A good friend of mine, named Kimberly, was in a fatal car accident Thursday morning. I know only a few details. She wasn’t feeling well, but drove to work any way — she wouldn’t have wanted to let her employer down by calling in sick unless she was too ill to stand. There was ice on the road, and she swerved. Someone in an oncoming car hit her (he was taken to the hospital and is expected to recover). She was killed instantly.
I had one of my regular posts all planned out, but I couldn’t write it. I couldn’t just pretend everything is normal. It’s not. This kind of accident could happen to anyone, but it didn’t. It happened to Kimberly.
Kimberly was a peacemaker who loved to help people, and she seemed to attract those who needed her. She often wondered why friends, acquaintances, and people she had never even met would seek her out to share their problems. I think I know at least part of the reason why. They knew she would listen to them. If you needed to talk, you could trust that Kimberly was listening. And once you were one of Kimberly’s friends, she wasn’t just content to listen and not do anything. She could recognize when people started rehashing grievances in an unhealthy way, and she would challenge you to change. If your life was falling apart, Kimberly would help you re-build it.
I can’t really remember a time before I knew Kimberly. I know such a time existed because I vaguely remember her family moving to Ohio, but I don’t have distinct memories of a time before she was my friend. As I grew up, I lost touch with most of my childhood friends for various reasons, but not with Kimberly. If you had asked me just a few days ago who I would have as my bridesmaids in a hypothetical future wedding, Kimberly is one of only four girls who would have instantly come to mind.
In the past few years, mainly because of distance and college and work schedules, we did not see each other as much as I wish we had. I have a very fond memory of going to see Tangled with her and my sister, then eating lunch at Applebees. Why didn’t we do the same for Frozen? I’m sure we could have managed to find a day that would have worked, but everyone is so busy and we have all the time in the world, right?
She was 22 years old, and very close to graduating from college. Her degree would have been in computer science engineering. When she and my sister started talking about engineering, math, or science, I couldn’t follow even half the conversation. I’d just sit there wondering how two people could be so enthusiastic about discussing equations that would send most people into a panic if they were asked to solve it. She also wrote poetry, which I could never convince her to let me read.
There’s a phrase that keeps running through my mind: “in sure and certain hope of the resurrection into eternal life.” It’s from the funeral service in The Book of Common Prayer. I think I’ve probably heard it more in films than in real life, but for some reason that’s what keeps popping into my head.
earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection to eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be like unto his glorious body, according to the mighty working, whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself.
On Thursday night there were three passages of scripture I turned to: “…the Father of mercies and God of all comfort…” (2 Cor. 1:3-7); “…even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus…” (1 Thes. 4:13-18); “…now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep…”(1 Cor. 15:12-56). Paul says, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Cor. 15:19, KJV). I would hate to try going through something like this without the hope and peace that God is ready to pour out in us — this is miserable enough as it is. For Kimberly, the next thing she knows will be a glorious resurrected life with God. For us still here, we hurt. And we miss her.
Please pray for Kimberly’s family — her father, mother, and younger sister, as well as aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents.