Thursday, January 17, 2008

Karen Muyskens

I didn't know Karen well. Her son, John, was the star pupil in my Sunday school class a few years back at Church of the Servant CRC, in Grand Rapids. John was a quiet boy who prayed aloud for missionaries, who always raised his hand to thoughtfully answer my questions, and who, despite being part of a very rowdy and testosterone-heavy class of second graders, rarely misbehaved. From what I could observe, John was a mini-version of his parents. Quiet but thoughtful; big-hearted with a concern for others; a role-model for those watching.

It broke my heart today to learn that Karen, just 46, passed away this week. She contracted a mysterious bacterial infection that spread quickly and could not be stopped. Last week this healthy mom of three was going about the business of her life. This week, her life came to an end.

The news of her death has been something of a shock to me. It's been a smack in the face that reminds me how fragile life truly is. My grief over Karen's death has two parts. My heart aches deeply for a husband and children who are without her. It's also touched a deepest fear of mine that I will be taken from my family or, worse yet, have to say goodbye to one of them. Becoming a mother has sharpened this fear for me -- I sometimes find myself playing out terrifying scenarios in the darkness of the early morning hours. My mind can come up with a thousand ways that Mike or Aaron could be harmed. I wonder what their lives would look like without me.

As I process all of this, I'm turning to God's word and finding comfort.

Psalm 23: "...Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,for you are with me;your rod and your staff, they comfort me."

Job 5:11: "he sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety."

Revelation 21:4: "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."

I know Karen belonged, body and soul, to our faithful saviour, Jesus Christ. And I know that my family does, too. So I'll try not to borrow troubles from tomorrow, but just enjoy each day that I have, thankful for each breath. Karen's life was a witness to the grace and mercy of Christ, and I'll live mine with the same goal in mind.


Sittintall said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. It is very scary to know that life can end that quickly, and how short our time on earth really is. I know I have had the same fear of losing one of my loved ones. My heart goes out to them.

Sarah said...

Yes life is very fragile - and I can totally relate to what you are saying - I too have had that "realization" so vividly lately. I almost have to not listen to some of Dave's sad hospital stories anymore, because they cause some sleepness nights at times. But it is a good reminder to enjoy and value each day that we have with our loved ones.

Thanks for sharing those verses as well. Isn't it cool how God provides the perfect words at the perfect time? (: