It isn’t every day that you find out an old friend has died. But that was how my day went yesterday. We received our latest Biola Connections yesterday, and I unwittingly flipped to the News & Notes section, hoping to learn of an old friend’s marriage, or an old friend’s welcoming of a new baby, but not an old friend’s death.
And so I did what any normal person would have done. I thought, No…not the Katy I once knew, and ran for a yearbook, just to make sure. But it was her. And she is gone now.
In the fall of 1997, I volunteered to lead a weekly Bible study for a small group of incoming freshmen girls. It ended up being just three of us: me meeting with Katy and her roommate Heather. It was a good semester, and I felt I learned at least as much from them, if not more, than they did from me. All I wanted to do was help them adjust to Biola, but I learned they didn’t much need my assistance to do that.
We touched base now and then as the years went by, but we lived in different dorms, ate at different times, and took different classes. I didn’t make the effort to keep in touch after graduation. I haven’t seen Katy in years. She died January 2nd, and I didn’t even know. But there is a sad place in my heart today.
When I read her name in the Connections, I instantly remembered her face, her brilliant smile, and her contagious giggle. I remember how she worried about her friends, and desperately wanted to see them follow the Lord. And I remember her telling me that she didn’t know what her major was supposed to be, but that she knew she was supposed to give her life to the poor.
And that is what she did.
On November 14, 2004, Katy wrote this in her journal:
When I look back on my life I want to be able to say that I lived it fully – not being inhibited by fears, insecurities, or apathy. I want to have learned to fully trust, love, and obey. To have learned to rely on a strength thatI want to be able to say that I made hard choices, took the great risk, and chose the extraordinary over the comfortable.
is not my own, and trust a direction that I have not contrived. I want my life to have meant something. As I grow older it is my desire that my life become more simple, more honest, and less my own. I want to be able to say that I made hard choices, took the great risk, and chose the extraordinary over the comfortable. I want to have lived a life of passion – I hope I am still called a spit fire even when I am 80 and should be “slowing down” as culture suggests. I hope that I am always going to and living in scary places and being in community with people who know no other way to be than be themselves. I want to live a life of no regrets. I hope that I am more true to myself and given passion with each passing day.
To read more about Katy, go here.
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