Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Each Life That Touches Ours For Good

"Each life that touches ours for good,
Reflects thine own great mercy Lord.
Thou sendest blessings from above,
Thru words and deeds of those who love.
What great gift does thou bestow,
What greater goodness can be know
Than Christ-like friends, whose gentle ways,
Strenthen our faith, enrich our days.
When such a friend from us departs,
We hold forever in our hearts
A sweet and hallowed memory,
Bringing us nearer, Lord, to thee."
--Karen Lynn Davidson, Hymn No. 293

I have not written about the sad news I received the beginning of July. (I have been so busy with my daughter's wedding.) I received an email from the sister of my dear friend Shawn Thais Peterson. "Thais" as she was known had passed away the end of June. She was a friend of mine since we served as sister-missionaries together in Spain in 1981-1982.

She was one of those people you meet in your life who changes you forever! My life was so blessed by knowing her. When she first arrived in Spain, I had only been there four months. Together we hardly spoke any Spanish. We kinda learned together. We had the best time working together in Jerez de la Frontera.

(one of the many bodegas 'wineries' in Jerez. 'Jerez' means sherry!)
We worked hard and had many memorable experiences. Later we shared an apartment with 2 other sisters in Seville. We both grew to love Spain...the people, the food, the sights...everything!

(left: the Plaza de Espana, in Seville. It is also pictured in one of the Star Wars movies...I think #3)

(right: a beautiful statue in the Parque de Maria Luisa we would pass everyday. It depicts 3 women in love: the one on the right is looking for love, the one in the middle is in love, and the one on the left has lost love. It was one of my favorite statues in Seville.)

(We even had the chance to attend a World Cup soccer game, while we lived in Seville. It was New Zealand vs. Brazil...awesome!)

A few years ago, Thais was living near Dallas, Texas with her sister. I had just spent 3 days at the Linda Taylor's Quilting facility there and had the chance to extend my stay in Texas a few days so I could go visit Thais. We spent a couple of days together talking and recounting 'the good old days' in Spain. I will cherish that time we had together. I even sat at the piano and accompanied her as she sang some our favorite songs from our mission. What an angelic voice she had! Such a great loss to her friends and dear family, but how richly all our lives are blessed to have known this sweet daughter of our Heavenly Father.

Before I left Spain in 1982, Thais wrote a letter to me. This is part of it:
"I love you Vivian, and I'm grateful for your friendship. Every friend is a drop of love in the bucket I'm collecting to drink from for the eternities." I shall never forget my friend Thais.


Diane said...

What a sweet tribute to a special friend! It touched my heart to read about her and the times you spent together. Sad times...sweet memories.

Lyn said...

Thank you so much for the beautiful tribute to Thais. I'm writing this on Christmas day as I miss her so desperately because Christmas, to all of us, was Thais. She initiated all the nice memories I have of our Christmases as a family. She started all the nice and fun and silly traditions. So to read the lovely words dedicated to her slightly filled the hole that she has left in my heart. Thanks again. She also cherished the time that you spent with us in Texas.

Love, Lyn Ballard

JOJO said...

Dear Vivian,
What a lovely tribute to my dear friend. Thais was my friend and room mate in East Lansing Michigan when she attended Law School there.
Unfortunately,her family was unable to contact me about her passing until my christmas letter was sent to her so I only learned of her death on New Years Eve. Thais was such a blessing in my life. I loved to hear stories about her family, her mission (I lived in Seville in 1985 as a college student)her music and friends. I'm so grateful that the Lord put the right people in my life at the right time, and she was one of them. When I met my husband, Bill, who was from Bozeman MT she was sure that it meant that I would move there someday and we could continue to stay close, unfortuneately this didn't happen. But a letter or phone call was all that we needed to remain connected. Thank you for sharing your memories.
Amy-Jo Phillips

jerez sherry said...

I like all the photos very much, really passed time we never get back only sweet memories are with us to remember those times.