This is one of those moments when the dust is kicked up so high it is hard to see anything else. I write this with tears streaming down my face, and uncontrollable sobs flood like waves from out of my heart.
A wonderful person who brought companionship and laughter to many years of my life passed away on Saturday from antibiotic-resistant pneumonia. Shannon was only 35 years old. I am overwhelmed with grief that she is gone, and sadness for her incredible family who has to continue on without her, though I am confident that God will strengthen them with His love.
God placed this sweet person in my life during a very hard time, and He showed me volumes about His love, through her. I met Shannon in the mid 1990's, and I was her in-home supports staff, and I also provided respite services. Shannon had Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome, which causes mental disabilities, and some physical differences as well.
Shannon was so much fun to be with, and God truly blessed me with her friendship. She was incredibly social. Everywhere we went, she would see someone she knew. Her eyes would light up when she conversed with people, or unexpectedly met them at the grocery store or mall. I will always treasure the memories I have of her. God taught me about unconditional love through Shannon. She was always so excited to see me and spend time with me, or spend a weekend at my apartment.
God also blessed me with Shannons', entire family. Her mom was a wonderful example of an advocate for her daughter. She was able to navigate the system and get what Shannon needed in a very friendly way. God used her mom to teach me about advocating, years before I had my own children. Shannon had a very wonderful purpose in her short life, and it continues still... sparkling through the dust, and I hope as the dust settles that the glistening will be even brighter.
That sparkling treasure is love. Shannon's excitement to spend time with me mirrors Gods' excitement when I spend time with Him. God's heart lights up when we choose to spend time with Him developing our relationship with Him. Isaiah 62;5 "as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you." Shannon showed me what it was like to be "rejoiced over".
Let us all remember Shannon, by remembering God's unconditional, passionate and exuberant love for us.
Zephaniah 3:17 says,
"He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."