We had worked hard to make the fellowship hall look especially festive. We were fortunate that the children’s pageant was to go on the next morning, so the stage was set with wonderful lighting and Christmas props. The men set up the tables in record time. The women hurried from one table to the next, adorning them with red and green cloths, a bright red poinsettia in the center. A sprinkle of candy canes provided just the right touch. Guests arrived right on time and before you knew it, the room grew warm with laughter and good fellowship!The party went off without a hitch. Christmas carols, a beautiful solo accompanied by our very own mother Mary and a smiling baby Jesus, a funny skit, and yes, even Santa!
And as quickly as it began, the evening neared an end. I stood with my dear friends at the back of the room, and perhaps for the first time all evening we took a long, deep breath and looked over the crowd with satisfaction. We began to sing Silent Night, and as we did so, the three of us wrapped our arms around each others waist and slipped into that lovely moment as one. Tired and glad. Happy and sad. Our hearts filled with so many thoughts and feelings; each her own, but not feeling alone.
I drove to church this morning, our town wrapped in a blanket of fog. I imagined His spirit blanketing us all. Wrapping each of us up in His answers to our prayers. A promise of a new day. As I sat and watched the children’s pageant, memories filtered in and out of my head. My sister and I in the choir. Our silly, over-sized red bows around our collars. Mom and Dad beaming in the front pew. I watched the anxious parents nudging each other with pride and a dozen cell phones silently recording the event to be shared with family across the country later in the day.
Later, sharing coffee with my friends, the leader of our grief support group sat next to me and said, “I’ve been meaning to give you this.” She slipped a small medal into the palm of my hand.Gone, yet not forgotten. Although we are apart, your spirit lives within me, forever in my heart.
It has been a very full weekend. Yes, I have shed some tears, but mostly happy ones. Through it all, I’ve been surrounded by loving kindness. For that I am so blessed.