Sunday, December 4, 2016

Communities that understand

Joyce Sasse, Spiritual Gleanings - Driving into the city my ears were glued to radio reports about angry farmers clamouring to get the attention of a politician-friend of mine. The announcer intimated the Honourable Sir had left the area where the demonstration was because of a personal commitment. But I never expected, when I opened the backdoor of the funeral home, that my friend would be the first to greet me.

For a moment I was speechless. Instinctively the last thing I knew he wanted was to hear reference to the turmoil he had just left. Obviously he and the other pallbearers gathered here because the family asked for their help.

What I noticed was that his home folks were giving him a time-out to be one-of-the-guys. The talk was of family, crops, grasshoppers and the receding water-table.

“It’s time to go back”, he said to his wife as the funeral reception ended and they again took up the cloak of public servant.

I’ve lived in small communities long enough to see this happen repeatedly.

There was a family wedding, and all the community wanted to be there, but they knew this quiet family needed to be private. The ladies cleaned and polished the church the day before as each found a way to contribute and yet give sanctuary to the other.

In another community, members did not know a man who died of dementia, but they cared for his wife (who recently settled in our midst). The Memorial Service would be at another place and time. She dreaded the coming Sunday “when everyone would be so nice” … for she wasn’t prepared to share her grief openly. One friend told the others how she felt. Another picked her up. Each remembered her quietly, but in the service her privacy was respected.

When I see this, I recognize the lessons of love and respect that Jesus taught all of us, his disciples.

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