“goodbye” to another faithful witness to light and love

And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. – Revelation 22:2

(thanks to Gayle Akerman for the photos of Cynthia)

It was only just a short while ago I shared some words about the loss of a friend at church. In the post, titled In Grateful Memory of a Beautiful Soul, I talked about how thankful I am for such authentic witnesses to life.

Today, sadly, I have another chapter to add to the “faithful witnesses” story, and it breaks my heart. Cynthia Hardy passed away Easter Sunday, and I am sure that, right away and like Mary in the Gospel account, “Jesus said to her, ‘Cynthia,’ and she turned and said to him, ‘Rabboni'” (John 20:15-16).

Leaves of the Tree of Life:

There is a powerful link between the scripture I used in my post about Tom and what I want to write today in response to Cynthia. It’s the beginning of Revelation 22, and it reads like this: “The angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:1-2).

You see, I believe that we – as witnesses to the life Jesus offers – are called to be “the leaves of the tree” that “are for the healing of the nations”. And if anyone ever embodied that gift it was Cynthia Hardy. The leaf ministry played out in her life and work, day to day, as she applied the balm of compassion, empathy, and care via her role as a social worker.

For those of us who knew and loved Cynthia at church (and especially my Sunday school class, where she and Bernie have been central figures for years) she was also a shining star – funny, positive, encouraging, with a quick sense of humor that was incisive, sometimes edgy, and always spot on.

A mutual friend, Kris, sent the following note to me Monday (her reference to “the pipes” is the bagpipes that both called us into worship and dismissed us Sunday morning). Kris’s words read pitch perfect:

  • IMG_E9623
    Cynthia and Bernie hosting our class New Year’s party

    “Lots of thoughts jumble up my prayers. My sadness centers on we who remain. Her spirit was such a vibrant part of my life. She’s been laughing in my ear since yesterday. The symbolism from her passing on Easter is loud. Sin and Cyn escaped the tomb. I imagine our church family praying her home during our service yesterday. I knew of her suffering, but, was spared watching it. Just like Jesus, she still gleams like a new penny in my mind’s eye. The last wail of the pipes honored our sorrow and sent her sailing home.”

Leaves, friends! WE are called to be the leaves of the tree for the healing of the nations!

– DEREK

IMG_1540 (3)
Some of my class just before Christmas – Cynthia (dark glasses) and Bernie are standing, back left

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Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

3 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Such a beautiful tribute to such a beautiful person. I am going to miss Cynthia…my heart is sad, but I am so lucky to have known her… her smile, her kindness, her love of life.. she is truly an inspiration to me, and a reminder of how to live as one of God’s children. Thank you Derek, for sharing your wonderful words about her.

    Like

  2. Cynthia never wanted to be the center of attention, but she would be pleased to know that she had made others smile, or be comfortable. That was her nature. Kindness and hospitality are a part of her legacy.

    Like

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