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Tribute to Robin Rowe

Updated: Dec 24, 2023

She was wearing light green scrubs with a bright orange drawstring the first time I saw her. Strawberry hair peeped through a blue mesh surgical cap. The color of her skin was freckle. She looked small in stature, but I’d soon find out that everything about Robin Rowe was larger than life. 

We were prepping for a c-section when she busted through double swinging doors like a blaze of glory. In a commanding southern South Carolina drawl she said, “Y’all ready?? Because I am!” 

I’ll admit that I was taken aback by her boisterous entrance into the room. Everything around us was abuzz. Tangled IV lines and beeping monitors created chaos, but in the rush of it all, and to my surprise, Robin ushered in a palpable peace. Saline was bolused through the patient's veins, but Robin was the Holy Spirit infusion that this soon-to-be-mama needed. 

She pulled her mask down, placed one hand on her chest, the other on her cheek as she got right in the face of that tired, tearful, fearful mother. “Listen to me. You do not have to be afraid. The Lord our God is with us. A new life is coming. We 'bout to celebrate! Do you hear me?” The mama nodded yes and never let go of Robin’s hand.

It was cold and dark outside–but Robin brought warmth and light inside that hospital room.

Minutes later, a bundle of blue was placed next to a calm, joyful, expectant mother. The surgical mask could not hide Robin’s smile nor mute her words of proclamation and outward projection of praise to Jesus. Music played in the OR, and in true Robin fashion, she danced.

It was my first memory and everlasting, forever impression of Robin Rowe.

I was heart-stricken by the actions of this spry, feisty, red-haired nurse who spoke truth, calmed fears, controlled chaos, promised celebration, and beckoned peace with her mere presence. 

Later we would become friends and I soon recognized she didn’t do those things because of who she was–she did those things bc of WHOSE she was.

Robin was a follower of Christ.  And followers of Jesus know how to celebrate in the midst of uncertainty, fear, confusion, loss, tragedy, and all that is hard - Followers of Christ know that Jesus is the reason we can celebrate with a hope beyond our situations or circumstances…and Robin knew this better than most.

I was looking back at old texts this week. She had sent me a picture of one of her most prized possessions—a souvenir that Jack had brought her back from his mission trip to the Dominican. It was a refrigerator magnet of reggae-looking hippie with dangly legs. He wore a peace sign necklace and was holding a lit joint. We never laughed so hard!!

But as I zoomed in on the picture, I noticed something this week that I had failed to notice in the past. Behind the pot smoking hippie magnet was scripture taped to her refrigerator. 

The words are from the Gospel of John. Chapter 14. 

“Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am you may be also. You know the way to where I am going.”

If you love me, you will keep my commands.

The one who has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.  And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father. I also will love him and will reveal myself to him.”

Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you.”

These words have carried me this week. Even in death, leave it to Robin to use taped up scripture on her refrigerator to remind all of us of the living promises of a living God– AS she is now living with Him in Heaven. 

While we feel this physical loss, I’d remind you that she is not lost . We know exactly where she is right now. And while we do not know the details of how she left this world, we know WELL how she lived IN this world. And at the end of our days, that’s the only thing that really matters.

Today and every day we celebrate Robin and her life. And if she were here right this minute she would use the opportunity to be brave and bold. She would tell us exactly what she told that patient years ago…… “You do not have to be afraid. The Lord our God is with us. New life is coming. We 'bout to celebrate! ”

She would tell you that Jesus Christ is our one hope and our only way. She would ask you to pray for her children and family–and then she would encourage us to pray for one another. 

She would tell us that sin does not get the final word. That sickness doesn’t stand a chance. And Death does not win in the end. 

Yes! That is worth celebrating!

I like to think of Robin at the end of her life, just like I witnessed her at the beginning. 

And I imagine her busting wide open through the gates of heaven in that same blaze of glory, saying, “Y’all ready. Because I am!”

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