Saturday, March 25, 2017

"Love is how you stay alive, even after you are gone." -- Mitch Albom

             Every now and then we are blessed to know someone that God has used to touch many lives including our own.  Such a very special woman was Caryn Pierce, a music teacher in Springdale, Arkansas.  She touched our heart along with so many others and then was wrested from us far too early.   We have all known and have loved extraordinary women who lived good, long lives and now rest from their labors as God promised.  We also know those who have been taken from us far too soon, like Caryn Pierce, who passed into God’s arms on April 14, 2011, almost six years ago.  We, and so many others, were devastated by her death.  Yet, her spirit lives on here in Bunda, Tanzania, and she has not been forgotten.  She continues to live in our hearts, in the lives of those she touched.  She lives on in the many little ways she influenced others by the inspiration of the way she lived her life, did her job, and whose love of life, her joy in just being still lives within the hearts of those who loved her.
            Caryn Pierce will always be alive until that time finally comes when no one remembers her name or the inspiration that she was to them or to those she knew.  I don't know when that time will be, or if it will ever be.  Her name is on a preschool here whose uniforms are pink because that was her favorite color.  She is the only person I have ever known who drove a Barbie-pink car.  The children here in equatorial Africa never knew her in person, but they know her picture and her name (that’s her in the picture at the right) and sing with the gusto she used to instill in all her students.  These kids didn’t know her, but my wife did, and Caryn had a tremendous impact on my Karen’s life.  My Karen was humbled and honored to name our school after Caryn Pierce so that she the spirit of love and joy she embodied will never die.  Ask any teacher who ever taught with Caryn and they will all say how wonderful she was and what a great teacher she was.  Great teachers like her don't ever really die until all the students they inspired, all the teachers with whom they taught, and her students and others those students inspired finally forget her name.  Yet even then, her name and her spirit will live on.  Immortality is something you have if you love others—all others.  Christ told us that.  Life tells us that.  Jesus was a teacher first and foremost.  Over and over the Bible tells us that Jesus taught, not only with His words but with how He lived and how He loved.  He is not dead and neither is anyone whose love has touched others.  Caryn Pierce and the love she showed to so many still live within the hearts of those orphans and children on a continent she never visited.  Love truly conquers all if it is the love of Christ as lived by courageous and inspirational people like Caryn Pierce.  There is a part of her here in East Africa that lives on and on.  Amen.
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