I want to thank the family of friends who
stayed forever by her side: Lauren, Joanie, Dianne
(Christine's cousin), Valerie & Denise, Jewel & Rue, Thea, Phill,
Preston, Dorthea (especially for your late night phone calls
that got her through -- I was "the bug" and you were "the
pest"), Bernadette (she went to Alaska), the nursing staff and
aides at Kaiser Hospital (especially the aide who covered
Christine, cleaned her teeth and prepared her for the journey),
and those numerous others whose names I cannot remember now,
thank you. A very special thanks to the gentleman I did
not know (I believe you spent three months in the hospital after
having a heart attack) who came to sing and to give Christine
the truth. I could tell by looking at you how
uncomfortable you were with God's command for you to bring her
truth. A nervousness that cuts to the bone is one of the
things you feel when the spirit hits you. But, you did it,
you made it through, and it was a job well done. Never
question or fear it, think of Caleb.
On June 18, 1989, I had a spiritual experience that changed my
life forever; I experienced the voice of God. It happened on a
night I asked God for help in my life and in business. I asked
for direction and guidance and vowed I would stay up all night,
just as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane until the answer
came. (Little did I know, I would practice a similar all-nighter
for Christine and hear her words imploring me to “stay awake.”)
At that time in my life, I had moved from being an agnostic to
becoming a member of a church and being baptized at 31 years of
age. My spiritual journey spanned two years and I learned much
during that time sitting “at the feet of Jesus.” Nothing and no
one could have prepared me for that joyous night.
While in prayer, from within the deepest part of me, deep within
my soul came the words “Caleb.” It was such a powerful feeling,
this word resonated through my soul, I nearly became breathless
from the force of the word – Ca, Ca, Ca, Caleb. I immediately
jumped to my feet and intellect took over and I thought I would
search out Caleb through the indices of the various Bibles I
possessed. As I searched through the index of my Jerusalem
Bible, my Good News Bible, my Scofield Bible, my King James
Bible, all of them, I soon realized my intellect would not solve
the question of Caleb.
I returned to the living room and while looking out of the
window, I said to God, “okay Lord, as I am wont to do I have
gone off half-cocked. Where will I find Caleb?” I returned to my
knees and almost immediately, just as before came the words
“Joshua 14:6.” In disbelief at what I was experiencing and
partly embarrassed to ask the question, I asked God “how do I
know this is you?” Again, forcefully, the response was “JOSHUA
14:6!” Needless to say, I got it.
I returned to the Bibles sprawled across the floor and this time
picked up my Good News Bible and turned to Joshua 14:6 and there
the heading read “Caleb inherits the hill country.” I fell to my
knees in prayer and cried. I don't remember if I got the
answer to my particular questions, all I knew was God was with
me and would always be with me all I need do is ask. I
understood so much in that moment and slowly, over the next few
weeks and months, I noticed a number of changes in myself. I
became an “I Can” person, I picked my battles and wasted little
energy on battles and problems that were not mine to fight or
solve. I discovered my soul and realized if I paid close
attention and shut out the noise around me, my soul would lead
me where I needed to go, when I needed to go, and would direct
me to those I needed to know. I also realized a very
uncomfortable unknowing feeling, sometimes I won’t know why
I do what I do, I just need to do it and later, I would find
understanding. I then asked God to make me for others what I
needed for me.
The uncomfortable unknowing is what brought me to
California. On the coldest day of the year, in January 1990, I
asked God to show me the desires of my heart. I had a series of
dreams. Two dreams in the series have actually happened.
The first showed me living in an integrated neighborhood (a
fantasy for a Chicagoan). In the other, I was walking to the
beach and saw some odd thing covering a car window with a
picture of a snow peaked mountain. I remember asking someone in
the dream what it was and was told it was a windshield cover
(unheard of in Chicago) with a picture of snow on a mountain.
I live in an integrated neighborhood near the mountains where I
can see the snow.
This was not my plan, however, in 1990. My plan was to
leave Chicago and go to Atlanta – not Los Angeles. This plan
changed while at mass. Everyday at lunchtime, I would go over to
St. James Cathedral in Chicago to celebrate mass. This
particular day, not only did I learn of a new destination, I
also learned the date and the day I would travel from Chicago to
Los Angeles. Stunned, I walked back to work trying to understand
why Los Angeles of all places and then this day and date? I
looked at my desk calendar and was stunned again to find the
date given to me was indeed a Sunday. The date was September 9,
1990. Being obedient, on September 9, 1990, I left Chicago and
moved to Los Angeles.
1995, I was invited to Unity Fellowship Church. During the
service, I noticed a woman standing by a door on the far end of
the church. What I noticed was the loving way she addressed
people, her beautiful smile, and a rock when she laughed. She
was beautiful. When the lights dimmed in the church, I could no
longer see this woman. As the lights rose again the choir sang
and I noticed this woman had moved from where she was standing
on one side of the church to the other side where she was
singing in the choir. She was amazing. I was moved to return to
Unity just to see the ballet of this woman as she moved through
the church, from one side to the other, to see her smile and to
enjoy her proud posture.
