Monday, April 19, 2010

Remembering Moments

We do not remember days, we remember moments.
Cesare Pavese

When I first found this quote a couple of days ago, I was thinking about springtime flowers. Springtime in Kansas this year has been a riot of color and fragrance.

I'm no botanist, so I don't know the "whys" of this phenomenon.

Maybe we missed a freeze at some critical stage of the plants' lives.

Or maybe it's just the end of a long, drawn-out winter, a season in which I covered hundreds of miles and didn't see anything other than a television screen. While I'm thankful for a treadmill, I miss the days of walking along my dirt roads, enjoying the sounds of the birds, the colors of the season and the time to think and pray.

But then a tragedy happened in our little town. And the quote's meaning evolved for me.

Before the tragedy, I was thinking about the daffodils outside my front door. For a few days, they were colorful and beautiful, lifting their yellow heads and stretching toward the sun. A few days ago, I noticed their beauty had faded. The beauty was still there under the surface, but their days in the Kansas sun and wind had given them the "wrinkles" of an older lady, still grand but somewhat faded.

The forsythia bush that provided a beautiful backdrop for our Easter photos has faded like a vibrant yellow shirt that's been washed too many times.

It's the season of life, I guess.

But some seasons are way too short. Such was the case of a beautiful girl named Melody. She was killed in a car accident on Saturday, just two days after celebrating her 17th birthday.

Melody spent all those 17 years living in Stafford. She was a junior at Stafford High School and like most students at a small school, she dabbled in lots of things. She was a good student, and she was involved in everything from sports to music to drama activities. She worked part-time at the local Duckwall's, where she always flashed her trademark smile as she rang up my purchases.

She was also an active member of our church's youth group. Each February, the UMYF hosts an Italian dinner and Sweet Tooth Auction on the Sunday nearest Valentine's Day.

I'm the newsletter editor for our little church, and I try to take photos of the activities. So I knew I had photos of Melody from past years' events.

(Lauren, Shawna, Jo & Melody at the 2008 event)

(Jo & Melody in 2009)

It's not that I can't remember Melody in my mind's eye. But photos provide a picture of a "moment" in time. I know her family is going through this process, remembering the many moments that made Melody the unique and special person she was. Her friends have posted memories and photos on a Facebook page that has grown to 379 followers since Saturday. It's a new way to grieve in this new age of social media like Facebook.

My words are so small for such a big loss.

Words - some of my very favorite things - fail miserably when I try to express my sadness and empathy for Mel's parents, her siblings, extended family and her friends.

This death is like a ripple on a smooth pond. It radiates outward to envelop a whole community.

My Sunday School class talked about it yesterday. The Bible tells us that "to everything there is a season," but we cry out that Melody's season was much too short. In our humanness, we want to understand the "why" of this death that came too soon for us.

The song that was Melody's life has ended long before all the verses were complete.

After the church service yesterday, we gathered and linked hands, forming an unbroken circle in our sanctuary. We joined as one in offering our thanks for Melody's life and our prayers for comfort and peace for her family.

And my mind returned to the words of the anthem the choir had sung earlier in the service:

"We are standing on holy ground,
And I know there are angels all around.
Let us praise Jesus now,
For we are standing in His presence on holy ground.

In His presence I know there is joy
Beyond all measure.
And at His feet sweet peace of mind
Can still be found.
For when we have a need,
He is still the answer,
Oh, reach out and claim it.
For we are standing on holy ground.

Copyright © 1983 Meadowngreen Music

I have to believe that Melody is now one of those angels we sang about.


  1. I am so sorry for the loss in your community. I feel for her parents and family especially, but all of your town will be touched. A beautiful tribute!

  2. She looks and sounds like a beautiful girl. I am sorry I didn't get a chance to know her.

  3. Thank you for this post! It has warmed my heart in these hard times. I will have to look up the CD you are talking about. I think it would be a good one for the family.