Monday, February 14, 2011

Shine bright, Firefly. Shine bright.

I just wanted to take a moment to lift up a beautiful person. Someone who has inspired me over the last six months I have been following her journey. Someone who has shown unbelievable faith in an incomprehensibly difficult situation. Someone who is currently making the transition out of this world and into the next.

Sarah Chidgey Hughes is an acquaintance of mine but a close friends of several of my close friends in Texas. We all graduated high school together the same year but she lived in San Antonio at the time. I've crossed paths with her on church trips, youth group stuff, and weddings over the years. In August I was shocked to get the news from my friend Annie, her roommate for three years after college, that Sarah was unexpectedly diagnosed with a very aggressive stage 4 cancer. At the time of diagnosis, the doctors said it would take a miracle to save her.

Sarah started a video blog to keep friends and family informed about her cancer journey. She had to leave her beloved teaching job very suddenly at the beginning of the school year. She and her then fiance Eric had a spur-of-the-moment wedding in August, three months before their planned November date, so she would have hair for her wedding pictures. And then she began the unbelievably difficult process of chemo treatments, blood transfusions, surgeries, and radiation. Despite the best possible treatment options at one of the world's best cancer hospitals, this particular kind of cancer was a different kind of animal. A few weeks ago Sarah lost feeling in her legs because the cancer had invaded her spinal column. Additional tests confirmed the chemo had been unable to slow or stop the cancer growth. They recently made the difficult choice to stop treatments so Sarah could enjoy what life was left before her.

Throughout this journey, Sarah has filled her blog with beautiful video posts and writings about trusting in the Lord's care. She has bravely continued to encourage her readers in their struggles and their personal relationships with God, even while she fought a chronically painful physical battle. She has led devotionals. She has enjoyed the simple things in life. And she has wept when the pain and uncertainty were just too much.

I just checked Sarah's blog and got the unfortunate news from her husband Eric that Sarah will be heading home soon. I just wanted to lift her up today in prayer for comfort and peace as her body begins the difficult process of shutting down in preparation for transition into a new creation. It is times like these I am so grateful for the Lord's comforting promise to His people that we will be in a better place one day if we only believe. Without that hope, the thought of losing this beautiful young soul so early would be unbearable.

To those of us who have prayed along the way, it might seem as if Sarah's miracle never came. So many prayers have been lifted up by so many people asking for more time with her, for less pain, for healing. But as I mentioned in my recent post about all these new babies making their way into the world, I am reminded by my own reflections that life is the miracle. And in this case, Sarah is the miracle. And as far as all of the things I don't understand, like why such a beautiful person... and why so young, I am reminded that we are living in the mystery. The answers are not for me to know.

Sarah closes out each of her blog posts with a short phrase, "Shine bright, Firefly. Shine bright. Just some thoughts." In one of her posts, she explains that it came from a friend who prayed for her and immediately received a vision of a firefly along with this phrase. No question Sarah has been a light in this world to the many she has met and the thousands who have read her blog (which is called "Just Some Thoughts").

One thing I try to avoid, as you may have noticed, is pretending like everything is all happy and carefree when maybe it isn't. I don't like to dwell on sorrowful things, but I think they are worth reflecting on because sorrow and joy are one in the same. One does not exist without the other. So rather than skip on to the next story about youth group news or hiking or whatever else, I felt inspired to write about Sarah today hoping you would be blessed by this beautiful life just as I have... and that maybe you would join me in saying a prayer as she makes a soft landing here very soon.

Thank you, sweet Sarah, for being a light in this dark world. You will be missed by so many. Shine bright, Firefly. Shine bright. Just some thoughts.
Amy, Annie, me, Sarah

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

Revelation 21:4

Sarah's blog:

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