They say the first major holiday without your spouse is the most difficult. I wanted to be ready. Yesterday the last Saturday before this Christmas I drove down to small town Cherry Grove for a 7 o’clock church service at the Methodist Church. The service had a title it was called blue Christmas. This was for anyone who felt sad during the season of joy to the world. The ministerial couple from
Faith Methodist in Spring Valley conducted the service. The two serve several outlying churches in their parish. The service was intended for anyone suffered a loss be it a job a job, their health, their faith and so on, but it was evident that most of the people there grieving the loss of a family member. That was me also. The church wasn’t packed perhaps about 30 people of whom I initially recognized only two. Two…. The Bible readings and poems were all appropriate to the theme of the service. But for me as, you might expect it, was the music which touched my heart and brought tears. A young woman played an instrument which I had never seen before. It sounded like a guitar but it was plastic, large and she he held it in her lap and tucked under her chin while she sang the voice of an angel. And then there was the pianist who played both the organ and an old clunky looking piano which was perfectly tuned to a deep throbbing sound. She played wonderfully and though she was on the opposite side of the church eyes were drawn to to her as she played. Again she wasn’t at all familiar. As the service came to its conclusion there was an invitation for all to join together to socialize with coffee and treats as Methodists are wont to do. The pianist kept on playing and I decided to approach her and thank her for the beautiful Christmas music. As I approached her she gave me a quick glance and a smile inviting me to sit down next to her on the adjacent chair. Shortly thereafter as she concluded there was a winsome smile and she said “thanks for coming Ray” and finally waking up and looking more closely I was able to reply”and thank you for playing so beautifully Luanne” a former student of mine who had graduated in 1974. After a few hugs we adjourned to socialize and catch up on decades of times past. It was a good start for the holidays.
Still this year for the first time in many years I will be spending much of the holiday season alone at home in Minnesota. It is a time of many wonderful family memories, particularly of our two sons Ted and Tony growing up.
It is also fraught with sadness as well, for during this special time of the year, our eldest son Ted departed this earth from the pernicious effects of bi-polar disease. This fall, as many of you know my dear wife Barb ended her ten year long struggle against dementia.
Our widowed daughter in law Deanne was a steadfast pillar of love and support in our son Teds life. And now as well. Standing with grace and courage in spite of the travails life has cast upon her, she brings hope and joy to all And so to all our friends out there in blog land: I wish you the joys of the season to each and every one. May there be peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind.....