Because She Heard The Call

Back in the fall, Emily and I decided to sign up for the Disciple Bible Study one of the pastors was offering on Wednesday evenings. I’ve continued going without her, even though it’s been hard.

Tonight, we got on the topic of “listening to God’s call” and all that jazz. I didn’t say much (or really anything). But, as I listened to others share and discuss, my mind thought of so many things — one of which was Emily.

Helping Hands and a Loving Heart

I’ll admit, getting to know Emily often took people a while because she could be very quiet and almost guarded. However, it didn’t take long for me to see how much she loved helping others.

She was always giving people advice, checking in with those who were struggling, and talking to friends who were in crisis. She helped friends and family, but she also helped people she barely even knew (or didn’t know at all). It didn’t matter how tired she was or whether she had an entire paper to write that day for school — if you needed her, Emily was there, no questions asked.

I have always considered myself to be a helpful person, but even I couldn’t keep up with Emily sometimes. It was always very clear to me that, for better or worse, she was called to help others. And, unlike many young adults, Emily knew that about herself, too.

So Many Ways to Help

As Emily finished her bachelor’s degree at MTSU less than 6 months after we met, I stood out in the parking lot after group one day and asked her what I thought was a simple question: What’s next for you after graduation?

Much to my surprise, she didn’t have an answer, or at least not a simple one.

Emily explained that, before the last half of 2017 turned her life upside down, she’d considered going into ministry. However, she also shared that she had some concerns (one of them being her sexuality). She worried that she wouldn’t be able to explore that part of herself if she made the choice to go through the candidacy process.

She also wanted to get her master’s degree in social work. She said, “I either want to work with people recovering from eating disorders or be a transplant social worker, but I’m not sure which.” Of course, I knew even back then that she’d be good at either one because her lived experience would give her empathy and knowledge far beyond most others.

Eventually, she made the decision to pursue her MSW at the University of Kentucky, although the process to get there took a while.

A Calling I Thought We’d Share

The entire time Emily was in grad school, we talked about the future. We created an entire plan about opening a treatment center together someday. We had so many plans for it that I’ll eventually share in another post, but the general idea was we wanted a place specifically geared towards helping people between 25-40 (maybe a bit more expanded) who lived with an eating disorder. However, we didn’t want to be like most of the facilities we knew: we wanted to treat all bodies, offer a safe space for all people, and provide trauma-informed care.

We knew this would take time and money, but I know the idea of helping others motivated Emily. She was so determined to finish grad school (which she did) and take her licensing exam (which she missed doing by less than a week).

Every time we discussed it, she lit up. I even asked her on several occasions if she ever regretted choosing me over going into ministry, and she said no. She always claimed that she could help people just as much (if not more).

So, I held onto that idea of us opening a treatment center together one day. In fact, I still held onto that idea, even after her death.

Because of Emily, I had big dreams of helping others. And because I want her legacy to live on, I might still do that… Although it will be strange to do so without my better half.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s