And Yet… (Jan-Feb 1998)

By Matt Dabbs

Memorial Service for Amy Krazer

conducted by Mike Cope
January – February, 1998

30Amy Elizabeth Krazer was born on August 12, 1986 and she died at home on June 13, 1997 after a fifteen-month battle with ovarian cancer. She attended Young Children’s World here at Highland and was an honor student at Jackson elementary School, where she participated in the ALPS program. She had just completed the fifth grade.

She is survived by her parents and her brother, Adam; her grandparents, Ralph and Anita Krazer of Abilene and Jeaninne Brannon of Ft. Worth; her great grandmother, Mrs. Blanch Brannon of Bowie; and by uncles, aunts, cousins, and many friends.

Those are the sparse facts, the few things you can put in a newspaper. But to really tell you about Amy, you have to tell about people. About Mom, Dad, Adam, Nick. Grandparents. Whitney, Lacy, Lindy, Will, Suzie, and lots of other friends. Her world was a world full of people whom she loved.

You also have to tell about animals: dogs, cats, dolphins, turtles, frogs, snakes, hamsters. And how many of us had no clue what a sugar glider was before Amy? A couple of stories convey this deep love.

First, the time she and Whitney caught frogs at the ranch. They put them in separate containers, but in the morning Whitney’s frog was dead. So Amy preached the funeral. How many frogs get that kind of respect?

Second, the time Steve picked up a large rock at the ranch and saw a field mouse. Called to Amy to come see it. Just as she got there, he lost his grip on the rock and it fell – crushing the poor mouse. “Murderer,” she muttered. “Murderer.”

Someone told me she can just picture Amy in heaven. First, looking around for Hootie (her grandfather who died three years ago). And then she tracked down Noah, the man who got to live on a boat with every animal imaginable. Heaven within heaven.

You also have to tell about flowers, fingernail painting, choreographed songs, swimming, cake-baking, the ranch, the “babbling brook,” Golden Fried Chicken, Bush’s Cow Meat, trampolines, four-wheelers, go-carts.

You have to tell the wonderful stories. Like when she, Melany, and Mallory were playing basketball and a younger boy across the street came over. After finding him a bit too annoying at the moment, she said, “You make me so mad I could pull my head off.” “You cannot.” “Well, I might just pull my hair off then.” “Can’t do that either.” So she peeled her wig right off her head and squealed with laughter as he went running back across the street, his eyeballs as big as the basketball.

Or maybe the time she and Will broke out of Cook Medical Center to go to Burger King. She was hooked up to Jules (the name she gave the IV pole after a person she knew of who never quit talking), but that didn’t stop them. They took the doctors’ elevator, snuck out, and crossed the street. That must have been quite a sight: Amy, Will, and Jules on the lam.

Her headstone will have the dates August 12, 1986 and June 13, 1997. You’ll always remember those two days. Just don’t forget the dash representing all the days in between.

A few months ago I read Elie Wiesel’s memories, hoping to learn how this man survived the tragedy of the holocaust, losing nearly everyone close to him in the concentration camps. I think I found what I was looking for when he wrote that his two favorite words in the English language are the words “AND YET.” Those two words are a powerful rebuttal to the chirpy, syrupy optimism of people who wear rose-colored glasses. They force us to look deep into the dark hole of suffering. But those two words are also embossed invitations to hope for people so blinded by pain they can’t even see. They are courageous, defiant words.

Jesus died a cruel death on the cross one Friday. He was betrayed by one of his followers, denied by one of his best friends, abandoned by many. AND YET, on Sunday God raised him up so that today he is King of kings and Lord of lords.

Today many of us are hurting so badly we can’t stand it. We’re experiencing the down side of love. For every time we love someone as much as as you loved Amy we become vulnerable. AND YET – wasn’t it worth it? Isn’t the old saying right – that it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all? The other option isn’t too appealing. As Frederick Buechner has said: “The trouble with steeling yourself against the harshness of reality is that the same steel that secures your life against being destroyed secures your life also about being opened up and transformed by the holy power that life itself comes from.”

We’re also hurting today because Amy’s life was so short. She didn’t get to become a teenager, go to high school, attend college, or open the first all-girl veterinary clinic in Abilene with Whitney. AND YET maybe we’re the fools for measuring life more in length than in depth. Some people could be physically alive as long as Methuselah and not live, really live, as much as Amy did in these ten years. We grieve over how long it will be until we see her. AND YET from heaven’s perspective, the eternal perspective she now shares, the difference between ten years and eighty years must be laughably small.

There’s also a lot of sadness because we know the world needed Amy; needed her life, her love, her creativity, her directness. She didn’t get to do much. AND YET, Scripture tells us that the significant things in the kingdom are quite different than what we count as significant. For example, when the prophets picture the coming of the kingdom, they envision it as a time when the lion and lamb lie down together. A time when earth’s chaos is set aside – freed from hatred and violence. In this moving zoo of Amy’s life – from dolphin to sugar glider – she was proclaiming the kingdom of God, a kingdom which broke in through Jesus Christ but will not come fully until he returns.

We’re fearful today because we know how difficult the following days will be. We won’t be able to soar with wings like eagles or run and not grow weary, as Isaiah promised. AND YET, in the same scripture God promised that when we couldn’t soar or run, we could walk and not faint. I can testifying that this promise is true. If you feel like crying, then cry a bucket full of tears. If you feel like questioning God, then fill a book with your questions. If some day you think you can’t breathe because of grief, let your friends intubate you and breathe for you.

Finally, we’re sad today because God didn’t asnwer our prayers. Thousands of people pleaded for Amy’s life for fifteen months, and God didn’t heal her. I think to myself, if I were God for a day, ten-year-old girls wouldn’t have to die. AND YET, if I were God for a day, what a mess this world might be! For I am not God. His ways are beyond my ways and his understanding far exceeds my limited insights.

This much I do know:

First, I know that God cries with you today. Just as you’ve cried with God over the death of his son, so he cries with you over the death of Amy.

Second, I know that we’re not crazy for having questions. Scripture is honest; it is full of cries of lament and questions like “how long, O Lord, how long?” But those outbursts come in Scripture because they come from the lips of believers. Faith and lament often walk hand in hand. For in our pain where else could we possibly turn?

Third, I know that God has healed Amy. Not in the way we had hoped, but in a way that’s far better. Who knows what pain he may have delivered her from? We assume the rest of her life would have been wonderful. But what if there was great pain and suffering ahead? She is now fully healed.

In the process of her dying, many of us were changed. We were forced to ask questions about life, death, heaven, and angels. We were made to see how foolish all the human energy spent on careers, reputations, and possessions is. We were confronted by her impending death with the preciousness of each day – each moment!

Unbeknownst to us, Amy became our minister. She was a jar of clay in whom was the treasure of the gospel. She carried around in her body the suffering and dying of Jesus so that we might see the life of Jesus.

Friday when two of her friends saw each other for the first time after her death, as they embraced I heard one of them say tearfully to the other, “She’s in a better place.”

Amy is gone. AND YET we will see her again.Wineskins Magazine

Mike Cope

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Profile photo of Matt DabbsThis author published 1577 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.

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