I was sitting in the Pritzker Pavilion of Millenium Park here in Chicago last night, waiting for the free concert to begin. I was reading through the Metro section of the Chicago Tribune, when I was stunned by what I saw.
There was a large picture of my friend Sarah Western (not sure of her married name, and I don't have the article with me here at the computer) in the Obituary section of the paper.
Sarah was a precious sister in Christ. She and I met when she started attending Chicago Tabernacle (my former home church) about four years ago. Her first time was on a Thursday night during the prayer meeting.
A few weeks later, Sarah let the congregation know that she had breast cancer, and this church prayed for her, regularly and continually.
I can remember Sarah coming to Sunday morning worship with her "head wrap" on because of the chemotherapy/radiation had taken her hair, and would always be one of the most loving and gracious people in the meeting.
I also remember how Sarah gave a brief testimony on New Year's Eve 2005 as to how the Lord was working in her life, and how the cancer was in remission at the time.
A few months later, this dreaded disease returned--this time to her liver and spleen.
The last time I actually had a chance to sit down and talk with Sarah was some ten months ago when she and I went to lunch after a Sunday morning service, with another friend of ours. Sarah was telling us how she had met this great guy, and how she was beginning to fall in love with him. We were thrilled for her. (And secretly I was jealous of the guy, because he was getting such a GREAT woman). I distinctly remember Sarah saying, "Phil, he dances with me, and that is such a dream come true. I've always wanted a man who will dance with me."
A few months later these two were married. This brave and gentle man married one of the most special people I've ever met. He also knew what he was getting into, and the Lord blest their brief, but profound marriage.
Now Sarah has gone on to be with the Lord Jesus who she loved and worshipped. I'm saddened. I feel a tremendous loss right now.
I'll attend the memorial service this Sunday afternoon for her.
She has seen "the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." She is "really living" now.