Tonight, I have to say “see you soon” to one of the most remarkable women I have ever had the privilege to know, love, serve with and call my friend. Her name was Dianna Brown. The last of the original “God Squad” as they coined themselves.
I will never forget the day I met her. It was my first week in charge of the weekend bulletin and I was getting everything ready for the “God Squad” to arrive. I had no idea what to expect. And well, I was 19 years old and intimidated by my own shadow.
You see, they were the ones who stuffed and folded the bulletins every Friday. I honestly couldn’t finish my job without them and they quickly became “my volunteers.” Yes, I was and am quite possessive of them! Something else you should know about this group of volunteers, is that all of them could have been my grandparents, if not great-grandparents (all at least 70+ years old). All but Dianna. She was by far the youngest.
When they arrived my first day I saw Glenn, Faye, Pat and Lucy but behind them walks in this platinum-blonde, bright-pink-lipsticked, spit-fire of a woman. Beautifully boisterous. And I knew instantly that she was going to be my favorite.
She was simply Dianna.
And while we lost members of the God Squad over the years and recruited new members, Dianna was always there. Week after week and year after year, she lit up my Fridays in ways I can’t even begin to explain to you. To talk about her in the context of bulletins can seem so trivial, but when you serve with someone so consistently for nearly 5 straight years, there’s an unspoken bond that develops.
She loved being a mom. She loved even more being a grandma. She loved talking about her grandkids and what they did that morning or were going to do that coming weekend. She loved her pets as if they were her own kids. She loved her job and always talked about how good she was at it. She loved our church and serving there. She loved people and making them smile. She loved the God Squad and when I introduced a disabled group of adults to the mix, she was the first to hug them, help them and love on them.
She was always so supportive of me and always asked how I was doing. She supported my trips to Africa and loved living vicariously through my stories. She would always say how she just couldn’t believe I was single but to experience everything I can now. And to be honest if there’s anyone in this world I could imagine myself being like at 60 years old… it is Dianna. I mean, just look at her. Look at the life in this woman! Look at the joy.
The last thing I heard from Dianna was in an email that simply said, “You’re a sweetheart and I miss seeing your beautiful face at church. But hopefully I’ll be back soon. I do so love our God Squad. What a great group of people.” And even though she hadn’t been able to serve with us for a couple months now, I did believe her. I always thought she’d be back.
But my friend Dianna went Home on Tuesday, March 24 following a year-long battle with breast cancer.
I don’t know how to wrap this post up other than to say, “Dianna, thank you for what you brought to my life through your example of servanthood, love for me and others, your beautiful spirit and your compassion. Words simply can’t do justice to the life you lived and the impact you had on so many. I really can’t picture my Fridays without you in them. But I am thankful that you’re Home and that your battle on this earth is over. I will continue to take your advice and experience everything I can. I absolutely love you and miss you more than I even realized I could. And I know you would hate that I am sitting here with tears streaming down my face because you know we’re not done yet. See you soon, my friend.”