Everyone has been writing these lovely posts about how they met Kara and their relationship with Kara. When Blythe sent out a message saying she was ready for more, I snarkily (if that’s not a word it should be) replied that everyone should set a deadline. That I would never hand any writing in without a deadline. And then someone brought up the fact that I hadn't written a blog about this yet... ha! Love that my friends can handle my sarcasm and throw it back at me.
I met Kara when I was 14. She and Jason had moved to town to take a job as the youth director at my church. My home church was not the easiest to jump in to; long lines of family ties had sewn us together, and breaking into that proved to be difficult. But I didn’t realize this until Kara told me years later—it had seemed so natural to her! She had immediately jumped in, befriending and loving us angsty teens. I remember chatting with my girlfriends about Kara—how we thought she was funny and so different. She was straight-forward and fun in ways that our small southern town wasn't. We laughed when she didn't understand the rules, but it ended up being one of my favorite parts of who she was.
When thinking about writing the story of my friendship with Kara, I left the inspiration to God, trusting that He would gift it when the time was right so that I could express well my feelings about this special girl.
Sure enough, He was faithful! It happened just after my annual ironing session the other day; as I went to put away the freshly ironed linen napkins that we had used at last Thanksgiving, I encountered this: colorful, vintage pinwheels. A whole bag full of them. Sitting there in the drawer. My breath caught itself short, and I had to sit down. The time to write my Kara story had come.
I like to say that I knew Kara Tippetts before she was famous. In other words, before her cancer diagnosis. Many people recognize her as the brave and courageous woman who lived and died with such grace and transparency. She was a hero and an example to many people, and rightly so. But she was also just a regular person like you and me.
Our first real conversation happened at The Little Gym. My daughters took a gymnastics class there, and my lovely wife, Heather, had invited the new-to-town Tippetts family to come check it out. So while our kids tumbled and rolled and summersaulted, Kara and I talked about music.
I’m still in shock most days. I’m not exactly sure when it’s going to sink in that Kara has gone to Heaven. Weekly I think about texting her—asking her advice or telling her something inappropriate. Y’all, she loved TMI stuff.
She had a blog before the one that everyone has started reading. Last week I was missing her something fierce and wanted to hear her words again. I vaguely remembered the name of the blog and googled a couple of key phrases. I found it and found all her words before cancer and before all those ugly/beautiful things were a part of her world (ps. I love the internet)...