In today’s world it is commonplace to embellish or exaggerate when discussing the qualities or character of another. How many times a day do we hear someone say, “He/she is one the most” followed by some complimentary adjective, such as “loving, selfless, compassionate”, and the list goes on and on. We have all been guilty of this simple indulgence, and while in a singular act, it may appear to be a harmless cordiality, when this exaggeration is enacted on a grand scale, it slowly erodes the weight that these phrases were intended to carry.
We don’t take the time to realize that our actions have created unintended victims: the individuals among us who are truly exemplary; those who truly deserve all the gravity that these words were meant to hold. Anyone who knew Sarah Lever, or “Tay” as she was affectionately known by her family, understands the tragedy that results from our overindulgence of powerful rhetoric, for she deserves so much more than our now empty words can now give her.
So here I am, tasked with what amounts to painting the Mona Lisa, armed with no more than a pencil. As I find myself trying to put into words just how special Tay truly was, I am reminded at how limiting language can be and find that the best words I can muster are the same overused words and expressions that will be lost on those who did not know her. Yet, I must at least make an attempt, even if it falls short of capturing just how wonderful a human being she truly was.
The word that I found most fully describes Tay is love. I cannot begin to describe the depth of the love that she had for God and all of his creations. Nor can I fully express the unending love and compassion that she showered freely and equally upon strangers and family alike. Though the number of people loved by her was vast, we all still received more love than we could ever return, for she loved with a vigor that could only be matched by our Lord God. She delighted in bestowing praise and thanks to those around her for their compassion and love, yet she never realized that we were returning a mere fraction of the love she had shared with us. This was what was special about her love: it inspired more love. Anyone who was touched by her was compelled to touch others in a similar way. As a result, her legacy of love can be seen and felt on this Earth across city, state, and country lines. Still, despite all my praise, I can never fully describe the beauty, joy, and compassion that she exuded every day of her life, nor can I express the joy that I have experienced from having her in mine; I will forever love and miss her until they day I am finally reunited with her in heaven.