(This is my tribute I shared at Cindy’s funeral. I may have added inflections and volume and emphasis to portions of this as I spoke. Gosh, I’m gonna miss her!)
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Cindy Ross, not only as a coworker, but she was my best friend. Now, some of you just said to yourself, “I’m her best friend,” but I’m making that claim today. Over the past eight years, she and I spent many hours together, and I could always anticipate her evil eye when she tired of me.
I could tell when I’d said too much or pushed her too hard, because she would grow silent, and I often told her, “I’m like sandpaper, I’ll rub you raw.” But then I’d tell her, “You know, God uses the broken and bruised, which is all of us.”
You know, I could tell you about a time Cindy got us lost as we headed to a Christian concert. Or maybe a dozen other outings where we circled, turned, and made U-turns. After all, who gets lost in an underground parking garage for more than an hour?
She always blamed the GPS on my phone, but one time, after we circled the same block and waved at the same man four times, I picked up her sense of direction. Or lack there of. She often held the phone in the air, sideways, as if North and South were up and down.
I could tell you about the time Cindy gave me a Christmas stocking with a million miniature toys inside. When I asked her why, she said I acted like a child most of the time. She was one to talk.
A Friend in the Band
I could tell you how we spent a million moments laughing, crying, and sharing our hearts with each other in my little blue car.
I could tell you how she picked up her guitar after our trip to Joplin after the E-5 tornado. How she wrote songs. How she played instruments. How she made her first CD a few years ago.
I could tell you how she sang worship songs. How she sang at church sometimes and played in the orchestra at this church. Now, I called it the band. But she often corrected me, “It’s called the orchestra.”
I could tell you how we handed out sandwiches and scriptures cards, and snacks and water to our homeless friends. How we took 300 Popsicles one summer and gave them all away. How she took to the street with me last year to tie scarves and hats on trees and benches for our homeless, when the weather dropped.
I could tell you how she was the slowest person I’ve ever known. And how she hated to get up early when we took trips. I told her the wrong time, to push her from her pillow.
I could tell you how I introduced her to my love of coffee. How she asked for mostly chocolate in hers.
Twisted Hearts Connected for Life
I could tell you how she engaged in trivia and sarcasm, at my expense. How she loved musicals, and eating burgers at the Twisted Root in Dallas. How she loved watching Oklahoma University play football. How she loved the songs by Amy Grant. How enthralled she was by red birds!
I could tell you how she walked a million steps by my side these last eight years. How our hearts connected. How our banter grew. How we nearly finished each others sentences. How we used all the oxygen inside my car on our outings. And on some days, on the outside of my car!
I could tell you how I insisted she lead the prayer in a setting one time, how she nearly hyperventilated. How I thought I would have to pick her up from the floor.
Yes, in some ways we were very different, except for what mattered. We both love Jesus! And we both love road trips!
A Forever View!
Last year, she and I took a girls trip to Yellowstone National Park. She always wanted to see the vast canyons and the buffalo. So we saved our pennies and made our plans. But a part of the journey included seeing the wild mustangs in Cody, Wyoming outside of Yellowstone.
We first drove down a dirt road on a range searching and not seeing any, we came to a hill that dropped straight down on the other side. Being in a rented SUV, we decided to park the car, and get out, taking in the surroundings. We didn’t want to chance sliding into the ravine. That’s when we saw the view. Painted canyons that landscaped the earth for miles and miles. We could almost touch the sky. But no horses!
We returned to the car, and Cindy held the binoculars, watching the terrain, and as we approached the main highway, to our left, she picked up two specks. So we drove down a sandy road, one we made with our car.
There on small hill, we spotted a blonde horse. And a brown horse. It was two wild mustangs and they were lifting their heads, kicking at the sand, almost if to say hello to us. I named one Pam. The other Cindy.
Rain, Hail, and Snow With a Friend
We took it all in, and relished the sight. We had the best view ever. Front row! It was magical! And yes, Cindy saw buffalo that weekend, as we had three roadblocks caused by those massive critters.
We also saw the waterfalls of Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon, where it rained, hailed and snowed on us, all in ten minutes. And we saw a mighty eagle on a giant nest on a rock that shot up from the canyon’s river. What a view. She said, “Look what God has created. This is amazing.”
You know, I’m sure Cindy doesn’t want any one of us to miss the view of seeing Christ either. So I have a feeling if she could ask you one thing today, this might be it. “What is the view of your future? And are you a follower of Jesus Christ?”
I’ve had the best view with Cindy. A view I’m so grateful for. She gave me a glimpse of Jesus too, because I saw Him in her life.
Thank you, David, Jamie, Zachary, Little David, Justin, Ms. Freda and Mr. Sydney for sharing Cindy with me! I’ll never be the same! She made me a better person! And I’ll treasure her always!
Cindy Ross, the best part of me. Cindy Ross, my best friend! And that’s just like her, she made sure she saw Jesus first.
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31 ESV).