Elizabeth and I had a neat experience yesterday, one that we’d have surely missed had we not been open to the universe and all that it offers. Or maybe we were just more in tune to the Spirit. After all, it was Sunday, and our hearts and minds were ready to soak up some spirituality. Our physical selves were ready too. Dressed up in our Sunday garb, including pearls and high heels, we headed out to church.
Elizabeth has to drive 20-something miles to church, and as pulled off the four lane road onto the secondary one, we were stopped in our tracks. Literally. The road was closed, and as we looked past the sign and down the road, we saw another roadblock. Since this is an unknown area for both of us, we didn’t know another way to get to the church so we decided to drive into Marion, park, and then confer about what to do next. She jumped out of the car and laughingly said, “Is this a sign?”
After considering this query for about half a second, I said, “Yes, I think it must be. Of what, I’m not sure. But yes.”
She got in the car with me, and I drove into historic downtown Marion, a lovely little Southern town with lots of charm. Driving down Main Street, I spied the local Baptist church and felt drawn there. I’d been thinking about my mother a good bit lately, and somehow I felt like worshipping there would have pleased her. “Are you game for a unique experience?” I asked Elizabeth. She was. I parked across the street beneath some of the prettiest green trees I’ve seen in a long time. Or maybe it just seemed that way because of the way the breeze was gently moving the leaves.
As soon as we got into the education building, I looked through a huge glass window into a Sunday school class composed of older ladies. My heart stopped. They appeared to be about the age my mother would be if she were still on Earth, 80. They had their heads bowed as one of the circle said the closing prayer. One of them was wearing a pretty pink hat. Loved it! As we walked towards the front of the sanctuary, I heard the organ playing the National Anthem, and I KNEW Elizabeth and I had come to the right place.
The service lasted an hour and a half, and during that time, we heard several prayers, watched presentations to 2009 high school graduates, sang some hymns from my youth (including “Holy, Holy, Holy”), and listened to a thought provoking sermon based on the fourth chapter of James. We were treated to a special hymn, patriotic in nature, by the choir, and I recalled countless Sunday mornings when my sweet mama sang in her church choir. I can’t speak for Elizabeth, but I loved it because I felt my mother’s presence.
A couple of weeks ago on the way home from New York, my friend Nancy shared many of the events leading up to and following her mother’s death a year ago, and she told me that another friend had told her that now she (Nancy) was an orphan. “I don’t feel like one. Do you?” No, I don’t. My mother still lives, just in another place.
Coincidentally (?), I’ve been re-reading Marianne Williamson’s A Return to Love, and one of the things she discusses is that death is not an end but a continuation. “Life goes on forever. It always was and always will be.” More on this later. For today, I just wanted to post something about yesterday’s experience at church with Elizabeth and Mama.