Rarely Do we have Such a Blessing

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A Tribute to a Dear Friend

By Pam Kumpe

I will miss Cindy Ross, endlessly, until we meet again in heaven. And now, thankfully, she is no longer fighting cancer. She is at rest and at peace, for she is with Christ.
Cindy and I met some eight years ago, our hearts connecting like sisters, as our journey of friendship opened like a rainbow in the sky. (My twin sister, Mel, thinks I loved Cindy so much because they were similar. I think she’s right.)
Now, Cindy loved music and writing songs, and could play several instruments. And I often teased her that she was in the “band” at church, but she called it the orchestra. I still call it the band.
Of course, she loved picking on me. And I loved picking on her. She often countered me with her sarcasm and one liners, and she held a reservoir of trivia, too.

Rarely Do we See Rainbows in Hearts
On one of our adventures, she traveled with me to Joplin, MO, after the E-5 tornado ripped through the city. We handed out copies of my children’s book to children affected by the devastation, an outing filled with awe, tears, and unexpected joy.
By the end of the weekend, and with a long drive in front of us, our hearts were flooded with emotion. We digested the memory as if all the colors of the rainbow had been cast before our eyes and our hearts.
For we met a man sitting on steps where his church used to be, and a grandma in her yard searching for family photos. We watched a flag ripple in the breeze of a twisted tree. We chatted with a group of people passing out water.
And we listened to a nurse who cried each time she drove in on weekends to volunteer at the hospital. We also prayed for work crews who moved rubble to make way for the new.
We had stopped at dozens of locations, even making a stop at the children’s wing of the hospital where we left 25 picture books.
We also met two boys in a yard where a boat sat in what used to be their house. And the small boy, Keaton, loved dogs. Thus, the book a gift he wanted since the story is about a dog named Schade. (We left 125 pictures books that weekend, and met some glorious new friends.)
So as we left Joplin, the biggest rainbow, like an arch over the highway stretched for miles. All the colors were vibrant as if the rainbow painted hope over the city.

Rarely Does a Friend Writes Such a Song on My Heart
Cindy would end up writing a song about that one boy, calling the song “Keaton’s Rainbow,” — for we were sure everyone saw that rainbow as we did! One phrase says, “Hold on … hold on… you just gotta hold on. Jesus says, take my hand and hold on … tight.”
Now as I think of our friendship, I must say to her, “Cindy Ross, thank you for letting me see Jesus in you. I’ve worked with you. Played with you. Served with you. And prayed with you. I’ve gotten lost in cities with you, too. (She didn’t know north from south.) I’ve laughed with you. And cried with you. And no matter what, you have loved me in spite of my being a crazy and rather chaotic friend. And yes, we often took the road less traveled, but somehow, I know God directed each turn and twist. Thank you for being my friend! I’ll drink a mocha chocolate coffee and think of you—always.“ (And I don’t like mocha coffee, but I will do anything for her.)
So if you’re still reading this, know this, I’ll never forget Cindy’s last words to me last week, when she said, “I love you … more.”
“Thank you my dearest friend, for letting me see God’s light shining through you. I will treasure you always!”
Cindy Ross, you were one of a kind. Your faith was in Christ and Him alone! And you now live with the One who sketches the rainbow in the sky! So, in the meantime, “I will give the Lord glory and hold on tightly, to the Savior’s hand, until I see you, again.”

Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart. ~~ Ephesians 5: 19 EVS

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