“You’re there in the morning wrapping grace around what hurts.” I quickly jotted down this line from a Nichole Nordeman song as it struck me while I was listening the other day. I thought it was beautiful and put it with my Bible to ponder the next day. God is so good. I just fall in love with Him over and over. He had me write a note of encouragement to myself and I didn’t even know it. Little did I know I would wake the next morning to find out my friend, Traci, had passed away from complications of Lyme disease. I am stunned and keep stopping to stare at the blank lines on this page, hoping some words come to express what she meant to me.
Believe it or not, Traci and I never actually met in person, though we hoped to one day. She saw Dr. Sunshine just one week before I did and she kept me informed on what was happening with her, giving me the gift of knowing just a little of what to expect. It’s funny to say this about someone you’ve never seen face to face but we became friends. Kindred spirits in some ways. I’m feeling strange about the depth of loss I feel for her, like I don’t have the right to grieve an online friend but she was more than that.
Traci would check on my progress if she hadn’t heard from me in awhile or let me know she came across something that might help me in my journey, though she suffered so herself. She won a five-year membership to Thrive Market and, just because that’s the kind of person she was, she gave it to me. I wonder if she sensed she would be living with Jesus before the end of those five, or even one of those years. Traci was an avid follower of my blog and I always knew to expect a heartfelt comment after she read a post. Publishing this one gives me pause because I won’t be hearing from her.
I can only imagine what she must be seeing and doing right now. I think of her running through fields of wildflowers, experiencing what it’s like to have no pain in a body that doesn’t suffer anymore. Oh, how incredible that must be! I imagine she carried her love of painting with her, painting the sunset from a perspective she could have only dreamed of before. I picture her looking into the tender eyes of Jesus as He said, “Well done.”
As someone who shared my gift of spiritual sensitivity, I know Traci would understand my emotions. We feel all things, and we feel them HARD. My word for the year is “Free” and part of that is reminding myself that I am free to be who and how I am, the way God created me. I didn’t expect it to have to remind me that I’m free to grieve but I guess that’s going to be the first lesson. Traci and I followed writer Sarah Jackson Panther, and shared back and forth how much she inspires us. Sarah created The Hope Shop, handmade jewelry with beautiful meaning and Scriptures for each piece. My husband gave me the necklace called ‘Free’ for Christmas. The last thing Traci said to me was, “I was hoping you’d get one for Christmas!” She celebrated others so well. Now as I wear it, I not only remember that I am free in Christ, but I remember my friend who is now free from her suffering and safe in the arms of Jesus.
God is with her now, wrapping grace around all that has hurt for so long. And He is with her loved ones, wrapping that same grace around us as well. Another line in the song is, “Anywhere You are is sanctuary. Everywhere You are is where I’m free.” May we live in the freedom God gave us through Jesus until one beautiful day we join Traci in the ultimate freedom of heaven. My beautiful friend, you once said to me, “I get excited for you when I see your small wins… or big wins.” Though I mourn for us, I am excited for you. Today I celebrate your big win. I hope you know how much you meant to many. I miss you.
*In memory of Traci Morgan, faithful follower of Beautiful Rubble blog and seeker, spreader, and creator of so much beauty in the rubble of this world.*