I met Sarah in college through a good friend and grew a quick fondness of her sweet presence. She would later invite me to come and listen to her practice her cello and we would often eat meals together. There, we easily learned to share in the deep hurts, fears and joys of our lives. I first remember when Sarah told me Jordan liked her and then a couple years later I went to Sarah and Jordan's wedding. When my husband and I moved to Long Beach a year ago we discovered we lived only 2 miles away from them, which lead to a lot of great times spent enjoying the McGraths, but in retrospect, not enough. The McGraths have become good friends to my husband and I and we have developed a history with them. We feel like we have not only been their friends but have really lived life with them, carried burdens, rejoiced in successes and mourned in sorrows and hardships. So when we heard them announce that they were moving, it came with a bitter sweet taste. My husband and I were glad for them and knew after hearing their heart that this move had the potential to give a lot of peace and rest where it was desperately needed. But we also wanted them to have that here, with us, two miles down the street instead of two states away.
While they were still here I chose to distance myself from processing their departure until they were already gone. I wanted to enjoy them while they were still here and I wanted be a friend that was for them: one that was encouraging and helping them move on to bigger and better places rather than making their last moments here more bitter and drenched with tears. When we finally had to say goodbye, the tears ran hot and heavy and didn't stop for quite a while.
Almost every week since they have left, at some point I turn to my husband and say, "I miss Sarah and Jordan. I wonder how they are doing." So I have begun my mourning of their presence, and I guess this blog post is part of that: a sweet remembering. It is hard to have friends leave, especially when they are extremely special. It is even harder when they aren't leaving for school, camp, or some other situation that would leave you with some hope that they will return. It's hard because it doesn't seem like being here is better for them, it actually seems as though where they have moved is a more fertile place for them to set down their roots...for now at least.
The first picture below is of Sarah. I ran over it as I was editing through these pictures and it immediately made me cry. Sarah is certainly one of the sweetest, most compassionate, gentle souls you will ever come across. I mean, her dog is named Sweetie. Yes, Sweetie. And one of her best pet friends was a horse named Honey. On a deeper and more important note, both Sarah and Jordan's consideration for the last and the least has been a strong encouragement and a true witness to me about the character of Love. She really is a bright star, and to me this picture of her laughing brings back so many sweet moments I have shared with her.
These photos are from one of the many going away parties that were thrown for Sarah and Jordan. The host of this gathering met Sarah through the Foster Closet, an organization Sarah helped out through our church. Many of the people at the gathering, including myself, are members of Grace Long Beach. You will notice many of them are quite a bit older than Sarah...I think those friendships attest to how her sweet compassion and love can attract all sorts of people.