The Wichita community is reeling today from the senseless death of one of its truly unique and bright lights. Tanya Tandoc touched peoples lives through her amazing food, her music, and her dance. When she was around, the room lit up. Her murder leaves many, myself included, shocked, stunned and sad.
I am not one of her friends. I am a distant acquaintance. I have eaten at her restaurant, enjoyed her facebook posts and our interaction on social media and been awed by her belly dancing. Her energy and spirit were contagious.
I remember saying to her a couple of years ago, I HAVE to take one of your belly dancing classes. She, filled with laughter and light, said “Why not? You just gotta do it!” or something to that effect. I agreed, but of course, never signed up. I wanted to take one of her cooking classes, again I never signed up.
“Why?” you might ask. There always seemed too many obligations, meetings at church, meetings for other things. I couldn’t commit that much time. Now, it is no longer possible.
In an interview with Larry Hatteberg four years ago, Tanya said some profound things, not the least of which is “You don’t know how much time you get, so I try to pack as much in to the time that I have.” That video, which I share here, captures her spirit and life philosophy so well.
A man has been arrested and will be formally charged with her murder. My faith reminds me that nothing can separate us from the love of God, not even this senseless act of violence. I trust that with time and with grace, forgiveness will be part of my being as well as that of others who loved Tanya more deeply than I. I do not presume to believe that this is the time. Cheap grace is not grace at all.
First is the howling depths of grief, anger that boils over and a sense of loss of someone so unique and unrepeatable. I know her memory will be a blessing and there will be laughter and light and love. I know there are other horrible things happening right now in the world, just as awful as this, but for those who have been touched by her life and light, at this moment, this grief is all there is.
May God’s grace surround those who are grieving and may in the memories, in the stories, and in the laughter and tears, there be healing and peace.