I do not know about you or whether or not you will believe this, but it is true and it did happen. The daughter of dear friends passed away many days after being injured in a tragic automobile accident.
Needless to say, our family was devastated. We just could not believe this had happened. We were saddened beyond belief.
Her parents asked me to give her eulogy at our St. John Presbyterian Church here in Tampa.
After much deliberation about what I would say, my daughters gave me good ideas about what I could say in a tribute to her, about their favorite times with her. One of our daughters said she liked her so much because she was always so happy. I liked that very true statement.
Our youngest said she liked it best when they all went to a concert in Orlando together.
Well, about an hour before the service, our daughter said she would like to change the concert experience as a best moment in time to the times they played a game chasing one another.
As a young teenager at that time, spending time with our daughters and other friends of theirs, they would play a game that she invented. They would start to run and she would try to catch them. When she did catch someone, she would pinch the person underneath the shoulder area in the back, and say her last name three times. No one wanted to be caught and pinched and there was lots of fun and laughter.
The crowd at the church that day was huge with standing room only. There were lines of people along the walks outside. It was difficult to talk to the crowd, because this beautiful, vibrant, young woman, athletic, a dancer, and one active in acrobatics, was gone and we were all miserable.
I felt so sad for her family and her friends, and for my wife and precious daughters because she meant so much to all of us and was a part of our family. We loved her very much.
We did, however, know that she was safe with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And so, the service was what we would call a celebration of her life.
Well, a few days later when I was back at work and helping an adult student with her mathematics in a computer lab for studies for the GED diploma, I suddenly felt this tremendous pinch and jab in my upper back area near my shoulders. I jumped and yelled out.
My assistant asked me what had just happened since she saw me jump. I responded that I just knew that this wonderful, young, faithful child of God, someone who had reached her twenties, had thanked me for her eulogy and was on her way to Paradise,
The thought didn’t need to be spoken. It was an unspoken, important piece of knowledtge that I knew to be true.
This wonderful person had been called to go home to God, and she was happy and playful still, and wanted me to know she was still alive and on her way to grand and glorious things. I knew automatically that she realized I was open to know what was happening and could convey the experiences to her family and mine.
Instead of a goodbye, actually, it was an enlightening “Hello” to the concrete knowledge that the hereafter is real and spirits of our loved ones can at times communicate with us. Maybe sometimes they just stay a little while and give some goodbyes?
We have to be open and ready to recognize what it is.
It isn’t that we should or must look for these things. However, when we see, hear, and/or feel these special moments, they must be greatly valued as gifts to us from God.
They are miracles and we must thank God for them because they brighten us and give us sunshine!
(This article is dedicated to the memory of Crista J. Ferrera of Tampa, Florida, daughter of Nelson and Guisela Ferrera and sister of Paolo and Alex Ferrera)