Acts of purposeful kindness
It's been 12 days since Mom died. She won't be buried up north until weekend after next, with a graveside ceremony. It seems like too long a time to wait for the comfort of a service.
Father M came to the rescue, with a great touch of kindness. He called me last week and suggested a memorial service at the church, with my church family and friends around me.
I was covering a city council meeting when the call came in. I cried all the way home. This was such a kind, thoughtful thing to do. There's no one at church who ever even met my mother. Nevertheless, we'll have a service.
It will make me feel much better. I'll have a safe place to mourn, and the communion of saints to surround my mother -- and me -- in a service that's meaningful to me. I'll be fortified to make the trip for the other service, where I'll have the chance to see some family and friends I haven't seen in a very long time.
This happened the morning my mother died. I was in the kitchen, making coffee, a little after 7 a.m. I heard the words come out of my mouth, "It's time to go now, Mom."
I was horrified. I didn't know what made me say that. It wasn't up to me to decide when Mom's time had come. I prayed, and told God I was sorry; I know such things are in his hands.
A couple of hours later I got the call mom had died, a little after 6 a.m. That was Central time -- it would have been a little after 7 a.m. Eastern time, here.
There are more things in heaven and earth than our philosophies have dreamed of, and the veil can be very thin, indeed.
When I got the word, I already had a measure of comfort, because it was affirmed to me: God is in charge, and Mom is with him. I could release her to the safety of his hands.
This comfort remains with me.
UPDATE SATURDAY 09-29-07
What an incredibly beautiful service. Everything was perfect -- the music, Father M's homily, the reception. I was overwhelmed by the love of Christ surrounding me.
The altar, ready for the service, with flowers and a photo of Mom Father M. enlarged for the display. I love the old chapel at the church (dating from the 1890's), with its stained-glass image of Jesus the shepherd, carrying a lamb close to his heart.