from her Celebration of Life Service on November 14, 2013
First United Methodist Church, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Mother Father God, I come to you today broken and full of sorrow, reaching for joy. I call out to you for blessings…. Blessings on the heavy hearted, the ones who sing out of tune or with tears running down cheeks. Blessings on the ones who stumble, who can’t make words come when they want to say, “I am sorry. I love you. I wish I knew how to help.”
Bless the girl who grew up in Deep East Texas and fell in love with a young man who bought her a Dr. Pepper and spent the rest of his life with the goal of trying to impress her. Bless the girl who became a woman who taught school, married, became a mother, cared for own mother through illness and great loss, of her brothers and of her father. Bless her dear sister, loved and lone.
Bless the woman who embodied the radical hospitality of Christ – whose personal viewpoint and politics evolved to reflect the world in which she found herself, a world where families were torn apart by poverty and by war. Blessings on her for working to end them both, for setting the example that her own children would go on to follow.
Blessings on those children who grew up utterly sure of love they were loved, of the grace they were given, even when – especially when – they least deserved it. Bless the daily communion dispensed by way of motherly love and bedside hot cocoa and cinnamon toast. Bless the quarters taped to paper lunch sacks and encouraging love notes on napkins.
Blessings on this family. Bless them in their anger. Their anger with you, God. Their disbelief, their hurt, and their canyon wide missing of the one they cannot comprehend losing. Bless their old saddle shoes in a hat box in the basement, their Pinewood Derby cars and letters home from camp and from college and far away cities. Bless their little child selves in such pain at their beloved Mother’s long suffering, the unimaginable loss, the duties that call them to tend to children of their own who are afraid to go to sleep, even when their little bodies won’t let them cry.
Bless the grey hairs and the exhaustion, the doctors and the nurses and the tearful care takers who weep and shudder. Bless the hand needing another to hold, the shawl needing shoulders, the wheeled chair with nowhere left to roam. Blessings on the remembrances of words she seemingly just spoke, like, “My daughter who sings has come back.” OR “I love you so much I think my heart might explode.” OR “Thank you.” And at hearing her as yet unborn grandbaby’s chosen name, “Leo the lion.”
Bless the father and husband of near fifty years whose heart is not just heavy, but broken, for he has loved her since they were almost children themselves. Blessings on him, God. Bless him and bring him comfort. Bless the brown recliner which holds respite from gravity’s pull and from the big too-empty bed. Bless the tears that go unwept, as well as the ones that baptize chins and cheeks, and shoulders of tall husbands, of wives ready to bear children, of sisters and of brothers, of small children like cats in laps. Bless the grandbabies who adored their Diggy. The youngest of whom only know or remember her as sick and as dying. Bless them.
Bless them all, God. Bless them. And most of all, God, Bless her. Bless our Diggy, the one that you know by name, by the sweetness of her Spirit, the enormity of her heart. Bless her, God. Bless her freedom from suffering in a broken body and from the shackles of her precious damaged mind.
Blessings on her, and on her people, all of them. The ones related by blood or by marriage or because she claimed them as friend.
Bless US dear Lord. Blessings on us when we falter, when we ask why, when we are not sleeping for nights upon nights and we know that life will never again be the same. Bless us at this time when faith is scarce, forgiveness just a word, but the love that loves that can’t stop loving goes on and on and on.
Blessings on THAT-- Blessings on what she taught us by the way she lived, and in what she ardently believed, through even the worst of it all….
Bless that love that goes on loving in this sweet little messy God filled life.