Flew West for Ruth Nelson’s memorial service, family friend, especially close to my parents.
Never easy to understand why some people suffer so at the end of life, especially good folks.
Memorial services help, allowing remembering, appreciating, poignantly resurrecting a life through still and moving photographic images, music, words and other symbols.
Eldred, Ruth’s husband for almost 66 years, and family insisted I stay with them. Familiar place. When Mama and I travelled together, we enjoyed Nelson’s Norwegian hospitality many times.
After the service, some returned to Nelson’s home. Now, Ruth’s daughters, Starla and Victoria, welcomed and served. We spread throughout the house, spilled onto the porch, sharing stories, telling Ole and Lena jokes, practicing Scandinavian humor.
Every now and then, you’d hear Jesus. Some one talking about Jesus, who brought us together, even more than hospitality. The Nelsons preached and sang about Jesus.
That’s why we could still smile and laugh. This was not a day marking the end of Ruth. It was a reminder that because of Jesus, Ruth was alive, somewhere, somehow and someday, we’d see her again. Even though my heart hurt for Eldred. His loss, fresh. Mine, still so real.
The Nelsons, pastored and served in Assembly of God churches. I, awkward about arm raising, hand clapping, sensed God’s Joy as we sang at Ruth’s service, “When We All Get to Heaven, What a day of rejoicing that will be!”
When we sang, He Keeps Me Singing, words caught in my throat.
“Tho’ sometimes He leads thro’ waters deep, Trials fall across the way, Tho’ sometimes the path seems rough and steep, See His footprints all the way.”
“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, sweetest name I know, Fills my every longing, Keeps me singing as I go.”
Well, truth be told, I’m not always singing and I have longings that aren’t so spiritual but I fell asleep, picturing Ruth, my parents, Jud and many others singing along, cheering us on from heaven’s front porch.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus…
Keeps me singing.
Helps me sleep, even in Seattle.
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