We had a memorial service for one of our church members yesterday. Joanne lived alone in an apartment in Troy, less than four miles from the church. On Thursday, she was found alone inside her apartment, a heart attack being her apparent release from this world. While we were in the sanctuary, remembering her humor, habits and humanity, another group was in the fellowship hall, making ready for a baby shower that had been planned for months.
There are times in life when one thing interrupts another. Plans for a quiet weekend get pitched out the window when old friends call at the last minute. A trip to the mountains gets postponed when a pipe breaks in the ceiling over the bathroom. A hundred notions and a hundred unplanned events collide in the reality of life and new plans are made, old ones discarded.
There may have been some who thought the shower should have been postponed. Some who criticized the pastor for not checking the church calendar before agreeing to host the memorial service at that particular time.
But some found a comforting reminder in the juxtaposition of bidding farewell to one life and a welcoming to the beginning of another. A reminder that there is still joy in a world with more than ample sorrow and that each tomorrow brings not only the possibility of heartache but also reason for encouragement.
And so, our deaconesses quickly converted a classroom to a dining area. After the memorial service, family and friends enjoyed coffee and cake, iced tea and cobbler. Some sat and visited while others stood in the foyer and hallway, talking, reminiscing and sharing. By the time the baby shower began, we had finished cleaning up the classroom.
Many of life’s little conflicts can be resolved when people are more interested in making things work than they are in making them difficult. Working things out is always greater honor to those we love than is making a stink in their name.