Trish, A Memory Maker!
I can still see the smile on her face in my mind! She was at my desk telling me about the upcoming visit of Benson from Africa to her house. She had been discussing the possibility with family and friends and was sharing their reactions. It was well meaning comments that seemed to intrigue Trish! Maybe the thinking was that Trish had not thought of safety first and the possibility of her stepping out in faith turning into a disaster. “Do you mean that you are going to take in a complete stranger from another country into your house to be around your kids?” She was telling me her answer as a smile formed on her face along with a twinkle in her eyes! “Yes!” was her reply to the questions of doubt! I could tell that this was a position Trish liked to be in! This wasn’t the first time she did the unexpected! If she believed she was doing the right thing she listened to the concerns of others, but eventually did what she thought God wanted! The smile on her face was a smile of contentment and puzzlement. I think she was proud of the fact that she was like she was! The puzzlement part wasn’t about their reaction as much as her amazement of how once again she was defying logic!
This best captures the smile of amazement that she had!
Of course the safety concerns about Benson ended up a non factor just as Trish’s faith told her it would be. Benson ended up being a blessing to her and her family and showed them a different way of seeing the world. He brought to them an education that Trish relished because she was always looking for the behind the scenes view! I remember her coming in tired one day and explaining to me that she had talked to Benson long into the night. She gravitated to people who gave her a different perspective that she could embellish too! For all of the good that Benson did once he was here, it was Trish who orchestrated the whole thing. It was Trish who did not hesitate when she received the call asking if someone she knew could house Benson for a week. “He can stay with us!” was her reply almost immediately and completely on her own. Once Benson was here it was Trish that picked him up at the airport. It was Trish that made the effort to get to know him and made Benson feel at home! It was Trish that organized events where Benson could speak to different groups! We saw Benson and his wonderful ministry up close as again Trish orchestrated a luncheon for our workplace. Benson had a wonderful testimony but behind the scenes there was Trish making all of it possible!
Trish worked for quite awhile in our area before we got to know each other. Usually we’d say hi in the hall or she would be bringing a gift in as part of her job. She was a fund raiser at the University and I processed gifts. Naturally we formed an acquaintance but that was all it was. Then one day a little over two years ago all of that changed. The subject happened to come up about the Christian poem book that I had written when Trish stopped by the office. Upon seeing the book Trish’s spirits picked up! Although she never outwardly showed it Trish admitted that she was having a rough day. I think performing the duties of her position could be an up and down roller coaster ride. There was a lot of travel involved and she was feeling drained. She talked some about her position before of fund raising for a church! I could sense that although she liked a lot about her position at the University it really didn’t fulfill the big question in her life of “What am I supposed to be doing?” She talked about her missionary trip to Africa and how fulfilling that was! She told me that she would go back in a heartbeat! I read her a poem from my book and she was all enthused! Her wheels were spinning as to how she could help market my book! She told me as she was leaving how our talk had made her day! After that day we looked at each other differently. Usually when we see people in their jobs we associate that person to the job that they are doing. After that day we both saw the deeper person in each other who happened to be performing a job.
Trish was a deep thinker and that was something we had in common! I think that as a writer you tend to see things in a different way. Instead of hiding your emotions you express them in words. If you really hit the mark you are describing things about an event or experience that nobody really thought about! Getting people to think not only about the obvious but the other behind the scenes factors is my dream when I write! Trish was a writer too! She wrote down her experiences in the form of poems. Her poems were not usually the rhyming kind. Hers were more of the deep reflections that were working behind the scenes. She wrote about experiences in a heartfelt personal feeling way! It was like here is what you see, but this is what I am feeling as you see me!
As time went by I shared my website “lightenload” with Trish. She enjoyed my stories as ten times she left comments! Her comments almost always included some encouragement or thanks to me along with a message to myself and my other readers! They were based on her experiences and how she saw the topic from her perspective! Many times they were very deep and personal comments because Trish was a deep thinker! One time I wrote “What Are You Waiting For?” which was a story about anticipating Christmas as kids and how much time we wait for things in life, and how we shouldn’t wait to receive Christ. Trish responded to this story by showing her true heart! “I love this Lewis” she stated, “I was thinking about waiting in the grocery store the other day and anyone with fewer items than I had I would let them go in front of me. I am the same way when it comes to traffic. There are certain things to be patient for and most certainly God opportunities extended to us to act upon. Keep shining the light!” Trish showed her sense of humor after a poem I shared called “The Devil Is A Liar” She said “Amen my friend, He doesn’t come in a red pajama suit with horns and a pitch fork! He is a bit smarter than that. I love your posts and thank you.” When I wrote a story called “A candle In The Ice” about my family getting stranded in frigid temperatures for a whole night on a Georgia highway, Trish wrote “I wish I could have been driving then. I would have picked them up.” Knowing Trish and her sense for doing the right thing no matter what public opinion was there is no doubt in my mind that she would have!
Trish was a light in the darkness!
