hard to get to know, but you'd still get out of your comfort zone to help someone who was on your heart, even if you didn't know them very well. I'm always amazed at your courage, when you were doing your job with Hippy - driving around, meeting new mums, helping them. The very idea terrifies me. You are so brave.

We went through some big things together. Big talks, big confessions, big tears, and big hugs. Pondering the big issues through books we and blogs that we loved. These are the things I will miss. The fact that you trusted me, what a privilege. Driving together to conferences and events where neither of us wanted to turn up alone. Worrying about people together, whether they were okay, what we could do to help. You were always willing to do anything you felt you could. 

Bonding over music. Every song (except for Metallica, sorry - though I do have a soft spot now for that song!) that was played yesterday was one I have on my iTunes too. I love that I have so much to listen to now that will make me think of you.

And now you're gone, way too soon, I was so so SO excited about your wedding. You never got to have a cuddle with my baby. I've got regrets, plenty of them. And there's nothing any of us can do. I know there's no point in asking Why. I know that it's natural to do it, but instead the only thing I'm left with is to remember you, thank God for the season I had with you, and to try to live in a way that will honour your memory. And this is not about putting you on a pedestal, and making you perfect, because you'd be the first to admit that you weren't, and none of us are. But it's about celebrating you and keeping you alive in us. This will mean a different thing for each of your friends and family, but for me, because our friendship was born of deep and meaningful discussions rather than the day-to-day fun stuff, it will mean this:

Noticing, caring for, and reaching out to people who are on the sidelines, people in pain, people who are forgotten. You were an incredible example of this to me, and you had more stamina and more grace than I did. Your memory compels me to carry on what you've started. I won't forget them.

Speaking kindly. Treating others politely, even if I'm annoyed. Showing respect. These things mattered to you. Kindness, grace, mercy. Thank you for being an example to me.

And lastly, spending time with God. Pressing on with Him, spending time with Him, reading my bible, reading books, seeking Him, and doing the hard yards - whatever it takes - to move forward with Him and become who I am in Him. Your courage astounded me, many times. Your commitment and your passion. The experiences we shared that I get to keep as sacred between us. I wish we'd had more time so we could have had more and more of them.

I know that you found true love and peace in Jesus, and you're with him now, and you "get" all of this, in a way none of us do. I look forward to the day that I get to sit down with you again, and we have a deep and meaningful and analytical discussion about it all that takes far too long, just like we used to do.

Love you forever,

Sarah xxx

Note: All the images above, except for her photo, are from Ellens Pinterest boards. Take a look through them. It's awesome to see what she loved. Let me know if you need an invite to join.

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