Here are a few of my favorite photos of my friend Linda. I chose these because you can see her enthusiasm for the Burlington Volunteer Fire Department of Burlington, Maine.
Never heard of Burlington, Maine? Well, 11 years ago, neither had Linda. She lived in Texas, and in the 80’s studied wildlife at the University of Maine. She always wanted to return. She found out about a log home that came up for sale, bought it, and moved here permanently.
She set about making friends, getting involved in community organizations, and embraced a lifestyle of wood stove heat and organic gardens.
Linda was a unique person, to say the least. She touched many people both in Texas and in Maine. She made everyone feel important by taking time to listen to them, help them, give them rides, and many other acts of kindness that would make Jesus proud. Was she perfect? Depends on the lens through which you view the human race.
I had the privilege to count her among my friends, one that I shall miss beyond words.
Why do I refer to her in the past tense? Early this morning Linda let go of this life to join her Lord and Savior in heaven. I can hear Him now saying, “Well done, my faithful servant. Well done.”
This morning was another first: we could not see the lake, nor the hills, nor the sky. It was gray. All gray. It looked like the edge of the earth. We’ve had other mornings when the fog obscured one’s sight. In the summer it’s neat to paddle out into the mist and try to get to the center so that all shorelines are unseen. But this fall morning held something special.
Little did I know how special this day would be. It was my Uncle Anthony’s birthday. I had even sent a card to him, this being his first birthday alone since my Aunt Muriel died last March.
Later the sun came out, and the image of the world dropping off disappeared as the lake, horizon, and sky came back in to view. Then the phone rang.
My uncle had passed away – on his 83rd birthday! We had just seen him last summer when he drove up from his home in Boston to check on the work we had contracted on his camp. We went to the Lucerne Inn for a wonderful dinner, full of memories and stories. We talked a lot about his wife – my mother’s sister – who had just died in March after a very long, debilitating illness. He missed her so, grieved daily, and vowed to keep the camp in the condition that she would want.
And now he has joined her in death. It’s as if they have stepped off the edge of the world together, into the gray mist that hides from us what lies beyond. We can no longer see them, or feel their hugs. But they are there, just beyond the edge of the earth.