Beti was a small woman with a giant heart and an even bigger smile. She was always laughing and always making me laugh. She was a great person to be around. She was sure to yell at me when I would extend my hand for a handshake, instead of my arms for a hug. She was down-to-earth but enjoyed being far above it. She was so fearless, so fun-loving, so faithful. She was here for 29 years, and I am blessed to have been her friend for 5.

I will think about these things tomorrow morning at her memorial service. Beti died from a parachuting accident earlier this week.

What hurts the most about her death isn’t that she died from a tragic accident. It isn’t the agonizing realization that I can barely remember the last time I saw her. It isn’t how guilty I feel for not hanging out with her this summer, as I promised I would. It isn’t even that her last words to me were that she was looking forward to the meal I was supposed to prepare for her this weekend. What hurts the most is that now, I describe Beti in the past tense.

She was, she was my friend. She was my sister. She was my fellow church-member. She was dear to us. She was. She was here. She was with us in the past. But she is present with the Lord. She is.

She is walking with the light of the world, not in the valley of the shadow of death—not anymore. She is walking by sight, not by faith—not anymore. She is finally face to face with Jesus. She is seeing his face, a face brighter than the sun. She is hearing his voice, a voice like the sound of the ocean. She is touching his wounds, the wounds he suffered for her. She is in the arms of Christ, the arms he stretched out on the cross for her. She is alive, more alive than ever before, she is. She is with the one who died and lives for her. She is in heaven with her saviour. She is home. She is. She is not gone forever, Beti is only asleep. She will be awake soon. She will be.

She will be with Jesus and the other saints when he comes in the clouds. She will be with Jesus when he comes back for us. She will be ressurected in a new and perfect body when Jesus comes back. She will be with us again. She will be. She will be with us when Jesus makes us all new. She will be with us when Jesus makes the world new. She will be with us when death is no more. She will be with us when pain and weeping are no more. She will be with us when we sing new and better songs to Jesus. She will be with us soon.

She was, She is, She will be.

  • Peter Mielke

    Wisdom of Solomon 4:7-15 (Vespers, 3rd reading)

    But the righteous man, though he die early, will be at rest.
    For old age is not honored for length of time, nor measured by number of years;
    but understanding is gray hair for men, and a blameless life is ripe old age.
    There was one who pleased God and was loved by him,
    He was caught up lest evil change his understanding or guile deceive his soul.
    For the fascination of wickedness obscures what is good, and roving desire perverts the innocent mind.
    Being perfected in a short time, he fulfilled long years;
    for his soul was pleasing to the Lord, therefore he took him quickly from the midst of wickedness.
    Yet the peoples saw and did not understand, nor take such a thing to heart, that God’s grace and mercy are with his elect, and he watches over his holy ones.