Saturday, February 28, 2015

Christine Kang-Hui

Christine and I crossed paths for only a (too) short, but oh-so-intense time. The time was like Christine herself: Very short, but oh, so intense.

In the year that I knew her, she was like the fortified hull of a powerful ship, cutting and plowing through the thick and defensive top-ice of my heart, to carve out safe passage, open the way to radical healing. Oh man, did she probe. Quite surgically, I recall. She had earlier in her life endured several of the similar pains and struggles I then faced; she knew the terrain of those ravines and credibly testified to the Lord's sufficiency, even there.

Did I believe her? She dared me to. It is hard to dismiss the words and the notice of a dying woman.

Christine was one of the first women to welcome me to Emmanuel. She saw right through my politeness and refused my evasive answers to "Are you okay?" and "How are you?" There were not many corners to hide in at our tiny evening service back then, and certainly not from her watchful eye. She saw through me, and also saw me––her attentive (and sometimes aggressive) kindness was so instrumental in lifting the crushing weight of my invisibility cloak. When I felt I had no fight left, she said she saw feist, story, and song in me and that she was determined to see it surface. She also told me that my ex-boyfriend sucked and that God was holding out for me, someday, family beyond my wildest of dreams. She said she hoped to be around to tell me, "I told you so."

I am thankful to Ken for creating and allowing the space for Christine to minister to me. He would take the couch when Christine invited me over to spend the night. Christine would always say to him, "Can we feed her?" this, "Let's feed her" that (and he did). When we went to the Fall 2011 Princeton Conference on Reformed Theology, he encouraged us to room together. She (absurdly) apologized for the gurgle of her machines and feeding tubes--as she often did for even slightly inconveniencing anybody around her, by her dying. Those were precious days of learning about Gods sovereignty in and over suffering. In the next few months, those around her watched her live out everything she learned of this, and watched her fight for her true and living hope. She was appropriately mournful, and astonishingly fearless, in the face of death. She planned her own funeral and helped everyone else grieve (what!!).

In dying well, as she did learn by grace to do three years ago, she again pointed us along the Way of life before us. I am so grateful to have had this strong friend who forged ahead and who promised to cheer us on from the finish line.

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