Last week may have been Thanksgiving but as this verse ran through my head, I was anything but Thankful.  Why should I be?  A friend died on Friday.  We were burying her on Tuesday.  And I had been asked to work the funeral luncheon.  Quite frankly, I didn’t want to do it.  As an introvert, this was just a bit much.  Thankful?  I don’t think so.

Funerals are never easy but there were things about this one that made it especially difficult. Darlene reminded me an awful lot of my mom. Ninety percent of the time, that’s a good thing, but they both died of lung cancer and pneumonia.  Nope.  Not feeling grateful.

At the funeral, I ran into another friend.  It was nice to have someone to walk in with and we cheered each other on. Together, we’d be okay.  Then we ran into another friend neither of us had seen in over a year.  Strong arms, plentiful hugs and friendship.  I managed to muster some thanks for these things.

But I still didn’t want to work the luncheon.

At church, I put vases on tables, slipped casseroles into the oven and reached pitchers none of the other ladies could reach.  We had three hours between the funeral service and the luncheon, but the time didn’t drag as I thought it would.  Together, we talked about Darlene and her husband, Roy.  We compared memories, swapped stories and talked about other family and friends.

We laughed at the playful debate about how to arrange sliced tomatoes on a platter (lines or rounds) and how best to lay out the flat wear.  That said, the humorous highlight of the day may have been when they asked me to cover platters with plastic wrap. Yes, I have seen it before, but it generally wins the battle.

I may not have wanted to work, but I needed to work and fortunately that’s where I ended up even if I was too befuddled to hear that still small voice.  I found myself just where I needed to be — among friends, sharing hugs and tears and laughter.

I’m still not thankful for my loss.  I tear up every time I see her empty chair in choir.  But I can’t help but smile when I look around at the friends we shared.  I can give thanks for that and there will be more to come.

–SueBE

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