The Passing of A Friend - Joyce Lundberg Memorial
On Wednesday night, August 20, 2008, Joyce Lundberg passed on. Joyce was a dear fried of mine who possessed an attitude of enthusiasm and optimism. If being envious is ever a good thing, her ever-positive outlook was a trait worthy of my envy. Joyce was always quick to put a positive spin to any circumstance whether it is a compliment, a word of encouragement or an assessment of her own plight. This strength of hers will be missed in my life.
I have known Joyce for only about three years. Her friendship and caring about me was immediate, deep and lasting. She was always quick with encouragement for me, quite often by telling others something nice about me while I was present. She showed her caring for me time and again as our conversations most often began with her asking me about something in my life, or my wife, or my daughters. I don’t recall that she ever passed judgement on me for anything; she listened, cared and asked more questions.
In her final weeks, I would stop to visit her on the way home from work. My visits would often be at her dinnertime and I would sit with her while she dined. As the days passed, I found myself helping her more and more. They were simple things like reaching her napkin or putting the crackers in her soup. I was concerned about making her feel bad as if she were helpless, but in Joyce-like fashion she was thankful for the help with a graciousness that put me at ease. I would usher her back to her room and we would visit for a few more minutes.
I was able to ask her deeply personal questions about what she was going through and her thoughts about it. Joyce was always gracious and straightforward in her responses. We both knew her time was short but she talked and planned as if she would be around for quite awhile. Our conversations always included an update on the Minnesota Twins. She was disappointed that she didn’t have cable in her room to watch the games. Another topic was the upcoming NFL season and our fantasy league draft. For the past couple of years I walked her through the season keeping her up to date and making sure her weekly lineup was current. I told her I would print off a copy of her team roster so she would know whom to cheer on as she watched the games on Sundays. Her team was called First Time Miracle. She wanted a team name that included the word miracle, a reference to her first go around with the brain tumor. Being her first time playing fantasy football, I came up with the name which she liked and kept. I have changed the name to Miracle Memorial Team and I will draft her team and set her rosters for another season.
Her Christian testimony was a lifestyle from which we all can learn. I am sure that she has impacted many lives through either sharing the Gospel with them or living it out in our presence. She was accepting of her struggles knowing that she was safe in God’s hands. She had a strong faith that allowed her to go through the trials of her life in a manner that was inspiring to all that knew her.
To her final days she was concerned about the souls of others and their spiritual state. She asked often about my daughters and she would tell me of others such as Rufus, her night nurse. She always had good things to say about Rufus. Joyce genuinely cared about him and asked me to pray for him. I am certain that she made an impact on him in a positive way.
I chose the words, “passed on”, carefully. She didn’t pass away, or die, other than the physical body that anchored her to this world. She has moved on to eternity where her eternal soul, the essence of Joyce, will be clothed in a new body, a resurrection body. As the Apostle Paul wrote for the believer, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. She has passed on from life to life, from this mortal life to immortality with life in Christ. She will not simply be a spirit floating off on some cloud for all eternity. She will have an actual body that is free from the corruption of this fallen world in which we live. She will have a vibrant life through all eternity as will all that know Christ.
She trusted in the work of Christ on the cross for the forgiveness of her sins and for new life found only in Him. She has been spared the wrath of God by her belief, faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
While I grieve the loss of her presence here in my life, I rejoice in the knowledge that she is in the presence of God, in the companionship of Jesus. What an awesome thing to meet Him face to face and to see the rest of His creation that we cannot know while burdened by these bodies of earthly flesh.
I look forward to being reunited with Joyce in eternity when the proper time comes.
With much love, your friend, John.