I attended a "Celebration of Life" service this afternoon. It was for a woman from my church. The service was one filled with laughter, tears and fond memories of a life that was well-lived.
I've been writing recently on how much my 'community' has meant to me in the recent months, and years. How, when I feel like I just cannot possibly go on, I know that I can rely on my network of friends, family and church community to keep me going.
This service was for one of those women who kept me going.
This woman stopped in with Mac & Cheese for us shortly after my youngest was born a few weeks ago. She made sure to sit down with me, to share a hug- to talk to each of my boys and to make sure they knew that they were loved and a part of our church family.
She was a whirlwind of compassion that left almost as quickly as she arrived (so as not to disturb our evening) and I will never forget that time.
As well, every Sunday morning since, she has asked if there was anything I need or if there was anything that she could do for me or for the boys. She always had other people's emotional as well as physical health on the forefront of her mind.
She was a retired nurse that never retired from caring for others.
Why do I share about her?
Because I never made it clear to her how much that casserole dish of Mac & Cheese meant to me. And yet she kept asking if there was more that she could do. I thanked her, of course, but I don't know if she realized the impact that she had on me.
Maybe I never realized that impact myself- until this afternoon.
I expect that she didn't know fully how she had affected so many of the people that were sitting in that service today. But sadly, that's usually the way isn't it?
I believe she knew she was making a difference. But her 'reward' wasn't an earthly reward. She knew this. She understood why community was important. She knew how to love 'the least of these' well.
WHY do I share about her?
I suppose to encourage you to let people know if they've been a positive impact in your life. To let them know how much their actions or words mean to you. To be a person of encouragement to THEM- and to keep THEM going when they feel weary.
Why else do I share about her?
To encourage you to BE one of those people of compassion to others. To feed the people around you if they are hungry. To spend time with the lonely. To visit those that are shut-in. To listen to the ones who feel that they don't have a voice.
THAT was the person that Muriel was.
That is the person that I strive to be.
There has been a phrase said many times in the last few days since her passing. By many people. That is because all who knew her are sure that it must be true.
There is NO DOUBT in anyone's mind that when she reached the pearly gates of heaven she heard those words, "Well done- good and faithful servant".
May it be so for me.
May we all strive to live a life as well-lived as she did.