I returned home from my most recent travels in a bit of a funk. It has taken me several days to de-funk and unpack what has been going on for me. I acknowledged yesterday that I was grumpy and hating myself for that. I do not easily accept my inner grump. I need to work on that, I suppose. I was weary and not sleeping well. My soul was tired. The leave-takings are hard on my spirit. When I say goodbye to people, I never really know if I will see them again. No matter how positive I am that I will surpass the months I have been given, I still have no assurance that I will. None of us know the days we are given.
I could feel this morning that my mood was shifting for the better. I was digging myself out of the tiredness after a decent night’s sleep. I decided that today would be a beach day after I went to morning mass and ran a handful of errands. As I walked into my church after struggling to find a parking spot, I suspected there was a funeral despite no hearse being visible. I parked several blocks away and asked the funeral home staff whose funeral it was. Ah, I knew the woman and her surviving daughter as active parishioners. The church was full. I glanced around, recognizing many who gathered to send off this faithful servant and support her remaining family members.
I listen and watch with different senses now when I attend a funeral service, taking mental notes about what I like and want at my own celebration of life. These events are really for the living, a way of closure and tribute. I found myself smiling often at the loveliness of today’s thoughtful rememberings of the deceased. As the words of Songs of the Angels filled the church along with the incense at the end of the mass, I was grateful for the Love found within this community which upholds its members. I have known this presence completely and deeply over the decades and I am not disappointed in the way parishioners have supported me.
After mass, I chatted with several folks in the church before heading downstairs for the reception. I had been missed while I was away and many wanted to check in with me. I had not seen one man in a long time and I approached him, receiving a warm hug from him. I knew that he would not have heard my news and I listened to him share his own story and how being back at the church not easy before telling him mine. The community had not been as generous to him in his personal struggle. I told him that I had missed him. He was one of the first leaders who had taken me under his wing, and if truth be told, I had had a crush on him. He was saddened to hear my news. I also sensed that he knew his choice to not attend mass any more kept him somewhat out of the loop. He said a lot of affirming words to me and my heart was filled with the Love he gave. What had bound us together thirty years ago remained. He is still part of the Body to me.
By the time I reached the basement, the reception was in full swing. This is what I long for after my funeral–the fellowship that lifts the wounded, hurting spirit to a place of hospitality, joy and caring. The tables were full and groups gathered around, laughing, sharing stories, and being present to each other. This is what I have loved most about my community – we do love each other. We are the Body of Christ for one another. Several of my favourite seniors checked in with me and I with them. Friends stopped by to greet me. Even the daughter of the deceased got to me before I could express my sympathy to her. One woman who I am just getting to know who is the dear friend of one of my friends and I had a conversation that I treasure tonight as I review my day. She commented that I had the love and support of this community because I had nurtured and valued it. She is right, of course. I long for it for her and for everyone.
As I walked back to my car, I met a parishioner who lives across from the church. I told him that my beach plans were canceled for the day but I did not mind. God had provided me with what I had needed. Interestingly enough, I even decided to wear a little black dress as I left my house this morning. An angel must have nudged me to do so. Driving off to do my errands I replayed the conversations I had with people and as I think about it now, I think if I had looked at my feet, I would have seen angel feathers scattered around me. My funk has been lifted and my joy restored. God is so good to me.
Do you recognize the Love of God in your presence?
What do you love about your community?
Body of Christ, filled with Light and Love, enwrap me in your Holy Heart until I can stand again because of your healing grace. Amen.