Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Wrong Funeral


Consumed by my loss, I didn't notice the hardness of the pew
where I sat. I was at the funeral of my dearest friend - my mother.
She finally had lost her long battle with cancer. The hurt was so
intense; I found it hard to breathe at times. Always supportive,
Mother clapped loudest at my school plays, held box of tissues
while listening to my first heartbreak, comforted me at my
father's death, encouraged me in college, and prayed for me my
entire life.

When mother's illness was diagnosed, my sister had a new baby
and my brother had recently married his childhood sweetheart,
so it fell on me, the 27-year-old middle child without entanglements,
to take care of her. I counted it an honor. 'What now, Lord?' I asked
sitting in church. My life stretched out before me as an empty abyss.

My brother sat stoically with his face toward the cross while
clutching his wife's hand. My sister sat slumped against her
husband's shoulder, his arms around her as she cradled their child...
All so deeply grieving, no one noticed I sat alone. My place had been
with our mother, preparing her meals, helping her walk, taking her
to the doctor, seeing to her medication, reading the Bible together.
Now she was with the Lord. My work was finished, and I was alone I
heard a door open and slam shut at the back of the church. Quick
footsteps hurried along the carpeted floor....

An exasperated young man looked around briefly and then sat next
to me. He folded his hands and placed them on his lap. His eyes
were brimming with tears. He began to sniffle. 'I'm late,' he
explained, though no explanation was necessary. After several
eulogies, he leaned over and commented, 'Why do they keep calling
Mary by the name of ' Margaret?''

'Because, that was her name, Margaret. Never Mary, no one called
her 'Mary,'' I whispered. I wondered why this person couldn't have
sat on the other side of the church. He interrupted my grieving with
his tears and fidgeting. Who was this stranger anyway?

'No, that isn't correct,' he insisted, as several people glanced over
at us whispering, 'Her name is Mary, Mary Peters.'

'That isn't who this is.'

'Isn't this the Lutheran church?'

'No, the Lutheran church is across the street.'


'I believe you're at the wrong funeral, Sir.'

The solemnness of the occasion mixed with the realization of the
man's mistake bubbled up inside me and came out as laughter. I
cupped my hands over my face, hoping it would be interpreted as
sobs.. The creaking pew gave me away. Sharp looks from other
mourners only made the situation seem more hilarious.

I peeked at the bewildered, misguided man seated beside me. He
was laughing; too, as he glanced around, deciding it was too late
for an uneventful exit. I imagined Mother laughing.

At the final 'Amen,' we darted out a door and into the parking lot.
'I do believe we'll be the talk of the town,' he smiled. He said his
name was Rick and since he had missed his aunt's funeral, asked
me out for a cup of coffee.

That afternoon began a lifelong journey for me with this man who
attended the wrong funeral, but was in the right place. A year after
our meeting, we were married at a country church where he was the
assistant pastor. This time we both arrived at the same church,
right on time...

In my time of sorrow, God gave me laughter. In place of loneliness,
God gave me love. This past June, we celebrated our twenty-second
wedding anniversary. Whenever anyone asks us how we met, Rick
tells them, 'Her mother and my Aunt Mary introduced us, and it's
truly a match made in heaven.'

If you Love God for all the marvellous things he has done for you,
send this on to others.


Tiger said...

So it's true then?
For HE never closes a door without opening another.

masterwordsmith said...

Dear Tiger,

For the greater part of my life, I have believed it is so!!

So you know the song "He Opens A Window"?

The chorus goes sth like:

When God closes the door, He opens a window, a window....

And the verse goes sth like:

There is no problem too deep, God cannot solve it
There is no mountain too high, He cannot move it....