Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My Tribute to Barbara Curtis

My Tribute to Barbara Curtis

On October 30, 2012, dear, precious Barbara, my soul mate, my good buddy, and best friend, answered God's loving call to "Come Home." I was an only child and always longed for a sister confidant. I've had and do have many close friends through the 8 decades of my life, but 'Barbara-come-lately' was uniquely my sister-in-depth.

"Lead her gently Home, Father." May the Lord whom Barbara loved so passionately and served so enthusiastically with the gifts God had given her, welcome her with "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord."

I remember the first time we met. When I answered the phone one day, a stranger who didn't actually introduce herself asked if she could come and visit me. She said she read one of my books. I said "Sure." Less than two years ago, lovely Barbara appeared at my door and stepped into my life and into my heart—and the rest is only too short a history. We bonded immediately as if we had known each other forever.

I soon found out who she really was and I was awed at her famous resume. I began to follow her fantastic blog which kept me up-to-date on everything important going on in the nation, the world, my own back yard, the political scene, her family, and above all in our Christian Faith. Google Barbara's name to find out how far-reaching is her ministry. 
Our habit (although sometime interrupted by circumstances) was to meet in Winchester once a month usually at Applebees, for a lingering 3 hour lunch and private girl-talk. We sensed that the Lord smiled on our times together. Both of us were always refreshed and energized to keep on in the direction our Lord was leading us. I grieve ever so deeply for the absence of her physical presence and our so-frequent communication and intimate sharing about everything in our lives and of course our mutual love for writing.

Her family was Barbara's life. She was the sturdy, dependable hub of their family wheel whose spokes numbered 12 children, plus their spouses, in-laws, the grandchildren and beyond. She was always strong for them, teaching and encouraging, sacrificing herself for them with joy. She continually gathered others in her ever-widening loving embrace. As her relationships and friendships increased, she stretched with them. Above all, how firmly she stood for and fought for the truth of the Christian faith to draw others closer to God!

I wonder if Barbara realized how close she was to her "Finish" Line. She was so young at heart, nearly a quarter century younger than I. Barbara was a woman of powerful and vivid and compelling words that always hit the mark on whatever topic she focused. She had many ideas and plans for the future, the great communicator that she was. A columnist for many periodicals through the years, most recently for the ARLINGTON CATHOLIC HERALD, she was a much sought after speaker on family issues as related to the Christian faith. 

The author of many books that have influenced generations of parents, she was excited to have just completed a new book manuscript. She packed it off to the publisher as she drove off to a Christian Journalism Workshop in N. Carolina. At that event Barbara had been eager to hone her skills, exchange ideas, and widen her world view so she could better engage our culture through the new evangelization. She was returning with a back burner full of ideas. She was stricken with her illness the day she returned. 

In the perfect plan of God, He must have counted her life as "complete" and fully acceptable to Him. God would not have cut her life short. In a way that our finite minds can't grasp, Barbara had already completed the purpose and destiny that her loving Heavenly Father uniquely planned for her life from before the foundation of the world. 

In my human emotions, I am still struggling to accept the shortness of Barbara's life, her absence, and seemingly unfinished Kingdom business. Lord, I do accept that Your ways are higher than our ways and that our times are in Your eternal hands, so I bow to Your will. “To everything there is a season; a time to live, and a time to die.” Life is fragile indeed and we are admonished to “number our days so as to apply our hearts unto wisdom.”

I must force myself to focus on the eternal picture or else I will be overcome with personal grief. When friends and loved ones leave this earth-life and their bodies, our faith is tested. Both Barbara and I are fairly recent Catholic Christians. I embrace and actualize what our Catholic faith teaches and what I do believe and understand about "The Communion of Saints." 

We both affirmed that the Body of Christ, the Church, includes not only present Christian believers on earth, but also those who have departed this life in the friendship of Jesus Christ. The Church teaches with the authority of the Bible and the very words of Jesus, that believing departed loved ones are alive and well! The Church teaches that we can pray for their journey into God's presence, and that they can intercede for us who are still alive on earth in the Name and Mediatorship of Jesus and through the action of the Holy Spirit.

When Barbara's precious mortal body, her “earth suit,” ceased to function, it separated from her soul and will wait in the earth for the Day of Resurrection. Her eternal soul—self-aware, alert, and rejoicing in her new eternal state—goes to God and beholds Him in all His supernal glory. 

We speculate, but I venture a guess that Barbara will not be inactive or content to simply float around Heaven's universe landscape in minus gravity. Perhaps Heaven, in a dimension which we can't grasp with our finite minds, may have available some Celestial Computer Lab with techy angels hovering around to assist (although no viruses or hacking here!) where former earth-writers like Barbara can continue to write about the glories of God's vast creation and conduct interviews with newcomers who are celebrating Reunions.

Into her "inbox" may come requests for prayer from us earthlings, loved ones and friends, whose affairs and lives she will be keeping tabs on—because her love and ours continues; love never fails. I can visualize precious Barbara hurrying off to take our prayers through Jesus our Mediator to our Heavenly Father to be answered! 

We have not lost Barbara off in lonely space somewhere. Her Good Shepherd is welcoming her gently Home into His loving fold. Surely an immense "cloud of witnesses" are cheering her arrival while we on earth bid her farewell. Jesus told us not to let our hearts be troubled, that He prepared dwelling places for us in His Father's House. I can imagine that Barbara's new address plate is on one of those mansion "dwelling places." I'll bet her Place is big enough for the entire Curtis extended family—Tripp and the kids and spouses and grandkids and great-grands—to gather there when they too arrive. They will each have a mansion of their own, but methinks BARBARA'S HOUSE will still be their fav place to hang out. 

Dear Barbara, my good buddy. I will love you forever. Be prepared-—I too will be sending you some of my prayer intentions via Angel-Wing-mail pretty often.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light
shine upon her. May she rest in peace. Amen.”

Leona Choy a.k.a."Sal" (To Barb I was “Sal”--it stood for God's SALmon—still swimming upstream, although somewhat more slowly due to chronological factors.)

P.S. Oh Barbara!—now you know the outcome of the election before the rest of us!


Anonymous said...

I read your beautiful eulogy about Barbara a few days ago and just re-read it. You've expressed such love for her and there really are no words to express my sympathy at your loss of such a great friend. We all agree that she is with our Heavenly Father, her earthly journey completed, but her eternal life full of glory and love that she continues to share with her loved ones (which includes you), "cheering them on" each step of the way towards God's eternal kingdom. I love reading your words because they are always so inspiring and full of hope. You remain in my thoughts and prayers.

mm said...

Dear Mrs Leona, thank you so much for this beautiful heartfelt tribute of Barbara (I came to know your blog thru her).
Yes, may she be lead to heaven by Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of all the Saints!
Jesus,Mary and Joseph, pray for us!

Marlene Toffler/ said...

Somehow the Lord led me to your beautiful and touching tribute to Barbara Curtis. Thank you so much for sharing yet another piece of this amazing sister in Christ. I heard of her death through one of my daughters who used to start each day reading Mommy Life. She called me crying because this unknown lady she had grown to love had left for Eternity. She confided that when she called to ask me for advice, she sometimes emailed Barbara to "get a second opinion"! I have been "catching up" on the life of Barbara Curtis and that is how I came upon you. Dear Lady, may God continue to bless you and your ministry and writing. BTW, your interview with Marcus Grodi was amazing. God be with you always.