In Loving Memory
It was summer going into my junior year, nothing special. While lifeguarding at the swim club there was a certain calmness, unknown to the busy pool. I was relaxing as the sun set and night settled in, as the last swimmer arose out of the water. Just a few minutes before closing time, the news. What? Someone was killed by a tree… but that only happened in movies. I was shocked and taken back as I approached the tables to hear the story. Nothing could stop my curiousness and concern about the abrupt taking of a life, especially in such a small town. A freshman girl, Michelle Chalk… realized the name was extremely familiar and tried to figure out how I knew it. I racked my brain as I tried to figure out how I knew her name. Then it came to me…
Michelle was in the 6th grade, while I was in 8th. As she began a new chapter of her life, I was getting ready to graduate into highschool and become an actual teenager. I helped run tryouts for the cheer team, as I was the oldest grade at that time. Such a small connection, but impactful to say the least. I remember her tall figure and lively nature very clearly. She reminded me of a strong willow tree, wise beyond her years, but strong and beautiful. Her everlasting smile lit up the room, never faltering, always steadfast and strong. She was energetic and passionate, something I lacked most times. Sometimes I would envy her outgoing and selfless behavior. As I reflect back on her personality, me being an adamant christian now, I am astounded and humbled by her case for Christ. God’s character was so evidently woven into her soul and shined through her attitude, I just didn’t realize it at the time. While thinking back on Michelle, a quote from Audrey Hepburn comes to my head “happy girls are the prettiest”, and man was she beautiful.
I remember the day of her vigil so clearly. Not one person was dry eyed throughout the course of the event. I saw how many people that just one child could change. She set an example for those young and old. I questioned why God took away such a beautiful example of his character and loving example for His children. I wondered where He was in this heartbreak.
I realized that this was a part of His wonderful, and perfect plan for all of us. This was no mistake. It was so evident that she fulfilled her place on this dull and overrated earth. She was meant for heaven. She had concluded her time and used her God given gifts to complete her mission. I am so proud that such a young girl can complete such a big task in a very small amount of time, while it takes other almost an entire lifetime to even compare.
I don’t believe for one second that Michelle would want us to lament and mourn her passing, but rather celebrate her life and future in heaven alongside The King watching over us. (and I am sure dancing up there is much better!)
“The Lord is with me, I will not be afraid” -Psalm 118:6
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law”- Galatians 5:22-23