I actually got a chance to meet this woman at a women’s rap
group held at Unity one weekday evening. I was tormented about
going to this meeting. I began to feel that uncomfortable
unknowing gnawing at me. I didn’t want to go, I was
physically tired, but I knew I had to go because of that
uncomfortable unknowing. Tormented, I left my apartment
early and drove around seeking excuses for not going. Finally, I
drove to a KFC where I picked up some chicken for the meeting
and got to the church early. I vowed if I saw no one there, I
would leave with the chicken. Unfortunately, people were there
and I had to go in.
Honestly, I was bored through much of the meeting until the
woman who sang in the choir came in. I sat up then, my spirit
was at ease, I was no longer tired or bored, I was very
attentive and wanted to hear what she had to say and did she say
a mouthful. She started talking about being glad to be back in
her house, she talked about losing her house in the earthquake
and having it rebuilt and the cost of rebuilding, she talked
about being laid off at the end of the month, and then she
stated she had skills and talents and knew she would be okay.
She smiled and laughed through all of the bad news she shared. I
immediately liked this woman.
After the meeting, I gave her my card and shared with her what I
did and gave her some info pertaining to my business. I
discovered she too liked computers and we talked a good long
while. My personal conversation with her was just as
exhilarating as her presence. She was a “can do” woman. When I
got home that evening, she called me. I gave her a lead on a job
I knew about at the Urban League and the very next day, she went
to apply. Up to that time, in the few years I lived in Los
Angeles, I never met anyone who took advantage of a lead like
she did – not once, but many times in the seven years I knew
The first time I saw Christine, my spirit knew she was someone I
wanted and needed in my life. Though our relationship did not
last, our friendship was the strongest I’ve ever known. I loved
her – I really loved her.
It took some time to crack the hard shell of Christine Adams
Tripp, but I soon labeled myself “the bug” and kept bugging her
about who she was – I wanted to know the person. We would often
have long and terse discussions about the differences between
people from the Midwest and the West Coast. I often told her
about my relationships with others while in Chicago or in the
south and how we not only got involved with a friend’s business,
but we also got into a friend’s heart. I told her I neither
wanted to engage in superficial conversation about who she was
nor did I want to engage in pseudo intellectual masturbation
with her. I wanted to know “the who” of her. Slowly she began to
open up and what a beautiful person I found beneath the many
I learned that the icy exterior Christine possessed held, at its
core, a love for those she spoke to. If she came across as “Miss
Know-It-All” it was because she wanted you to know, intensely,
how important the message was and she needed you to hear it.
Christine lived the paradigm of the people giving up the healer
(Jesus) to be killed and asking to spare the life of the
murderer and thief (Barrabus). That which you think is evil may
actually be good and that which you think is good may actually
be evil. For those who thought she was mean; they missed the
point. She was the nicest, gentlest, caring person you could
want for a friend. She would give you the shirt off her back and
her last dime.
I remember talking with her on her cell phone while she was
chatting up this little Jewish lady in line at the grocery
store. She kept teasing this little lady and the lady kept
teasing with Christine. Suddenly, the lady turned to Christine
and said “will you take me home.” Without a second thought, she
said yes and with her bad knees, not only did she take the woman
home, she also helped her with her bags up to her apartment. She
truly lived the life of Christ. I can tell many stories like
this about her kindness to people she didn’t know and would
never see again. At the core of Christine, she was love.
Last week, on Monday, May 20, I awoke with the uncomfortable
unknowing. My spirit knew Christine was about to leave us. I
sent a friend a website which presented the dying guidelines for
caregivers which I felt would be the signs we would soon see in
Christine. I started thinking of ways to join her closer to God
in preparation for her journey and even remembered a woman who
sang with her in the choir at Unity and wondered how I’d find
her. I remembered Christine loved her voice and I thought how
wonderful it would be if she would come to the hospital and sing
to her. I remember thinking the perfect song would be “I Love
The Lord.” On Thursday, while I was visiting with Christine,
the woman I thought about actually walked through the door. I
could not have planned that – God did. I asked her to sing to
Christine and told Christine “the woman with the beautiful voice
is here.” I asked if she knew “Stand” and she said not all of
the words and so she thought of songs she knew to sing to
Christine and one of them was “I Love The Lord.” I could
not have planned that – God did.
Thursday evening, I resolved I would make a gospel CD for
Christine to listen to. With the many MP3 files we accumulated
and with her extensive collection of gospel songs, I knew I
could come up with hours of music enjoyment. As I got to the
hospital on Friday, this was the very thing she asked for and
chided me for not having done this earlier. I went to her house
to empty the contents of her gospel directory onto a CD, cleaned
up my MP3 player and presented it to her Friday evening.
