In his sermon yesterday, the pastor asked us if we had an “Easter Heart”. In other words, is our heart strong and pumping, full of life? Has it loved? Has it broken? Has it resurrected?
The Easter heart made me think of my dear swimming friend Beth, who died in her sleep a few nights ago. She was only fifty years old, and one of the fittest people I’ve even known. Beth was a world-class swimmer, going 1:48 in the 200 yard Freestyle thirty years ago. That’s an excellent time even today! She often impressed me with her toughness, particularly when I witnessed her breaking the master’s world record in the 50 Freestyle.
Beth had a heart condition. Though her heart was full of life, love, and caring for those around her, her heart gave out. At this point I’m not sure if her heart problems led to her untimely death, but it seems likely.
Beth was a strong, independent woman. She would always pepper me with questions–she was truly interested in people–and seemed to know everyone on the pool deck. She held a demanding job as a video producer, involving travel and long hours, but somehow managed to progress toward her doctorate in Sports Humanities. We’d sometimes meet at the university library so she could work on her papers while I wrote my novel. She told me I made funny faces when I typed away at my laptop.
My face is now full of sorrow. Beth’s heart has been broken. But on Easter Sunday, her heart has been resurrected too. Swimmer, friend, curious mind, accomplished woman. Beth will always live on, in my heart.