It’s been 10 years since I first met Albert.
A couple of us missionaries were in the park with a picnic blanket and a tray of pasta, looking to invite some hungry folks to share a meal with us.
Albert happened to be strolling through with the most approachable grin. I couldn’t help but invite him to join us. We spent the afternoon having lunch and likely talking about Louisiana, blueberry pancakes, shoes, and drag racing: his favorites things.
One of the most beautiful gifts of being part of the Christ in the City family for so long is witnessing the power of friendship and community to pierce hearts.
Over the past decade, Albert became a dear friend to many of us. As his health declined, he was moved into assisted living where our missionaries and staff visited him regularly. Let’s just say he had an ample amount of visitors!
What a joy it was to update him on my life, introduce him to my husband, and in most recent years, take our son to spend time with him.
He would always remind my little boy to be good and listen to your mom, reciting a phrase that his mom would tell him every day since he was little, “Albert, you be good today.” To which he would reply, “Okay Ma, just for you.”
He was a gem in every way.
In May, our dear friend Albert passed away. Although he is greatly missed, his simple and profoundly beautiful life continues to teach me so much.
How simple it can be to make myself present to others, to receive another person with no agenda, just intentionally opening my eyes to the people God places on my path.
The pure love we seek to give, free of conditions or judgment, is the same love that Jesus wants us to accept for ourselves. It can’t be earned. It’s always a gift, whether we believe we deserve it or not.
Albert showed us all this type of love.
Today, on All Souls Day, we celebrate that love is stronger than death.
I invite you to join us in praying for the friends of Christ in the City who have passed away over the last year, many of whom had no one else to call family. They were each such a gift to our community.
May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Abby served in Christ in the City’s first missionary class in 2011-2012. She now works on staff as the Director of Communications where she gets to continue sharing the mission across the country!