Friday, April 9, 2010

I'm a Big Sissy

"Are your allergies bugging you today?"  My husband often lists my general emotional stability as my most attractive trait, so I'm sure he felt as overwhelmed as I did when his seemingly harmless question was met with a dam-burst of tears.  Obviously, not my first, or I wouldn't have had the red eyes that prompted his question!

My friend Jean Mehle's health has been in a slow decline for some time and we knew the day was not far off when we would hear the news of her earthly departure.  It still caught me unprepared on Wednesday night, about an hour before the kids and families would be arriving for our midweek church activities.  I hid myself up in the gym and tried to cool the burn with the distraction of Grand Prix preparations.  Focusing on checkered flags and chair arrangements, I hoped to stifle my emotions enough to get through the night and go home to grieve in private.

The telling question about my allergies was all it took for me to know that I could not hide my being the world's biggest sissy.  Jean was in her eighties and our friendship grew out of a Friday morning prayer meeting that provided a large portion of my spiritual sustenance through the first five years I was balancing ministry, motherhood, and a weekly 3-hours-each-way commute to seminary.  During that season of my life, I learned and grew immeasurably from watching Jean practice her faith, out of the blessings she prayed over me and my family, and by experiencing the warmth and depth of her love and friendship.

But Jean was beloved to all of us, not just me.  We're sisters-in-Christ, just like everyone else, so I really felt pathetic when everyone around me took the news and continued chewing on their spaghetti.  Here I'm the one who is supposed to be able to handle bad news and help other people get through it, and I couldn't make eye contact with anyone in the room or I'd start back up the waterworks.  Using every mental strategy I could muster, I somehow limped through an hour and a half of teaching the kids and youth, but I barely held it together when one of the youth volunteered to say our closing prayer and shared a beautiful, sweet tribute to Jean on our behalf.  God bless her for praying the prayer that I could not possibly have spoken.

So I'd like to make a request of my friends and family.  If your time comes, could you aim to avoid Wednesday or Sunday?  That would be a tremendous help to me.  I'm really a giant sissy, so when someone I care about passes away, I need a good two hour cry before I can be seen in public again.  Please be considerate.

...let your tears flow like a river day and night; give yourself no relief, your eyes no rest. Lamentations 2:18

1 comment:

  1. You are not a big sissy.Jean was God's tool, especially well-suited to His hand, used to raise the next generation of faithful Christian mothers and ministers -- like you! It was appropriate to mourn your loss, even though she experienced none. She's wearing crowns, right now!