Saturday, September 26, 2015
Remembering Lisa Ramos Moran
Lisa Ramos Moran was one of my oldest friends. We met through the youth group of New Garden Friends Meeting when we were both in junior high school (I am a year older) and have remained connected ever since. We shared so many experiences in high school, including my first trip to New York- a trip on which she met her eventual husband, Dan Moran. We used to greet each other in a most unusual way back in the day. I would greet her with "Ram it, Ramos!" She would respond with "Jam it, Jones!" And then we would hug. Today, friends and family from all over with gather at High Point Friends Meeting to say a final farewell to Lisa, who went to be with her God on Wednesday after to a long battle with pancreatic cancer. She has three grown children- Dani Shea, Alexander and Eli- and is married to her high school sweetheart-still her sweetheart- Dan. As this day arrived and I wanted to pay tribute to my old friend, words failed me. She touched so many lives. And then it came to me that my words were unnecessary- I had hers. Lisa wrote a guest post for this blog back in 2012 that says everything you need to know if you didn't know her- and everything you already knew if you did. I cannot be there in body today, but I am there is spirit. We love you Lisa, and someday, when we meet again on the streets of heaven, you know how I will greet you. And hearing "Jam it, Jones!" in return will once again be music to my ears.
My Best Day in Ministry: Flowers for Lisa
Luke 12:28 - If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?
Carl and I go way back and I was so excited to be able to volunteer for this writing venture!
Just like all of the other guest writers, I have had many good days in Youth ministry but when I decided to respond to Carl’s request a certain day just popped into my mind. I feel a bit narcissistic because this story is all about me …
Last summer, my friend, Sheila- the Youth Minister at First Friends – and I took a group of youth to Philadelphia. There were tweens and teens from both Meetings. I had 3 middle school girls and my youngest son, a rising college freshman. There were 7 youth from First Friends. It was more of an educational trip than a mission trip but God is good, all the time. Our mission, even if we didn’t put a name to it, was about learning love and strengthening bonds within our groups. That, too, can be important work.
We had a blast! We took the train, which was a brand new experience for most, and got to know each other quickly. We learned so much Quaker history, visiting various Meetings and historical sites. We worked with the American Friends Service Committee Office in Philly to make a video about peace. We laughed, ate Philly steak sandwiches and took a bus tour of the city. We walked with mostly beautiful weather above and took lots of pictures.
The last day we were to meet in the lobby, store our suitcases with the hotel staff and head on our last day’s adventures. As I headed to the Starbucks in the lobby (not much roughing it on this trip) my 3 middle school girls met me, giggling as only middle school girls do, with grins as big as their faces, with three of the most beautiful flowers ever. They had bought them at the market and they had bought them just for me.
It was such a spontaneous, beautiful, heartfelt and pure gesture of love from these three beautiful, drama-filled, lovely, mood-swinging, gifts-from-God middle school girls, I could hardly breathe. Maybe you think I am overreacting. I didn’t faint, or cry, or any of that but I was so touched. We took our picture with the flowers and then I decided we needed to put them in a water bottle and carry them with us the rest of the day! I asked the girls if they were up to helping me make sure the blooms survived and we were off!
The flowers rode the tour bus with us, went through the Eastern State Penitentiary with us, had a place on the steps that Rocky ran up, and even rode the train home with us.
The whole trip was great but that day was special. I am a huge fan of the “Rocky” movies- I know, cheesy at best- and I got my picture taken by the statue and a few of us ran up the steps leading up to the Museum of Art. The double decker tour bus ride was so much fun and the weather was perfect. The prison was both surreal and very interesting. The kids were lapping up our last little bit of time in the city, excited for our train ride home but not wanting to leave our own big adventure. And my girls, and my flowers, were my treasure.
Luke 12: 34 - The place where your treasure is- that is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.
The day brought one of those times when I knew I was where I wanted to be, needed to be and hoped I could stay- in the lives of these young people and others, getting to know them, encouraging them and getting so much encouragement from them. I hope that I am teaching them kindness, helping them see how we can work on the ideals of the Kingdom of God here on earth and I hope to remember to thank Jesus for the flowers along the way!
Romans 1: 8, 12 - I thank God through Jesus for every one of you! But don't think I'm not expecting to get something out of this, too! You have as much to give me as I do to you.
I send each and every one of you blessings, peace and joy in everything you do!