Thank you so for the kind words left in comments, texts, and emails—so thoughtful.
You know, Jackie had worked for the company for thirty-five years—thirty-five years. Through those years, many had grown to love her like a sister. And I? Well, I knew she always had a smile; I knew she never grew grumpy or short-tempered, and she’d often smirk and shake her head when co-workers were up to shenanigans.
So considering my one year to the many of others, I determined to be stoic at the funeral. I’d be the mighty oak on which others could lean.
As you might imagine, it didn’t work out so well . . .
I cried as her brother shared memories . . . and how you’re never quite prepared to do such for your baby sister; I cried as I learned her niece died the same day as she . . . within an hour’s time; I cried as I heard how a friend setup Skype in the hospital room so her daughter could say a few words . . . and while her mama couldn’t respond, they knew she heard her daughter’s voice, for her heart rate went up.
At one point, in a valiant effort to corral the tears, I managed to knock an earring clear off my ear—flew right down the front of my dress. I’ll admit, in that brief moment, I wasn’t sad—a bit surprised, perhaps somewhat panicked, but not sad.
Then there was the closing hymn. God be with you till we meet again . . . so very lovely. But we didn’t sound like that. The poor organist played in a key much too high for the rest of us. We were able to manage God be with you till we meet again . . . then, nothing. God be with you till we meet again would circle back around and we’d sing with vigor–we owned that line . . . but that’s pretty much all we owned. And it struck me hilarious. I tried desperately not to show it. Just when I thought I’d be able to keep it to the occasional twittering, I had to breathe. That’s when it happened: I snort laughed . . . during a heartfelt hymn . . . at a funeral.
I don’t think Jackie would have minded. Sure, she probably would have been able to hold back the laughter, but I imagine she would have smiled as she shook her head at my tomfoolery.
In a way, I think it’s all part of God’s plan.
Sometimes the heart soars and sometimes it breaks; sometimes the sun shines and sometimes the rain pours . . . but even amid threatening skies, you can catch sight of a rainbow. It’s a flash of color, a glimpse, a moment . . . just enough to offer a smile, a reprieve–hope.
Speaking of which, Jackie’s daughter shared one of her favorite memories. She and her mom were running errands one day when a rainbow stretched across the sky. Her mom looked at her and said, “Let’s forget about errands. Let’s go find the end of the rainbow . . . ” So off they set. As the hues drained from the sky, they realized they had driven for almost an hour. They laughed and laughed, thinking how they could travel so far without realizing it, so intent on their errand.
Good reminder as we begin the month of showers: laugh all you can, cry if you must–and don’t forget, errands will always wait. Sometimes you’ve just got to go search for the end of that rainbow . . .