As someone who writes Trish realized how important encouragement was! Her posts were always thoughtful and always had a little encouragement for me. She knew how hard it is to put something out there. She knew that when you put yourself on the line you are inviting trouble along with agreement! Trish was a great supporter and inspired me with great compliments! She commented after “Benson’s Lemonade” which was the story of her and Benson, “Thank you Lewis, for using your God given talent to share this story. Beautifully written and true.” Another time even though our positions are some of the lowest rated she said “I think you guys have the most important jobs of all of them!” She was talking about my job and co-workers of processing gifts. I joked the other day about what she said. “She lied to us but it made us feel so good!” Seriously though, I believe that Trish meant it! She had a different way of looking at things and she saw value in the little things that others didn’t.
I played racquetball with Trish once. I had convinced her that she should take advantage of the Rec Center the University provided and she was interested in learning to play racquetball. Although Trish was a willing student she found that racquetball was a much more difficult sport than she had anticipated. I taught her how to serve and she delighted in the fact that she could get her serves in! We played a game we made up where we both worked as a team to see how many times we could hit the ball into the wall without it bouncing twice on the floor. It turned out that I stayed in the back and got a good workout running down balls while every now and then Trish hit one. Still Trish’s spirits were high and I heard her say in delight “I like this serving!” I realize now the attribute that made her successful! She had a knack of discovering what she could do and following through with that! She realized that she was just one person and she couldn’t do everything. Yet, she knew she could make a difference in what she could do! The glass was always half full in her eyes!
When I got to really know Trish I was seeing more of a finished product. Her triumphs and defeats that happened earlier and shaped who she was at that point were behind her. Yet she lived for the moment and the day she was in. Her outlook was on the future and not on past accomplishments. When she decided to accept a position at another foundation I was shocked. Yet when she took the time to explain her decision it made perfect sense that she would accept a new challenge. After she was on the job for a little while she came back to visit. “They don’t know anything about fund raising”, she said as that smile came on her face. Maybe they were shocked at the crazy ideas she had for them and the changes she was instigating!
In the last few months Trish seemed to be in her glory! She thrilled in her role and how she was making a difference! She was delighted to play checkers, games, or cards with people that had nobody. She was not happy when someone died that had become her friend but she relished the fact that she had gotten to know them! I mentioned to her when I saw her a few months ago that she was doing now what was really her. In true Trish fashion she said “I have no bad words to say about the University. They were very good to me!”
A comment that she made about the story I wrote called “A Baseball Game and War” really showed an amazing side of Trish! The story was a deeply emotional one for me about a morning at my cousins and his 18 year old brother wondering if he would be drafted to fight in Vietnam. Trish wrote a beautiful piece about her father and his experiences there. It was so pointed and so deep as she shared his attitudes and how they were developed. How he had buried his friends after explosions and the psychological effects that it had on him. At the end Trish said something that was very profound and presented the deep thinker that she was! “I don’t see the world like he does, but I didn’t experience the things that he did.” Amazingly Trish knew that we all are affected by our experiences and that hers were of a world of hope and love. Yet she understood that her father had experiences that shaped his view and neither views were wrong.
Most people will look at Trish’s life and say that forty three years was way too young for her to go. That is the natural human way of looking at death and I understand it completely. A friend made a very pointed statement to me one time that is so true. “Lew, we aren’t going to get out of here alive.” My pastor years ago stated another truth “the moment we start breathing we are starting to die.” God gives each of us a time here and whatever time he gives it is up to us to make the most out of it! When Jesus told the parable of the master that left his wealth to his three servants while he was away for a long time the master gave all three different amounts. In the end he expected each one to take their talents given and make an increase. Trish in her time here certainly did all that she could do to make her Lord and Savior happy!
When I wrote a story called “A True Friend”, which described the difference between a true friend and a acquaintance friend Trish made this deep in thought comment: “Very well put, I have been through a season or two where the true friends supported me in ways beyond what I can express. The blessings of a true friend is that we go through seasons and it is a reciprocal relationship. Cool thing about Jesus, He’s always there no matter what you have done, no matter where you have been, he will take you home and he loves you. Well it seems that Jesus has taken Trish home just like she said he would. There are some people that you meet in life that are memorable and some that you forget. Trish is near the top of that memorable list! She embraced life with everything that she had! For her taking a chance was not taking a chance as long as she knew God was leading her! She was a deep thinker who I will miss greatly for her encouragement and support! Frozen forever in my mind is the smile on her face that revealed everything that she was feeling behind the scenes!
This was a poem Trish wrote and asked me to review in early January. For anyone reading my Leaving A Record Behind story where I talked about almost drowning in a swimming pool it seems I would be the last one to know the experience she talked about. However the depth of her deep thoughts were so unique! Trish was a beautiful deep person who touched thousands in a wonderful way!
I remember you…
The touch of your
Eyes, body, hands, and soul
I knew the light I saw and felt around you
You knew intuitively my affection for water
The way that I could submerge
And I knew you would never make me surface while I explored
You trusted that I knew the water
You believed I knew when to dive, ride waves, and surface
I trusted my inner world was no threat to you
I often watched you while under water
Looking through the ripples on the surface
What an amazing journey
Somewhere in me, I knew you’d jump in to save me
But I didn’t need saving
It was a magical water dance
I wish all could experience
The dance continues on
Tides rise and fall
Waves come and there are hidden undertows
But knowing I have you my friend, I will surface
The water dance continues on.