Her mother and my mother shared the same birthday and a friendship that lasted over 70 years. They lived together as young single women and they were each in the other's wedding.
I loved Trisha's mother. I loved her infectious laugh and her strong independent spirit. But what I loved most about her was how much she loved my own mother.
Trisha's and my friendship did take a long detour for awhile. No fall out. No misunderstanding. Just that thing called life.
A few years ago we found each other again during the painful process of both of our mothers' lives coming to an end.
We found comfort and strength in each other.
Somehow I like to imagine that our mothers had orchestrated our reconnection.
Just like at Sochi last night when Russia passed the Olympic torch to South Korea, I felt like our mothers had passed the torch of their friendship on to us.
A few years ago at what seemed to be the most impossible and improbable time for Trisha, she had to have both of her knees replaced. She had the weight of her mother's care on her shoulders and, trust me, it was a heavy one.
But God did what He always does and He made a way. And one of the main ways He made a way was through Trisha's husband, Chris.
Chris was right there. Assuming the responsibility for Trisha's mother's care, and being Trisha's award winning cheerleader.
Everyday, after the surgery, Chris would post updates on Trisha's progress.
They weren't your usual updates.
The updates had words like my sweetheart, and hero, and darling, and honey, and every other adoring word you can imagine.
The updates to inform her friends and family turned into love notes to Trisha.
Each one melted my heart because I knew he meant every word he said.
One day I shared them with Jim.
And this is what I found by the coffee maker the next morning . . .
And then around the house I found all of these . . .
Love is contagious.
Finding the good in others is contagious.
"Just as the heavens are declaring the glory of God, if only we have eyes to see it, when we commend the character of a person, we are also pointing to the glory of God from which that character is derived-if we have eyes to see it!
To fail to commend the character of Christ in people is to fall into the same lackluster indifference of a person who never exclaims what a beautiful morning it is, thereby robbing the Creator of glory He deserves for making that sky, that volcano, that character." Sam Crabtree, from the book Practicing Affirmation.
Chris saw the beauty in Trisha, and he told her.
Jim saw the beauty in me, and he told me.
But what they were doing, and are still doing in their own ways, was recognizing the beauty and glory of God in His creation.
All beauty and all good are gifts from God and find their beginnings in who He is and His character.
It's hard for me not to comment on the beauty found in a sunrise or sunset. It's hard for me not to see the beauty of the sun shining on the water and the way it turns it into a magical sparkling scene.
It's hard for me not to recognize the beauty in the love Jim has for our boys and in the love they have for each other.
I stare at the pictures my neice sends me of my new little great-nephew and I am in awe of the beauty I see in that new little creation of His.
"Lord, open my eyes to see your beauty and character in those around me and give me the grace to openly commend them for what I see and in doing so may that commendation and affirmation bring honor and all glory to you."
Happy Birthday Friend.
You are kind, oh-so-funny, generous, and absolutely beautiful.
I love you . . . and Chris!