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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Sorrow and Love Flow Mingled Down

One of the best things about my home parish is the weekly Wednesday morning Eucharist. Each week at 9:30, a small group gathers for Communion, and then stays for coffee (or tea) and Bible study. The core group of loyal attendees consists of several widows who have been laughing, crying, praying and expressing blunt, unvarnished opinions together for a very long time. My grandmother was one of the regulars, and I began going when she lived with us. Even though I was decades younger than the rest of them, I was hooked-- and became a regular myself when I was able, though work and then seminary curtailed that the last few years. These women (the self-designated "Loose Ladies") are an ever-lovin' hoot and a half, and I love them all, even (or maybe especially!) when they are at their most direct.

One of my favorite stories: a while back, we were studying the book of Ruth together, and-- spurred by questions about Ruth gleaning in the field-- Ben (the rector, and only man present) went onto a side tangent about the work expected of a woman of the time. It was not an easy life; providing food, clothing and shelter care and maintenance could be backbreaking, exhausting tasks.

After hearing the litany of responsibilities, a woman named Dee piped up. "And then at the end of the day you're still not done," she said. "Because about the time you collapse into bed, what do you hear from the other side of the mattress? 'Hey, baby, come on over here...'

"I'm telling you," she continued, "it makes polygamy look pretty good!"

On Saturday, I will serve as deacon at Dee's funeral. She died yesterday, after battling cancer for the last couple years. She was a feisty joy until nearly the end, and I am grateful for the gift that she has been in my life, and I am purely going to miss her.

May her soul, and the souls of all the departed, rest in peace.


Blogger PPB said...

she sounds like a hoot! what a mix of emotions for this service...I hope her friends will tell stories.

June 23, 2005 8:10 PM  

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