Today is June 25. In the last month I’ve had the privilege of participating, officiating at a number of funerals. It has been a long time since I took on this role. Here are some thoughts that nurtured grace in my life that I might share it with others.
1. And then on February 7, 1930 “B” was born. Fireworks did not go off, rockets were not sent into the heavens, a parade was not called. But, “B” was born. As I talked with members of her family I got the sense that “B” had decided to become a mother, a wife, a grandmother, great-grandmother, and a friend.
Wow. Think about that, in this day and age when people are pulled in so many directions here was a woman who understood who she was and decided to be that person.
2. “G” told me, I remember sometimes when she was dishing the food up and there didn’t seem to be a lot. She made sure the rest of us got larger servings.
3. Then there was the time when “Gr” got his finger caught in the washing machine. It was the old ringer style washing machine and he got hurt pretty bad. MOM, took care of that.
4. When we brought our kids over she was the babysitter. She always made sure there were treats, some she baked, some she bought. She became a juggler and made sure she considered all of us in the process.
5. She loved dad, so much so that she made sure that when they were driving together she would help him with the directions. Today we call that being a back seat driver. But, there was something in the dialogue. Not just talking to each other, or talking at each other but talking with each other. It is that special something that two people have when they had not only lived together but also lived with each other. The meaning of relationships is not understood in what words are said between people but the meaning of relationship is understood in the silence, in the nuance of a moment.
6. I was taken on a voyage into the past, tears were prompted by laughter and laughter prompted tears…”do you remember when?” is how each story began.
7. We were sent to the upstairs bedroom. There we could listen through the upstairs heat register. We could listen to father and mother talk about why certain things were the way they were. As I think back I understand that they were creating perimeters… we children were eager to hear. What did they say-what did they say? I remember each of us saying, ohhhhhh. Truth was being caught, not just being taught.
8. Mom was a strong woman, she had a hidden wit. Before long you caught yourself laughing, not because what she said was funny, but because when she said it she was laughing so hard that she drew you in and you caught yourself laughing. There was a sense of humor that you hoped would never leave you.
9. Mother did not want to be forgotten or left out of our lives. She moved in next door only to invite us into her life.
10. At over 90 years of age she would wait for the motorcycle ride…no, no, no she would cry out as she was speeding down the road. She convinced you that this is the worst thing you could do; taking her on a motorcycle ride. Then as she was getting off the motorcycle she would say, “see you next year.”
11. Grandma would play to win. She said games are played to win. She would ask us why we made a certain move and then she would beat you. She simply said there were no do overs. Life had been hard for grandma. She lost grandpa and then her eldest son. She did many years without them. During all those years she lived with us and reminded us that we must take the best we can from each moment we have.
12. I was grandma’s favorite…..no I was.
13. In our humanity, in the genuineness of our own lives we establish our own legacy… the Lord is my shepherd. Our faith arises out of our walk as the Lord walks with us. Amen
In conclusion, I simply share that I did not know these people before these last few months. All of them were well over 90 years of age and one was even over 100. I listened to their families. I listened in the midst of tears and laughter. I was given the privilege of telling their story.
Then I received notice that my sister died. I am thankful for the experience of these last two months. For now, just a few days after her death I hear her stories echo through my mind. This time I am listening to my own family. This time I hear the laughter and tears as my own. These last two months prepared me to hear beyond the brokenness and splintering that had become so familiar in my own family. In the deepest part of my heart I found healing by going through the doors that others had opened for me. Thank you, and THANK YOU VIV FOR BEING A PART OF MY LIFE.