Standing In a Downpour of Living at Peace

Another soul graced mine yesterday. She gave of her precious life to me. I am far better for it.

Katy is a teenager. Doctors can’t stop the tumor in her brain. She will die, soon, and she knows it.

Yet even from a wheelchair, she stands, towering of soul, soaked in a downpour of the peace and fine living that normally elude the rest of us.

I interviewed Katy for just a few minutes.  She faced the TV camera and this reporter as a mountain of fortitude cloaked in the sweetest humility.   In our short time together, she reminded me of some truths about life and how most of us veer from the path of how it ought to get done.

Her heartbroken yet stalwart father had just told me Katy is blessed to know how much time she has left, and can choose how to live. To both, I owe what follows here.  I share it, having felt it, deeply.  I feel it out loud onto the page and, I hope, indelibly onto your spirit.

First, most of us wring our hands way too much, worrying about what amounts to nothing.  We sleeplessly imagine the worst.  And this is utter waste of imagination.  It squanders our power to imagine — and live — life as it should be.

We tend to live as though we have a mortal eternity in front of us.  We do not.   We act like these fleshy little armors will carry us around forever.  They won’t.  Seems obvious, but we don’t live as though it is.  We live as though we’re stuck here forever and, thus, must control everything, NOW, postponing joy and goodness in the name of having everything under our control.  It’s folly.  The dying seem to know this.  Their wisdom is clear to me now.

Yes, we are finite on this ball hurling together through the universe. We cannot escape this, or the truth we were born to live in community, at some fine peace with one another.

Our petty battles, our fears, that worrying — they all shorten our good time on earth.  They cheat us out of living.  They cheat us out of one another.

The dying love powerfully. They busy their hearts at it. They tend not to waste a breath on gossip or railing.

They just might get angry with God. I believe God is more than all right with this. Such anger is a great conversation starter. Indifference, not anger, is the opposite of love.

Katy and God have found a delicious peace with one another. She speaks of God in terms of reality, of belief, nearness, intimacy, not in the codes of false righteousness.  Things between Katy and God are way more than all right.

Her entire being thrums with such peace. She makes clear she wants all of us to know it.  Know it now.  Live as though everything is more than all right.

We take our time for granted. It comes flying out of the heavens at us  — a gift that’s all ours. We can’t lend it, nor can we save it, really. It keeps coming at us, calling to us to spend it, and spend it well.

Yet we, in a squandering habit, try to hoard time.  Try to stow it up for some elusive chance that’s better than the here and now to spend it.  We can make our current time better than it is, simply by choosing to live better, with more fall-back joy and full-throttle generosity, than we have.  This is true.  Katy helped me know this.

It gets no better than living life as we are called to dream it.  As we would like it lived toward us. We give life — and the giver of life — too little credit for giving us choices. We choose what occupies our minds, our tongues. Misery is often a state of our own making. Inner joy our option, in waiting.

Thank you, Katy, for teaching this to me.  All of it.  For teaching me to embrace joy and shed so much of the rest.  Yours is a life being VERY well spent.

May your last days of it overflow with the peace you have gently rained into the world, and onto me.  I am blessed to have crossed your path, and your dad’s, and to share in the warm downpour of how you have chosen to live.  How you have chosen to fit your soul into this world.

It is a soul beautifully outfitted for our here and now, and the world to come.






16 Responses to “Standing In a Downpour of Living at Peace”

  1. heartwritten Says:

    Oh, Michael, many thanks to you for this, my friend. I feel as though I met with sweet Katy and caught a glimpse of her joy and peace. May all of us feel that completeness that only this kind of peace can bring… a joy that can only descend from the heavens. I, too, desire to stand in that downpour of peace.

    What a beautiful soul. And what a masterpiece you have captured of her life. God bless.

  2. Jerry Anderson Says:

    Michael, My family are members at Salem UMC. We have known Katy and her family for many years. Sadly we have seen the progression of her illness. What we have also seen is her love of life and her love of God. I will always remember some of her words from her “coronation”:
    “God is all around us; God does good stuff”. I pray that your article does reach far and wide. We all need this awareness.

  3. Linda B. Johnson Says:

    Thank you so much Michael. This is a beautiful piece with so many truths that we all need to make a part of our lives. We have watched Katy grow into a beautiful young lady that is an inspiration to all who know her. Salem UMC has been blessed to be a part of her journey.

  4. Carol Shockley Says:

    Michael, Thank you very much for this blog. We at Salem have learned alot from Katy and feel privilaged that she choose us to help learn just how powerful God can be. I see the strength that she has in her everytime I see her and I know she sees everyday as a blessing from God. Thank You Katy.

  5. Thanks for the beautiful tribute to Katy, Michael. I’ve been blessed to be able to be one of her teachers; you describe her well. I just happen to be listening to Sing for Joy right now. The anthem is “O God Beyond All Praising” and here’s the text:
    “and whether our tomorrows
    be filled with good or ill,
    we’II triumph through our sorrows
    and rise to bless you still:
    to marvel at your beauty
    and glory in your ways,
    and make a joyful duty
    our sacrifice of praise.”

  6. I know Katy and she is a precious young lady. Your tribute to her is one that I will cherish for years to come. Beautiful Michael.

  7. Carole Forrester Says:

    Dear Michael, thank you so much for the wonderful words about Katy.I am a member at Salem and she has touched everyones heart.I find myself all during the day stopping to say a prayer for her. I know God hears our prayers and mircales do happen.Let us all pray that God will continue to be with her and his will be done.

  8. I teach with Bryan, and it was my privilege to teach Katy last school year. I agree with him in that you decsribe her well. She is truly an amazing young lady with such determination. Thank you so much for what you have written.

  9. What a well written piece, it is excellent by all standards. May God bless this young woman.

  10. Wow. My “problems” seem so small. Thank you. This is simply life, and I must choose to live it with peace and joy and complete trust in Him who is able.

  11. Dolly Herron Says:

    This is the most beautiful piece I have read in a long time. Thank you.

  12. Allison Ross Says:

    Thank you so much for this!! What a beautiful piece and it really makes me think and I will have my family read this as well.

  13. Don McIntyre Says:

    God Bless KATY and MICHAEL. All else I need to say is AMEN.

  14. thank you, Michael, praise Him, will see you on the streets of gold one day, Katy~

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