WORDS OF COMFORT

Love gathers us here today
and this is so important, our togetherness….
Just to be together, to look into one another’s faces,
takes away some of the loneliness
and draws our hearts together
in the healing which we can offer one another.
At such times, the various faiths that sustain us separately
come together in a harmony that cuts across all creeds
and assures us of the permanence of human goodness and hope.

We know the pain of too much tenderness, for sure,
but we also know the desire to celebrate a wonderful life…
We heard this note of celebration in the tributes from moments ago,
people who knew Lois and appreciated her and loved her so much.
Lois was a woman beloved, who lived a long and fulfilling life.

There’s so many stories still to tell about Lois,
about who she was, how she will be missed.
Please join us for the reception after this service
where you can share ones that you might have.

Here, I just want to lift up something that I find remarkable in Lois’ life.
The Christian prayers she began to write when dementia came upon her
and which, ceaselessly, during that 13 year journey, she would pray…

Father, help me be kind and gentle, starting with myself…

She knew very well what was happening with her.
It bothered her.
She was trying to make peace with it, cope, self-soothe.

God give me sympathy and sense
and help me keep my courage high.
God give me calm and confidence
and please … a twinkle in my eye.

Or

Fear knocked on the door.
Faith answered.
No one was there….

In this practice of prayer, Lois drew from the spirituality of her father,
the Reverend David Weems, a staunch missionary….
Dementia can blend past and present together seamlessly….
She had never prayed before, but now it was right.
It felt like home.
It was sweet comfort.

I am not all I should be (she says) or could be, Father.
But I’m working on it.
You will help me, won’t you? Thanks!

Dear Lord, help me live in trust that no matter how confusing the challenges I face today are, you will give me whatever wisdom I need to confront them.

Right there is her faith, her trust:
Not so much that God would prevent challenges from happening
but that resources for facing those challenges would come her way,
would be made available–
and whatever our differing theologies happen to be,
we can’t do any better to affirm such hope…
That no matter what, we will be helped to show up to our lives.

Heavenly comforter, help me make the most of every opportunity that comes my way.
Thank you Lord for reminding me that letting people know they are loved is much more important that knowing I am right.

She so loved you, Les.
You are all over these prayers.
She knew she was struggling in her relationships with others, and with you,
and so she is constantly lifting that up.

Dear Lord, I have faith that Les and I will express our patience and peace forever. I have faith that I will always feel the same excitement at just seeing his face and body coming into a room—any room.

She is praying that.
She is feeling the gradual loss of her capacities—she is feeling pulled away from herself—and she is fighting for something essential to remain.
Her feeling for you.
Excitement at seeing your face and form.
Patience and peace forever.

And now she is at peace,
And may the God of her understanding wrap her in love and comfort.

Lois,
Lois,
Lois.

Be well and be at peace.
We love you.

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