Kara Tippetts, 1976-2015
It is done. She died today. A mutual friend of ours texted to tell me. I was sitting out with my neighbors when I heard the news. One of the neighbors read Kara’s book, and has been following her story. We talked about what a difference she made in our lives, and in the lives of others. I could not feel sad, no matter how hard I tried. I felt joyful. I — we — have had the opportunity to see a saint meet her death. Every single one of us will walk this same path, but how glorious she made it. It is impossible to believe that she is dead, only changed.
This morning I didn’t make it to liturgy, because I was feeling too sick from mono, but I prayed the liturgy at home, and I read from Robert Louis Wilken’s great book The Spirit of Early Christian Thought. Nothing I have ever read has excited me as much about the early church. In the passage I read this morning, Wilken writes about Augustine teaching that one learns to be a Christian not by studying doctrine and arguments, but by watching people who love Jesus Christ. Wilken:
The place to begin is not with the truth or falsity of certain teachings, but with the persons whose lives are formed by the teachings. In matters of religions it is reasonable to being by following. Augustine is not speaking about blind obedience or leaping into the dark or submitting to someone else’s dictates: he is speaking about placing one’s confidence in men and women whose examples invite us to love what they love.
This morning when I read that passage, I thought of Kara Tippetts, and her example. How the divine light shone through her so brightly. I want to be like her in so many ways, and I know she will be praying for me and my family. See that image above? That’s our refrigerator. Kara and Jason Tippetts have been staring at us from the fridge every day for a while. They will continue to be present for us as an icon, through which the light of Christ shines. What a privilege to have known of her.
Tonight after I put the kids to bed, I will gather myself before my icon of Christ, and pray the prayers for the departed, for Kara. How strange and wonderful that I’m rejoicing that her pain is over, and that we have all gained a phenomenal intercessor.
I know. Crazy Christian stuff. That’s how we are. Kara, Kara, Kara. Shine on, baby, shine on. Last September, just before her book came out, she wrote me to thank me for the encouragement I gave her as a writer. She said, “One day we will meet — this side of the veil or the next.”
We will. We will!
The family is requesting that in lieu of flowers, folks send donations for the Tippetts children:
P.O. Box 49727
Colorado Springs, CO 80949