Sono Harris’ Memorial

That was a Saturday I’ll never forget. July 10th, 2010 was the memorial service for Sono Harris. It was held at the church that my kids used to regularly attend for their home school achievement tests at the end of every school year. The warm, sunny weather seemed to push through the day as if no one was grieving, as if everything was right in the world.

But it wasn’t.

People were hurting. Tears were being shed. Hearts were breaking.

My heart broke for the family. I grieved for the teenage children who needed their mother to help sort out their awkward growing pains still; the established and married children who admired and respected their mother’s heart for them and their accomplishments; and the youngest one who will miss years of his mother’s warm hugs — all journeying on in this life without her.

Then, there was her husband, Gregg, with whom she grew up together and shared a life. My heart breaks for his loss.

At the memorial, the song “Legacy” by Nichole Nordeman was played as the congregation watched a photo montage tribute to Sono’s life. The photos that affected me so much were the ones of her and Gregg as a young couple, before they were famous, probably when they were in their early twenties. They were first of all a couple in love. They married at the age of 22 and 24. There was a goofy photo of the couple that featured Gregg with a “Magnum PI”-styled haircut and mustache and Sono looking young and lovely, both making silly faces at the camera. That made me laugh out loud. Another featured Sono while pregnant with her twins, Alex and Brett. She’s petite, so it was an amazing photo of her. The photos of her days before her death were tender, as she was surrounded by her family amongst the trees on their property.

Every time I saw a picture of Gregg and Sono, I wept.

I wasn’t alone. The whole congregation was weeping. My friends and two of their children were sitting beside me in the back of the auditorium. I passed some tissues to my friends and others I didn’t recognize who came to show their respect.

When Josh Harris, Sono and Gregg’s eldest son, spoke lovingly about his mother and his voice cracked with emotion, I couldn’t see through my tears, and my burly friend sitting next to me wiped his eyes. Josh and other close friends of the family spoke and gave testimony to the dedication and heart that Sono had for others and her family. Then their second eldest son, Joel, sang and performed a beautiful song he had written for his mother days before her death. It was entitled “Goodnight Mama” and was heavenly with the stringed quartet accompanying him. His sister, Sarah, also sang a beautifully sweet song to honor the memory of her mother.

Josh related how Sono’s life and passionate ministry to her family was a reflection of the Hidden Treasure parable in Matthew 13:44, in which he quoted her. I don’t have her fantastic quote but I have the verse here:

~The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.~

The end of her great quote relating to giving all that we have in our dedication and love for God and for others was like this:

“We must buy the field.”

Randy Alcorn gave some words of encouragement about Sono’s new home in Heaven. He related how as believers in Jesus we have a glorious time to look forward to with Jesus in Heaven. Randy also had numerous reading material based off his bestselling book “Heaven” available at the book table in the foyer for people to take without charge — a gift that Sono wanted at her memorial. These materials answer questions for those who want to know more about Heaven and Jesus.

Afterward I hugged some old friends and stored up that experience in my heart. I had a confirmation there. It really IS about love and knowing Jesus. There isn’t time in this life for strife. There’s always time for love and encouragement. I know we all have difficulties and differences, but we must walk this path in the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and not in our flesh, as is so often the case.

My husband and I pray daily for the Harris family, and for Gregg especially, because he and Sono had been together for so long and built a family together. My heart is for people’s healing and for seeing believers come to unity in Christ. Someday that will happen, I know it.

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