Written for Andrea’s Family and Friends and Read at Her Memorial at All Souls Unitarian Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, April 28, 2016
“There are three things that remain, faith, hope, and Love, and the greatest of these is Love.”
When Andrea and I spoke of death together, it was usually in the context of faith and my own passing. As my eldest daughter, it seemed rational and right that we talk about my last wishes, and I wanted her to know I was at peace with the reality of death and dying. And, of course, like all good conversation, I learned as much about her as she did about me, and today, and we are doing our best to remember her and comfort each other in the way we believe she would have wanted.
Andrea was born into a family with a strong and traditional faith in salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. As a child, she prayed as all children do, in the manner she was taught, she accepted those beliefs, without question, as children do, and as that tradition taught her, she accepted Christ into her heart and believed she would know life eternal. For those of you here who hold those beliefs, it is important to remember this and find comfort in that faith. Andrea loved the Lord, and it is a tenant of the faith she was raised in, that that decision is an irrevocable, that once we give ourselves into the loving hands of Jesus, we are his to keep and hold, that our forgiveness and salvation is assured no matter our spiritual struggles, no matter our sins. They are washed away in the blood of Jesus.
All kids grow up, and it is right and good that they question the things they have been taught, that they think for themselves and make sense of the world they find themselves in, that their faith, values, and beliefs grow in complexity and nuance, that they seek truth and create meaning independently. And Andrea was a seeker. She tried on ideas and beliefs like some girls shop for shoes, often forcing their feet into something stunning, with high-heals and bright colors, often without proper regard for fit, comfort, or quality.
Andrea was still trying things on the last we spoke, but she was maturing, and though it is fair and honest to say she was no longer comfortable wearing the same shoes she was given as a child, she was beginning to take better care of her feet. She had faith, but it was something bigger and more complex perhaps, or maybe it was simpler. It was in many way, a return to the faith of her childhood, though she was less concerned about salvation and eternity and far more concerned about how to live her life in the here and now. She had a fierce sense of justice, but she was learning to forgive and love in a way that no worthy faith could take exception to. I was proud of her, and understood her struggles. We had both wrestled with the same Angel, and that struggle taught me that God is Love, and Love is the manifestation of God that faith teaches us to hope for. Andrea is gone, and in the empty place where she once was we are left with memories, pain and memories. We will each struggle with the pain and loss in our own way, but we have faith — and hope — because of Love.
So, let us love one another. Let’s learn love, and practice love, like one learns to play the piano, not just in theory, or by holding the music in our hands, or by listening to it. Let’s take lessons and practice, practice, practice. So alone and together, we make music in harmony. “Since love is Lord of Heaven and Earth, how can we keep from singing?”