Monday, December 12, 2016

Sitting Between Strangers

#keepcalmWRITEon Day 10

Today was Connie's funeral.

Her service was very nice.  The pastor referenced Galatians 5:22 as one of the verses that he felt defined Connie and her life.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control."

This was so lovely to hear.  I smiled when I thought of how much I loved Connie and how awesome she was.  I sat thinking about the last 5 years, since I got to meet Connie and started working at the mental health center.

I sat between two strangers at the service.  Three people who came to the service on their own. We actually sat in the additional room, separate from the main chapel, and watched a live stream of the service on a giant television. It honestly felt no different than being in the main chapel. At one point when the tears hit me, I just bowed my head and buried my face into my scarf. The woman on my right gave me a tissue. The man on my left patted my arm.   
I recognized him from around town, and from the mental health center (I would say "from seeing him around the office"....but I don't work there anymore! I'm still processing that, especially these days when I think about my CKMHC cowokers..).

He was one of the adult clients Connie had worked with at some point. 

When the officiant asked for stories and memories of our beloved Connie, I felt him shuffle around.

I could tell he wanted to share a story, but we weren't in the main chapel, so I thought about how he and others may not get to share their hearts.

After the first person was done speaking, he stood up.

It dawned on me that he didn't realize that those in the main chapel, including the officiant, couldn't see him.  Only those of us in the same room with him knew he wanted to share.

He sat down when the second person started speaking.

This happened once more, but this time, I stood with him.  I leaned in and quietly asked him if he wanted to go to the main chapel and share, and he said yes, so, while the third person spoke, and our room full of people watched, I put my arm through his and we went over to the main chapel.  An usher was able to help him get next in line to speak, and he was able to share sweet words that brought tears to many.

I think it was important for him to get that opportunity to speak.  He got to share from the perspective of having been an individual who Connie had helped, in her work at the mental health center.

I was so glad I was sitting next to him.

"...patience, kindness, goodness..."

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