It had been a hard day. I had been to a service in my old church. A funeral service. That was hard.
I looked around and recognised familiar, much loved faces. Some pointedly ignored me. I mused about that for about two seconds and then the business that had brought me here, took over. To stand with a friend who had been widowed. There were many people around; I was grateful to God that she had these. But I took my place on my knees as it were, though still seated and prayed. It was a hard service. Beautiful for all the love that was shared…and yet really hard. But that is not what this day was for me.
This day, was not a particular 24 hour circuit, but something that had weighed me down for a while. Something only this place could bring out for me. I sat next to my sweetheart, and it was not difficult to see, how shabby we were compared to everyone else. When time came to give, and we were urged to give generously, he took out a 200 shilling note, and held it openly. I knew how much he had in his pocket. And it was not a whole lot more. I whispered to him that it was not proper for anyone to see what we were giving. And he bundled our note in his hand, and then when the basket passed in front of him, he put in the note. I noticed that his laces were too short and kept coming undone, his socks sagging and loud, and that my own shoes were peeling and a little bit muddy at the heel. Thought about it for a second, and then went back into the reason I was there.
After the service, we were to line up to view the body and condole with the family. The line was long so we, my sweetheart and I stood aside for a while, then he melted away. I went to the couple who had been our ride from home and thanked the husband, saying we would find our way home. I was already feeling faint. He smiled and said it was okay. Then I decided to walk over to the other side of the line, and say hello to some old and much loved friends. I was well received. Hugs, laughter even in this place. And that was nice. But again, that sense of being alone came up. And I looked around but could not find my sweetheart. I stepped into line and an old friend chatted me up before another got hold of his attention and he left the line. I was joined by another who walked with me till body, talking as we went. Then I stood by the casket. And I looked in. And I couldn’t move, and I couldn’t cry. I just stood there, perhaps longer than appropriate. And then my feet began to move. I went to my friend, she was worn out from weeping. And I held her awhile. I was not sure she recognised me but I thought I heard her whisper my name. I had no words…no words for this place. But I prayed…God…Your Strength, Comfort, Presence…and then I walked away.
I felt like someone had blown away the back of my head. I clutched onto some chairs to pray for stability, not willing to draw any attention to myself. I reminded God, as though He could ever forget, that I was not going back…my own resurrection was for a purpose. Then I looked into my purse, found my phone and called my sweetheart. He was outside, had made some friends. I stood a while and listened to another old friend, widowed, who had survived a stroke after her own husband’s passing. Hugged her and then went out to join my sweetheart. We walked away, as he talked to me, he was as moved as I had been, but he kept his conversation light and easy. Walking with him, I was home.
We went to our physical home, where we live with our children. And I looked around. We did not have money for food that day. Much of what we needed had run out. Including tissue, since I had suffered severe food poisoning that week. We had had not money for my medication. My sweetheart hid a cough, and I prayed. ‘God heal him, please.’ I sent a text to a friend to ask if she had boiled some beans and she told me to meet her at her place. I told her I would send, Leroy, my son. Oh I had passed by the bank that day, and my balance was still at 0.1/-. It was my pastor’s 10th Wedding Anniversary, and I wanted to surprise them with a gift. Sigh.
I went to bed and at 3:30am, I woke up to go to the bathroom. Unstable. Feeling funny. I came back and picked my phone again. 3:33. Three threes. God, God, God. Call unto Me. I called. Jesus. My sweetheart shuffled in the bed beside me. Jesus I called again. Then, and I will tell you marvelous things. I am listening LORD.
What is it about my old church that unnerves me? Weighs me down, It is situated at my old campus, and symbolises all my broken dreams. Both of Career, and Ministry. It is at the site of my primary school. Most of those I know, who went through these paths, succeeded in them. At their Careers and Ministries. Even as I went through those roads, I must have always known, that I piece from another jig-saw puzzle that had somehow found itself inside this box. And no matter how much I tried, I would never fit into this pattern. I was a failure because this was not my world, this was not home.
My mind went to my family. Children born ‘out of pattern.’ A husband married ‘out of pattern.’ Not in conformity with most other lives. Not the lives I had dreamed mine would be like. I looked in my mind’s eye at my Bible Study Group, our pre-marital class, these had become my inner circle of friends. Some were still trying to fit into a world that may eventually receive them. That was their portion. I had failed in that respect. For the first time, I was grateful for the much loved ‘friends’ and ‘well-wishers’ that had slandered me mercilessly, because they would not help, and could not stand seeing anyone help me survive, even the world that I had been pushed into, that they had no wish to live in. A wilderness. And even there they had pursued me. Loving God thoroughly, hating me and mine in spite of themselves. Inadvertently, coveting even the fact that God refused to remove His Breath from me and mine, so that their discussions of me would be justified in my death. I was grateful, they were right. I was dead to their world. I was like a ghost, who would visit from time to time; sent and on an errand, making all and sundry really uncomfortable, but belonging to a world that could not be patterned by their standards.
I did not live by those standards. I did not want to. I came to the realisation, that the thing that stressed me most, was that I was expected to live up to a standard that most were still trying to master and understand, and made them desperately unhappy; for they were trying to justify their living, and validity, by things they could not take away. My world was not superior, I had needed them. Their validation, their assistance…at one point at least. They had closed their hearts and hands to me…because they were unable to open these. God had closed those doors. They, like myself, did not understand what I was made for. Besides they were busy understanding their own purposes…and their silences, pointed snubs and putdowns, excruciating to me, were justified because they could not hold the spin of my patterning, as they were too busy figuring out their own. I was from another world. Living according to another pattern. And that other world, in that place that God Himself had put me and mine, He had provided all that I needed, in terms of love, sustenance, and yes, my resurrection and success, according to His, my Manufacturer’s Pattern of who He made me to be. And that is all I was ever meant to be. Strange. Peculiar. Bigger than I ever thought I could be. And He had enough Might in Him, to raise and validate me. Talk about Marvelous things…I rest.