So anyway, at the fall retreat there would always be a poster for everyone to sign for everyone else. Kids would write "yearbook" stuff like, "You're rad, see you at school!" and "You're awesome and such a sweetie!" But there were a few that resonated with me reading it now, 10 years later. One of the comments was from Courtney Guenther.
Courtney and I sort of grew up together and weren't great friends through high school, but part of me thinks that we could have been. She was an awesome Christian. She was very open about her faith and unafraid to stand for Jesus. She was part of our morning prayer group that met every morning at 745ish in the hall by the cafeteria. I remember meeting for prayer every day and being scared because it was around the time Kip Kinkel went crazy and shot his parents and kids at his high school, and the Columbine shooting in Colorado. It scared me to stand in the hall and pray because I was afraid that someone would shoot me because I was a Christian. I remember praying for God to give me strength. Anyway, Courtney was in that group. We were also in Port City Singers, the choir that students had to audition for. That was another class that was so fun. I learned a lot about music, but mostly it was another place to goof off with my friends. (Jennie was in that class too, which just shows we goofed off a lot together in high school under the guise of being "good students"!)
Courtney went to Hope International University after high school. I was home for Christmas that year (2001) and spent the night at Gina's house, another good friend at the time. Her dad was the vice principal of Astoria High. He got a call about Courtney being in a car accident. We found out that she had been in an accident on Hwy 101 and hit some black ice, hit a guard rail and died.
I was crushed.
For such a young, beautiful, faithful woman to have died so suddenly...I couldn't comprehend it. It made for a bittersweet Christmas. Occasionally I have these days where I think about her and feel sad. I feel sad for what might have been, she was such a wonderful person with such a strong spirit and passion for Jesus. Then I remember, she's with Jesus. No doubt about it in my mind. She's so much better off that me who's still here on Earth. I try to remember that all the wonderful things in my life that God has given me (Bill, the girls, my family) are tiny compared to the infinite power and glory of Jesus.
Courtney's the lucky one. Not that I sit at home all day wishing my life were over...I deeply enjoy where God has placed me right now and I pray that he gives me a long life. But I know that there's something so much better waiting for me. I'm not sad for Courtney, just sad that she's not here right now, and that's a little selfish of me.
That's me and Courtney on the left in the top picture (apologies to Kami in the bottom picture, this was the best one I had...my camera's a little confusing to me, maybe I'm just "technologically challenged).