The tears flowed freely here last week.
On Tuesday morning, we learned that our dear friend, Rosalind Sanders had died at home following a massive stroke.
I was in a meeting talking about housing development for the homeless when the news interrupted the conversation and brought everything to a complete halt.
Memories of this woman washed over all who had known her.
Rosalind volunteered at CDM for almost 13 years. She was one of the first of our low-income neighbors (others might think of her as a "client"--for us she was always "Rosalind, our friend and ally") who joined us to build up the community by serving it, listening to it and responding to it with dignity, love and great respect.
She first came to CDM looking for all of that. Rosalind discovered what she was looking for in the community she loved and worked hard to improve. Unlike the rest of her world, the life she found among her friends here was exceptional, supportive, welcoming and authentically affirming.
As a single mother, she faced her challenges.
In addition, she endured a number of chronic health maladies. She worked hard to improve, with little success.
The people in her world whom she should have been able to count on often let her down terribly. Again, I believe this is why she spent so much quality time with CDM and with the Central Dallas Church. In our extended family she found the love that goes along with knowing and being known.
One of our long term team members put it best when she said, "You know, Larry, I just wasn't finished with Rosalind. . .I just wasn't finished."
Throughout the day, those of us who knew her, offered up prayers for her family and shed tears over her passing. We wondered what her children and grandchildren would do next. We shared memories and began to think about a funeral.
You can imagine my surprise when toward the end of the day I got the news that the earlier report was wrong.
Rosalind was not gone, she wasn't even ill!
There has been no stroke. That misfortune had befallen another person, the mother of one of the teens with whom we work.
Rosalind was alive!
We all were concerned for the children of the woman who had passed and the part of our organization closest to that very hard and troubling reality went to work on responding with love and nurture. . .
. . .but Rosalind was alive!
There was rejoicing all around, as relief set in throughout our organization.
After settling down with our good news, and still worrying about the loss in the other family not so closely related to us, we all began to give thanks for Rosalind, for the community of which she is such an important part, and for the fact that we would have more time together.
Strange. The report of her death validated the truth of our relationship.
We are friends and partners in community development.
We have more time, thankfully.
What gladness! I haven't seen her since the terrifying rumor ran through our lives, but when I do, I promise we will rejoice!