Essays by Janelle Darnay
Letters from Ruthie
My Journey as a Christian
Letters from Ruthie
I remember when it happened like it was yesterday. It occurred, on a day when I looked through Facebook and sought out Ruthie, my childhood best friend. I entered her name in the search engine, excited to reconnect with her.
It was going to be so fun catching up with Ruthie and finding out how she was. I smiled when I thought of all the things we had been through. We had been best buddies all through grade school and on through high school. She was my maiden of honor at my wedding. We managed to keep up with each other, off and on, through the years. That was until a few years back. Life caught up with us and drifted us apart as it often does.
Somehow, my Facebook search led me to something I never expected, something that totally shocked me.
No. It couldnít be!
What I found was her obituary.
I sat there staring at it, in shock. Ruthie was still young and vibrant. She had so much of life to live. Perhaps I misread the obituary. So I checked it over and over again, as if it would go away if I looked at it enough times. But its reality was not leaving anytime soon. Ruthie had died of breast cancer two years back.
My tears flowed for two days. Merciless questions swirled in my head. Why had I not kept in touch with her? Why wasnít I there for her while she was going through the cancer? How could I have missed all those years with her? Did she know how much I loved her? I was angry with myself and heartbroken over the loss.
On the third day, God led me to my memory box. I figured why not organize it. And that is when I found letters she had written to me. As I gazed upon her words, decorated with penmanship that was as lovely as she was, so many factors jumped out at me.
Her silly nature made me grin at what she had written. Her sunny disposition shown in each sentence and her love for those around her displayed like a brilliant gleam. I found myself laughing over the situations she got herself into and touched by her passion for life.
Memories of our childhood escapades wrapped themselves around me like a soothing blanket. I fondly recalled how she turned cartwheels, climbed trees, and threw wild fastballs. Later on, when we were teenagers, we had sleepovers, tanned in the summer sun, and rode our bikes to the ballpark to check out the cute boys.
Our houses were separated by a grassy field, and we walked through that field so much that a pathway was formed. She was more than a friend. In our hearts, we had adopted each other as sisters.
After remembering all those great memories and reading Ruthieís letters, I realized that my tears of sadness had turned into those of joy. She wouldnít want me to mourn.
Ruthie would want me to grasp all the good times we had and celebrate the glory of our friendship. To honor what we shared and felt for each other. It was her way to be optimistic like that. This outlook echoed in every word my eyes rested upon. And that is what I have chosen to do as well.
When I think of Ruthie, I will always see a beautiful girl with dark hair, brown eyes that sparkled with happiness, and pretty dimples smiling at me. And in my heart, I will be smiling back at her. As long as I do that, her spirit will live on with peace and warmth. And itís all thanks to the day I found letters from Ruthie.
Still - none of that will bring back her physical presence or make up for the years not spent with her. Thereís a lesson to be learned in this bittersweet story. It is bitter because of what I lost, and sweet because of my cherished memories. Someone can be here today and gone tomorrow. Time does not wait for us. Nor can it be controlled. It travels in its own ebb and flow. I thought I had plenty of chances to reconnect with Ruthie, but I did not. Moments with those you love are a precious commodity and not to be taken for granted.
As for me, Iíll try harder to create more memories with the people who are special to me. Memories that will touch their hearts and perhaps even make them laugh or smile. And hopefully, it will bring about the same feeling of love that I received when I read letters from Ruthie.
by Janelle Darnay
My Journey as a Christian
I have heard it said that being a Christian is easy and that the concept is simple. It is proclaimed that all we have to do is believe in God, accept Jesus Christ as personal Savior, have faith that God will take care of us, and live a holy life according to Godís plan. While I am not saying these things are not glorious, because they are, I am expressing that the Christian life is not easy. Nor is the concept in the least bit simple. How do I know this?
I am a Christian.
First, there is the belief in God. It takes a spiritually insightful person to actually believe in something that the human eye cannot visually perceive. To believe in God, one must be able to see with the heart and go beyond the inner voice of doubt. For me, God is very real and always will be.
Letís move on to accepting Jesus Christ as Savior. Some may find it difficult to even contemplate that a man could be killed and then rise from the dead three days later to sit at the right hand side of his Father who resides in heaven. Accepting Jesus as Savior is more entailed than just accepting that knowledge for its own sake. It is a dedication to a life of worship, repentance, and allegiance to all that Jesus represents no matter the circumstances that come our way. And for that to happen, sin must be confessed. Doing that takes humility and conflicts with basic human ego and nature. Humility is not a painless road.
Then, there is having trust that God will take care of us. When my world was tumbling around me in big broken pieces of heartache, I was supposed to let God help and guide me in His own way and time? In this culture of instant gratification, that form of reliance and patience in a higher being has become a golden oddity. Yet I can tell you, in all honesty, that God did watch over me. It was not in my time frame or chosen manner. But it worked out towards my good. And for that, I am grateful.
Finally, we come to living a holy life. Godís law, wisdom, promises, and knowledge are nestled in the pages of the Bible. There are moments, in my existence, that have not been effortless because those biblical gems are not the way of the secular world. And although worldly ideals can lean towards leniency, I remain true to my Christian faith.
With all that said, I feel truly blessed being a Christian. Godís path may be narrow with surprising twists and turns. But beyond each bend is breathtaking wonderment. His love shines far greater than beauty itself and holds a splendor that must be felt to be entirely appreciated. I think all the varied depths of Christianity take enormous strength and perseverance. It is not easy, but definitely worth it.
by Janelle Darnay
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