Sunday, January 03, 2010

Sad News and Blessings

I can be flexible. I was exclaiming this to my non-planner friends yesterday, as I was preparing to spend four days wandering across North Carolina, without any set plans besides a couple National Park Service sites I wanted to visit, and hopes of meeting up with some cousins. But minutes after I was bragging about my adventurousness, I received an email that one of the elderly saints of my church family was in the hospital, and this morning my dad texted me to tell me that she passed away. The news was sad, and Marilyn is one of a growing number of people who I will miss every time I worship at Trinity, but that the same time I know that she is glad to be with her husband Bud.

So I had to decide whether to change my course or not. I am supposed to be in Kentucky for my immersion program on Wednesday, and there was little chance that I could find out when the services are and no chance of clearing a late arrival to my program until tomorrow. I had been planning on doing some leisurely site-seeing on Roanoke Island and then enjoying restful solitude in a hotel that evening, but the idea of sitting tight and waiting until tomorrow to decide things made me antsy just thinking about it, so instead I decided to just drive home. I'd rather be doing something than waiting. The up side was that I got to have Courtney ride with me, and we had an enjoyable ride home and I even bought rain boots after my two-month boot quest. Much better than being impatient all alone at a Hampton Inn.

Of course now that I'm home there's a chance I'll have to turn around and drive to Kentucky without going to the funeral. It might be strange but I love funerals. As sad as it is when people in my life die, the ritual of funerals and the mixture of grief and celebration is really comforting. When it comes down to it, I am a routine person. I like that I live in a community that still has old-fashioned connections. When Erin was home for Thanksgiving, we went and visited Miss Marilyn and the Prigels (another couple from our church) and afterwards we were talking about how fabulous it is that we live in a community where everyone knows everyone and where we can spend a morning talking to wonderful elderly people who tell stories and share the news about everyone's kids and grandkids. I (usually) like going to restaurants in town and seeing 10 people I know. I love that at a funeral in our church I will probably cry, laugh and be uplifted, and afterwards I will eat amazing food cooked my familiar faces, and catch up with people who I've known for years. It's a celebration of life, grace, and community.

I'm not sure what the point of this meandering blog is, except that funerals remind me of how blessed I am by my community. I learn so much from saints like Marilyn McKee whose example have shown me what it is to live a faithful life and a graceful end of life. If John Wesley is right about Christian Perfection, then I know that I have seen a few examples in my community. I love to travel and experience new things and see new places, but I think my sister was probably right when she told me that I am a wholesome country girl. It sounds really boring, but I am starting to realize how much I love small-town life.


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