This is Katie Klinect. You don’t know a thing about her and then again, neither do I really. I met her years ago at my young adult small group at a church not too far from my house. She was sweet, loves God and above all the most beautiful person I had ever met. For the next 3 and a half years, I saw Katie at least once a week for church, twice if she was able to make it to small group. We worshiped, laughed, probably cried and prayed together. Usually in a group setting. Outside of that, I never really knew her and it didn’t phase me to change it too soon.
About a month ago I saw a Facebook post saying that Katie got into a freak bicycle accident while babysitting for a family. She was rushed to the hospital and had to go into surgery to reduce the swelling on her brain that occurred after the accident. For a few days, the doctors said they needed to do tests to make sure her brain would respond. And she did. I got really excited to see such good news and realized that it was time to make up for the years that I didn’t try getting to know Katie.
On April 11th, my 25th birthday, Katie had passed away. I had prayed so hard for her to wake up, to recover and maybe one day sit down and have coffee with her. But it didn’t happen that way. My heart was crushed and I asked God to forgive me for allowing myself to get so prideful and insecure that it kept me from knowing her like everyone else did.
I told this story to my students in The Landing and I think it hit home for a lot of them. I sensed that we all had, in the past, became so angry, bitter or insecure that it kept us from loving the hurt, broken and angry people who had done wrong to us. We allowed our emotions, insecurities and need to seek revenge to rule how we treat people in the future and that’s not how it should be. What I think myself and my students learned was that life was too short to hold on to things that kept us from being the light in this world, that kept us from having a full heart.
When people have hurt us or we when give them more power than they deserve, it takes a bit of our hearts, leaving us very little to live with or give away. And then we try to hold onto the pieces to protect when we learn there is nothing we can do with them. Accept putting them at the foot of Jesus and not attempting to pick them up and mend all the pieces back together on our own.
After Katie’s packed out memorial service I had to lay my insecurities, my pride and my hurts at the foot of Jesus for the last time. I had picked them up several times because the shards of my heart-felt great on my skin, despite the cuts they had put on them. Brokenness feels great when it’s all you know, despite the discomfort, holding onto anything else isn’t something we leap for joy for. But I wanted to let them go for good and allow Jesus to put the pieces back together, clean it, polish it and in the process show me how to love without trying to go back to the old patterns.
Although I wish that I could easily shoot a message on Facebook to Katie and see how she is doing, I thank God that through the hurt he showed me where I went wrong in my thinking. Death has a funny way of doing that.
Katie, I’m so sorry that I let myself get in the way of being a friend to you, but this is not a goodbye. It’s a “See you later”. Let’s have coffee when I get there 🙂