A friend of mine passed away late last night, her name was Darlene Anderson. She was a courageous woman, who fought a three-year long battle with cancer. She is survived by her dear husband, Ted, her children, grandchildren, and many friends.
Darlene meant a lot to a lot of people, especially to me. She believed in me over the years and stood up for me many times. She was never afraid of adversity, I can honestly say that. I’ve witnessed her head straight into a storm, completely undaunted, again and again. She was a truly brave human being.
And she could talk to anyone, which is one thing about her that I admired so much. One time we were eating at a camp together. Joining us at the table was a young man that we did not know. He wore dark clothes, was big, and intimidating. He kept his head down and wore headphones, making it clear that he did not want to talk with anyone. As it turns out, he also had some sort of mental handicap. I knew that Darlene was good at making conversation, but this was a true test! I thought to myself, “There is no way that she can get this guy to talk.”
In about 30 seconds, she found a way to engage him in conversation. After a minute, he lifted his head; and after three minutes, she had him laughing. She was talking with him and he was talking with her. I’ll never forget that moment. Darlene was a complete social genius. She could talk to anyone and make anyone feel comfortable with her, no matter how awkward or ostracized they felt.
Did I mention that she was fearless? She was never afraid to stand up for what was right or to go the extra mile toward justice. You always knew where she stood.
She genuinely cared for me, my wife, and my children, sacrificing her time and energy to help us.
She thought the world of her husband—telling me so multiple times—and treasured each of her five children. She was so proud of you.
In Psalm 23, David writes, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” Darlene did not pitch her tent in the valley, but blazed an inspiring trail through it; and now she is safe on the other side. Safe? Yes, safe. Death to her was not the real thing, but only a shadow. And nobody is afraid of a shadow. The shadow of an animal cannot bite; the shadow of a sword cannot kill. Neither can the shadow of death harm those who walk through the valley, for Jesus has made the journey safe for us.
Darlene, my family and I love you. You trusted God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength.