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Tiny things can brighten dark days. A shiny piece of red foil buried in an office drawer she rarely opens.

It wasn’t the dark chocolate that did it, though she’d gone looking for it. Flipping open file folders, skimming shelves, picking up piles of printouts.

It was the memory of how the candy came to be there, hidden by her husband every Valentine’s Day since she took the job nearly eight years back. How he beat her into the office before the sun rose and hid candy so well she was still finding it into the fall.

Dove on files

She had gone seeking sweet consolation after a microwave lunch that stayed frozen in her belly. She found a message instead. Strange, a whole bag of chocolates had been consumed but she’d never seen those particular six words before.

Ever since calls came cradling a profound loss three days ago, she has struggled to find words.

How to capture the life of a sister from another mother, now gone to the Father.

Catherine in 2001

A kindred spirit who heard a call years back to follow Jesus and dropped her nets right where they lay. Left the corporate life to serve those on the margins who didn’t make it onto the pages of Executive Daytimers. Knitted scarves for the homeless when her body was so wracked with cancer she could barely stand.

Business acumen, keen intelligence, a 35-year marriage to her best friend, Doug – Catherine had all that. But her kinship with God ran swifter and deeper still – the spiritual current bubbling beneath the surface of a blessed life.

And then grim winter words from her Boston physicians – the disease was advancing, aggressive, bullying.

In response to grief at the news, an unusually long text message came of reassurance.

     “I am doing great. Right now I’m in living room with fireplace roaring reading the book of John. Doug will be back tonight and will work from home for the foreseeable future.

     “I take joy in getting things organized for Doug, visiting, praying, reading my Bible and yes Regency era romances. They always have a happy ending.

     “I am enjoying having no stress and being able to nap a lot, watch the water, wildlife and weather.

     “I find joy just being in God’s House and presence. I have such peace. It’s amazing.”

From one whose life was lived for others, the message was rare in its inclusion of personal pronouns. Catherine’s life was never about herself but others. Never here-I-am but there-you-are.

She had the extraordinary generosity of spirit to share in the happiness of others.

Sisters who had the children she had not been able to bear.

Members of her church family having weddings she could help host, job prospects to applaud or parties to plan.

So the message in that Dove chocolate her grieving sister in Christ unwrapped at lunch today? It was so Catherine.

Dove chocolate

A winged wink from glory maybe.

Thanks sis. And that sacred romance you lived?

It always has a happy ending.