Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Joy of Living

I lost a friend on August 20, 2015. Her name was Frieda and she was the Minister of Music at my church. Her death was unexpected and threw our church family into a state of shock. I want to tell all of you about her because she was an amazing person.

Sunflowers were her favorite. I like sunflowers. I like the way they look to the sun and then seem to bow their heads in prayer. This was so Frieda. She loved God. She loved her family and she loved her friends with all her heart. 

One of the things I loved about Frieda was her sense of humor. The years I served as Lay Leader had me at church a lot. Sometimes I would drop by the choir room on my out to say hi, and I would find Rob and Frieda laughing. You could hear it in the hall.That joy of living. It was all around.

Every song was her favorite. We'd sing a new anthem, or get our Christmas and Easter music and she'd say, "These are my favorites." We would sing, laugh, worship and support each other.  She was our favorite and we're going to miss her.

Our women's retreats were full of love and laughter. Frieda would lead worship. She would lead us in song, and in meditations. She would also lead into fun, with our tacky dress day, or dress up like we did in high school day. We played games and told stories. I would laugh so hard I had tears running down my face. It was amazing and we loved every minute of it. 

She was one of the bravest women I knew. She adopted two boys who have grown up to be wonderful young men. One is in college and the other is a senior in high school. He is the drum major for his school band, and Friday, the day after his mom died, he got up and directed the marching band. I saw his picture on Facebook and he looked so serious. Bravery in the face of adversity. That is what she taught them. I knew his mother was looking down from heaven beaming.

She helped me be brave. With my writing and with my son. I didn't have any brothers, so if I needed advice about raising a boy, she was always there. Frieda's encouragement helped me step out of my comfort zone in a lot of ways. I even tried out for a solo one Christmas. I didn't get it, but I never would've tried if she hadn't been so encouraging. She was that way with everyone. Sometimes you didn't have to be an amazing singer to get a solo. You just had to have the heart. And her heart was big enough to encourage and help you in any way she could.

Frieda loved the kids. I was always blown away by her patience when working with them. From the littlest ones up to fifth grade, her work with these children was amazing. The musicals they would do were nothing short of a miracle. My children loved her and will miss her. God gave her a talent and a gift and she used to His glory. 

During her Celebration of Life, her father shared a story with our pastor regarding her third grade report card. Our pastor shared it with us. The teacher wrote (and I hope I'm remembering it correctly) Frieda's joy of living interferes with her learning. 

Joy of living. Wow! That's what I want. I want to have that joy of living. That zest for life to write my stories. That zest for life to share with my husband and children. That joy of trusting and fully embracing the gifts God has given me. That is what I'm going to take from all this. I want that joy of living to interfere with everything I sing, say, play, write and do. 

Thank you Frieda for touching my heart and being my friend. I love you and will miss you.

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