Saturday, January 3, 2009

Don't Ask Me Why, Thoughts, and 90 Minutes

Photo taken Christmas Day to email to granddaughter in Ca who wondered about our snow. It's cold now but lots of snow has melted. We fear not, more on the way!
We are on countdown days till we leave for CA on 1/6. Steve's memorial service is coming together. Just like life, there were some unseen twists. But if we trust God as hard as it gets He will see us though.

Although I'd talked with John, the pastor, and arranged for 1/10 for the service, I began to fret about how to have the food after the service. I can hear Steve now, "MOM! You worry too much!" Jerry echoes that. I guess I do. They say so!

So I left a message on the church answering machine. Well both John and the secretary, Melinda were on vacation between Christmas and New Years. One well meaning senior lady went through the messages and tried to "help" by returning the call. I was not at home so she talked to Jerry. But Jerry didn't get her name only the hard message that John was on vacation for 2 weeks! And further the church did not have a food committee. And no one was there! When I came home Jerry said, "someone from the church called and it doesn't sound good." I assured him that I talked to John. Jerry remembered as he was sitting right there. But still this lady called. I asked if it was a certain senior person whom I suspected. He didn't know. So back to fretting. Will life ever flow smoothly again? Remember we are in MN and all this is being done by email, phone or fax, long distance. For the 3rd month in a row now I have exceeded my cell phone minutes which is big time $$. But this too shall pass.

In a panic, though I prayed for stillness, and for help, please, now? We tried to rent the Portuguese hall in Newcastle. Our friend found it was booked. So back to more serious prayer and that this would be fine. After all, I talked to John and this was a misunderstanding surely.

Yes indeed that is what happened. Another call New Years Day from Fred assuring me John would be back and all would go fine. Last night John himself called to assure me; he'd heard the rumors. When he identified the person I knew that was who would have gotten it twisted--I'd even suggested her name. Lord when I get older please stop me from meddling, from creating havoc by trying to do good. Actually Lord stop me for doing that right now anyway at whatever age.

There have been two blessings through this. First, Adrian Pell who is such a talented humble musician sent an email about a new Church blog at Pioneer. When I asked him to play for the service he said, "Yes." His calendar is empty that day! Hallelujah! Then last night I talked with Dawn Mailcoat who sings beautifully and who will be able to sing the hymns--if we are especially lucky Shawn and Lynn will join her in a trio! Hallelujah again! I want upbeat, no organ, piano and lighter singing. I've asked for Be Not Afraid, Eagles Wings, Father I Place into Your Hands, Is It I Lord, and You'll Never Walk Alone. We used You'll Never Walk Alone at Mom's--she loved that song and so do I.

You know the hardest thing to gauge--how much food for the luncheon after the service? More fretting. Steve's good friend Wes who was trained as a first class chef is preparing the food. I was in distress trying to estimate numbers. Wes said, "Pat don't worry we are not having this to make people fat! If they come to a funeral to eat only that's too bad. We will just do our best."

After all isn't that what we can do anyway in all circumstances? Just do our best. It's what I told Steve; it's what I tried to do.

Last night I went outside in the snow to burn November and December pages from the 2008 calendar. Kind of my own little private burning bowl ceremony. But it was so cold the pages would not burn. I'll try again using a clay flower pot today! The days that came starting with the November hospitalization and following on through Steve's rehospitalization December6 to his passing on December 18 are days I will never forget. But we will try to keep the best memories and not recall the jagged edged days as we get on in life--this life we have. This life that is for the living.

I just read Don Piper's "90 Minutes in Heaven." A remarkable true story of the Baptist preacher who dies and is Heaven for 90 minutes before returning to life. It had been on my shelf for awhile. It was perfect timing for me to read it. Being a believer is easy to me but to read an experience that validates belief is encouraging. I recommend it for anyone, especially anyone who is grieving. One line that struck me, "We never lose someone when we know where they are...." referring to Heaven and Belief. So we never lose Steve. We know he is in a better place. We are just left behind here to do our best.

A friend in CA has a treasury of poetry and verse written by his late father. He shares it with me email and I always enjoy reading these. I keep saying he and his brother should publish these and maybe have some sketches or photos along with some of the writings. They have copyrighted them. Last summer, with his permission, I took one, "The Library" to our little La Crescent library. Lavonne Beach, our librarian, loved it so that she framed it and it is on display right at the front where books are checked out. Here's Don't Ask Me Why"

Don't ask me why the sun shines all the day.
Don't ask me why there's beauty in lambs at play.
Don't ask me why the weak have the heavier load,
Or why the savior of the garden is the ugly toad.

Don't ask me why that lovers always quarrel.
Don't ask me why the skein of life's a snarl.
Don't ask me why sound reason aside we shove,
Or, why we always kill the thing we love!

Don't ask me why we do the things we do.
Don't ask me why to ourselves we're seldom true.
Don't ask me why we revel, deep, in strife
Or, pleasure take, in baiting man or wife!

Don't ask me why we take the easier road.
Don't ask me why we seldom share the load
Of those, the weak, whose loss was but our gain,
Who suffered much that they might ease our pain!

Don't ask me why we love the meaner part.
Don't ask me why we shun the breaking heart
Of those, whose life, it could be ours to share
And, sharing, make it easier to bear!

Don't ask me why; I'm only human too.
Don't ask me why, the answer is never new
But lies in the womb of Time, endless, without span.
Ask of your God, but never ask of man!

Written by: Coleman Lee Williams
4/28/1900 - 5/5/1988