After leaving the hospital Friday evening, a deep depression
came over me. I felt I should have stayed. This was confirmed
for me when after getting home I received a call that Christine
was “acting out.” My spirit knew this was to be the dark
night of the soul -- that time before death when we ask why God
has forsaken us. I went back to the hospital and spent the night
and tried to work with her through her torment. When I left her
at 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning, I left her to be with the rising
sun (or risen son) to find peace. That uncomfortable
unknowing compelled me to leave though my heart wanted to
stay. I felt I should stay but this unexplainable anger rose
within me and I could not discern whether I was angry with her
or myself for disobeying what I felt was a command given me to
leave. So I left her and I was tormented. Later, I understood I
needed to step out of God’s way.
As I drove to the hospital Saturday evening, I knew Christine
was at peace. That uncomfortable unknowing also made me
aware this would be her last night. When I entered her room, she
was in that state of preparation. I was so grateful that
Christine was not to experience the long tormenting dying
process many people have experienced which can go on for months.
Christine had covered much ground after I left her and she and
God had dealt with much to be where she was when I saw her – she
I went back home to prepare myself for Christine’s departure. I
called my mother who has been my rock these past few months and
I told her what I thought. When I told my mother I did not think
Christine would make it through the night, this time I
heard silence on the other end of the phone. My mother confirmed
my suspicions. In the past, my mother would respond “yes she
will, she’ll make it.” This time she said nothing. I immediately
called a friend of Christine’s to let her know I would be
calling her when I returned to the hospital to allow her to
speak with Christine since Christine had called for her the previous
evening and I then set out for the hospital.
When I returned to the hospital, the nursing staff who knew and
came to love Christine had covered her, almost like a shroud,
had cleaned her teeth, and she was lying in bed with her
headphones on and listening to her gospel music and sermons. I
called her friend so she could speak to her and then took my
seat across from her and waited. At midnight, one of the aides
came in to check Christine’s blood pressure and I awoke from
sleep to see her place the blood pressure cuff around
Christine’s arm. She said to me "God takes care of His own."
Unfortunately, her machine did not work and she left saying she
would find another machine and would return shortly – she did
I looked over at Christine and watched her sleep. At about 12:30
a.m., her breathing changed and her eyes moved to where I was
sitting and she watched me for a short while. Then her eyes
returned to center. One of Christines biggest fears was
dying alone, realizing she was not, she began her journey home.
As her journey began, that uncomfortable unknowing took
over within me. The same force I felt within my spirit when I
received the word Caleb, filled me. My spirit began to say
“it’s okay, you can go now, come on, you can do it, take my
hand, you’ll be alright.” This mantra continued within me
until she took her last two breaths, she closed her eyes tight,
tears fell and she was gone. If one can say a person died
beautifully, then Christine died beautifully. No pain, no
sorrow, very peaceful.
We all want to make a place in this world.
We all want our voices to be heard.
Everyone wants a chance to be someone.
We all have dreams we need to dream.
but sweeter than any star you can reach.
‘cause when you reach and find you’ve found someone.
You’ll hold this world’s most priceless thing,
the greatest gift this life can bring
‘cause when you look back, and know
You were loved.
You were loved by someone
Touched by someone
Held by someone
Meant something to someone
Touched somebody’s heart along the way
You can look back and say
Uh hum, you were loved.
Yes you are now.
You can have diamonds in your hands,
have all the riches in the land,
but without love, you don’t really have a thing.
When somebody cares that you’re alive
when somebody trusts you with their life,
that’s when you know, that you have all you need.
You'll hold this world’s most priceless gift,
the finest treasure that there is.
You can look back and know
You were loved.
So many roads that you can take.
Whatever way you go,
don’t take that road alone.
It’s better you should know
You are loved by someone
Touched by someone
Held by someone
Meant something to someone
Touched somebody’s heart along the way
You can look back and say
You did okay
You were loved.
So remember to tell that special one
you are loved
(Words from You Were Loved
sung by Whitney Houston from The Preacher's Wife)
Goodbye my friend and yes, you were truly loved.
Remember, I told you . . .
There's No Such Thing as Death,
Just a Change of Worlds
CHRISTINE TRIPP, 56, an activist in the African-American and
gay communities, died May 26, according to a press release from
Christopher Street West, a West Hollywood, Calif., non-profit
gay organization. A cause of death was not given.
Tripp was born Sept. 11, 1945, in Watts, Calif. In 1976,
while studying law at the University of West Los Angeles, she
founded and became the first president of the school's Black
American Law Student Association. She was a singer and an
She was involved in the civil rights movement and marched
with Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Ala., in 1964, and became
an ordained minister of social justice in 1972. She helped start
many organizations and was a founding member of the Unity
Fellowship Church and the Minority AIDS Project.
For many years, Tripp was actively involved with the National
Black Lesbian & Gay Leadership Forum and the United Lesbians of
African Heritage. She recruited volunteers for the Los Angeles
Pride Festival and Parade and for the last two years served on
the Board of Christopher Street West as head of volunteers.
The Los Angeles Pride will be dedicated to Tripp's memory
Board: A new topic has been added to the
message board for Christine. In advance, I apologize for
the Popups, I'm working to get rid of these, but do post your
Memories and Memorials to Christine Tripp on the
Board. Click "Add
Reply" to add your comments.
Bio of Christine
Adams Tripp, J.D., which was posted in October
2001 in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month