Monday, December 1, 2008

Remembering Bekah

On the drive home from our Thanksgiving festivities, I turned on my iPod and listened to Rebecca St. James' album, God. If you haven't heard it before (and you can ignore some slightly annoying vocal stylings), it is a pretty good album with some solid, biblical lyrics and it has several songs that just rock out. I have a couple of favorites from that album: Go and Sin No More and Abba Father. I just love the message of Go and Sin No More and it reminds me that despite my failings, God still will forgive me and take me back. It is pretty powerful. I like the song Abba Father and the album in its entirety for complety different reasons.

Back on Thursday, April 30, 1998, I was a junior in college. I got horrible news that a friend of mine, Bekah Stewart, had collapsed in her room and that the Public Safety officers who arrived to assist ended up doing CPR until the paramedics showed up and rushed her to the hospital. What I didn't know at the time (although I suspected) was that Bekah was struggling with anorexia and bulemia. She'd been struggling for years and her parents, who were fully aware of the situation, were already on their way to campus to take her to an in-patient treatment facility because they felt it had gotten out of control. Due to a lack of nutrients in her body, she collapsed and her heart stopped beating.

Friday, May 1, my friends, Sahrie, Kristy, Angie, and I needed a break from the drama of the entire situation and took a road trip out of the city into the suburbs to just get our minds off things. While we were driving, Kristy put on the Rebecca St. James album, God. It was the first time I heard the album. I remember being overwhelmed with emotions that day and sitting behind the drivers seat trying not to think about Bekah and what the outcome of this horrible incident was going to be. I know I wasn't paying much attention to the music nor to the idle chatter of the others who were in the car. Then, the song Abba Father came on. At that moment, I needed words of encouragement. I needed a word from God. These are the lyrics I heard:

I'm feeling like the eagle that rises
Flies above the earth and its troubles
Oh yes he knows that there are valleys below
But under his wings there's a stronger power

Oh Father- You are my strength
On You I wait upon

You make the road rise up to meet me
You make the sun shine warm upon my face
The wind is at my back and the rain falls soft
God I lift You high- You are my Abba

Running on this road to the finish line
The only road for me is the narrow
Not gonna stop or even look to the side

When I fix my eyes on You Jesus
Oh Father (Abba)- You are my strength
Now more than ever

Going to Bible college, I learned early on that the Greek word, Abba, means "Daddy." I don't know about you, but the image I get of "Daddy" is similiar to that of what String Bean, at the tender age of 12 months, must see when she looks at her Daddy: the strong man who holds her when she's scared or just too tired to go on, someone who cares about her deeply, and a soft place to land. Being beside myself with worry over Bekah in the backseat of that car, I heard this song and my soul felt the arms of my "Daddy" wrap around me and say, "I know what is happening. I am Bekah's Abba, too."

We returned to campus and finally were given permission to visit Bekah at the hospital that evening. It took the doctors over 30 minutes to restart her heart the day before and Bekah was brain dead but on life support so her parents and friends could say their final goodbyes. As we mourned we lifted our voices in praise to God our Father who is the life-giver. Bekah was taken off life support and died on Saturday, May 2, 1998 at 5:37 am.

We all know we will see Bekah again one day and that she is safe in the arms of her "Daddy."

I always think of Bekah when I hear that album. I don't think about those last few hours that I knew her. I think of all the fun we had together. I remember her flinging herself on my bed and telling me about her latest crush and how impossible boys were. I think about her mom, dad, and sister and how I got to know them and see their hearts and know Bekah more through them.

That's why I love that album. It brings me the memory of my friend.

*Thanks Sahrie, for going through your journals to help me fill in all the little details like exact dates and times!


Jennie said...

I remember her making mini-snow men on the lawn between the library and dryer.

I remember random shopping trips on the mag mile.

I remember running to the lake at some ridiculous hour of the night to avoid studying.

I remember hot cups of friendship @ SBC.

I remember saying goodby; I look forward to saying hello again.


Mandie said...

I like that, "Hot cups of friendship."

Based on all the comments on Facebook, I know we all still think of her from time to time and can't wait to see her again!

I remember you specifically at the hospital. I don't know if we were standing next to one another or not, but I remember and have an image of you in my head standing there with tears streaming down your face saying goodbye.

BethnJuice said...

Wow, thanks for the reminder, Mandie. It's been a long time, but there are some things we never forget. I didn't know Bekah like you guys did, but she is forever a part of those of us who lived with her on Smith 5. I still think of her and her smile, and whenever I think of her, I think of chocolate ice cream with peanut butter cups in it from Dryer 2. That's what I was standing in line waiting to order the last time I saw Bekah. Praise God for the hope we have in Him.