The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

November 15, 2012

Basking in the light of a friend's sunshine

By Ruth Ann Replogle, Columnist
Enid News and Eagle

— I lost a dear friend last week.

I will miss her sweet smile, her sunshine. It will be hard on Sunday mornings to not see her white head in the pews ahead, to not be able to hug her neck, to have my day brightened no matter how I felt coming into town. I know there are many, who like me, will feel the light in the world dimmed a little with her passing.

This wonderful lady touched everyone she met. To steal a line from Will Rogers, she never met a person she didn’t like.

During her funeral, our pastor described it as this: You would visit her with the plan to encourage her but you would always come away encouraged. That’s just who she was.

Weeks before her death, I visited her in the hospital for the umpteenth time. Her brightly colored socks were as bright as her smile. She never failed to exude happiness even when her COPD was getting her down.

Her sunshine was a result of the true Sonshine in her life.

My friend’s internal happiness came from knowing Jesus personally. She derived pleasure from this relationship and that is why she could withstand any trial or tribulation that came her way with a smile.

I aspire to be like my friend. I want that Sonshine to so intensely radiate from me that people around me can’t help but enjoy being nearby and be encouraged when they leave.

The Good News Translation describes true happiness in Matthew 5:3-12:

“Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor; the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them! (Also translated: “Happy are those who know their need for the Lord, for they shall inherit the Kingdom.”)      

“Happy are those who mourn; God will comfort them!       

“Happy are those who are humble; they will receive what God has promised!       

“Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires; God will satisfy them fully!   

“Happy are those who are merciful to others; God will be merciful to them!       

“Happy are the pure in heart; they will see God!   

“Happy are those who work for peace; God will call them his children!       

“Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires; the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!       

“Happy are you when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of evil lies against you because you are my followers. Be happy and glad, for a great reward is kept for you in heaven. This is how the prophets who lived before you were persecuted.”

Country greats Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton sing a duet called “When I Get Where I’m Going.” It is a secular country song but it has a Christian heart. A portion of it goes: “When I get where I’m going, there’ll be only happy tears. I will shed the sins and struggles I have carried all these years. … When I get where I’m going and I see my Maker’s face, I stand forever in the light of His Amazing Grace.”

I know my friend is in heaven rejoicing and basking in the light of God’s glory and grace. And with that thought, I can’t help but smile.

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