I do not know her personally, but when I read the story of the lovely 14 year old Katelyn Norman my heart sank. She recently celebrated prom, one of the check boxes on her bucket list. Katelyn was far too young to have a bucket list. Her breathtakingly beautiful face, her courage, her attitude . . . her spirit. Wow, oh, wow what a special young woman!
I am completely humbled by her live-it-to-the-fullest persona.
When I first found out I had MS I have to tell you . . . “ministry Brooke” went out the window for a few weeks! I spent a lot of time asking “why me” and basically feeling pretty sorry for myself. All this after spending years as a mentor for parents with sick children!
I have to tell you that children are SO. MUCH. STRONGER. than we will EVER be. They take the sticks, the pokes, the pain . . . and they do it with a smile. They keep smiling. They keep living. They show us up in all kinds of spiritual ways. They live life the way Jesus told us to. Life to the fullest!
One day I woke up and realized . . . all those years I thought I encouraged these children, these parents I was mistaken. They instead were shaping the very fabric of my innermost being. They were teaching me how to be sick and do it with a smile.
As I read the update on the article about Katelyn tonight I saw that she had passed away. My heart goes out to her family and friends. Mostly, my heart grieves for her parents. I thought of how they must be feeling to look down and see boxes unchecked. I looked over three things still left on her bucket list “the chance to ride a motorcycle, travel to Italy and get a kiss.” What simple, beautiful wishes.
As I read those words it fell on my heart so hard and soft all at once . . . “She will spend eternity with the One who MADE Italy. She will get wings that go far faster than any motorcycle. She will kiss the Prince of Peace.” And isn’t that every girl’s fairy tale? To ride away with their prince into the sunset?
Ah, the still small voice of Jesus. As the grief of losing their daughter sounds loudly within their hearts . . . this same still small voice will echo these simple truths, it will rush like living water into every broken crevice of their hearts. Her shining example will become the ministry of their lives. Beauty for ashes.
Let’s all take time today to pray for Katelyn’s family and friends and rejoice for the beautiful young girl who made the bucket list . . . and tonight finds her bucket overflowing. I know I am inspired by this young woman. I wonder if her bucket list included the words “minister to millions of strangers?”
If so . . . Katelyn, you can check that one off your list.