Today hangs heavy on my shoulders like the ornament on Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. I could probably write 3 or 4 blog posts about the incredible things I saw and was reminded of today, (maybe I will!) but the most profound part of my day came in realizing just how much we are all apart of each other, our lives woven together inextricably. Our celebration of Sandi Carlisle’s life at Mountain View Community Church reminded me of that today.
When our Pastor stood to speak about Sandi, he ended with by saying that we are all Sandi Carlisle. That each of the people she has touched have effectively taken on part of who she was. While that’s something you can hear at a funeral and think,
“Oh, that’s nice.”
It’s more than that. It’s true of all of us, and it’s why I’ll always consider Mountain View Community Church home.
I saw people I haven’t seen in years today. People like Jamal and Brandon who have discipled me in the past and are still relatively close to me now. Or like Grace, whom I only have a personal relationship with through three interactions spanning between strong reprimand and straightforward, no nonsense encouragement. Or Miss Wanda who used to tell me that I had such a cute face whenever she saw me. There were friends of my friends, older siblings of my friends, friends of my parents, and I even had a conversation with a girl I never talked to years ago because she’s about 10 years my senior and stunningly beautiful so I was scared to, haha.
Each of these people were role models to me,whether or not they knew it, or knew me.
I saw them from week to week and watched how they lived, even if we never said a word to each other. They showed me how to be an adult or young adult, and they built me, whether they were or weren’t trying to. I saw parts of me in people that I haven’t seen for years, I recalled memories, shared milestones, said thank you’s, received encouragement and advice. I remember and realized at long last:
This is where I came from.
These are my people, this is my story, this is my God.
I am the sum total of these people’s conduct, encouragement, wisdom, love, care, work, and prayers. This is who I am. This is where I came from. Even if I never have any interaction with any of these people again, I’ll be okay knowing where I came from. They may never see me graduate college, go to my wedding, see my kids, come to my funeral, or whatever; we never have to talk again. Still, they are the ones who built me and instilled me with all I have now. I feel just a little bit more whole today. Thank you for bringing us together like this, Sandi. I wouldn’t have seen that without you.