Notes from Jan

Pearls at the Pearly Gates

April 23, 2018

Funerals often bring the usual and unlikely together.

Such was Saturday’s service remembering the “well-lived life” of Barbara Bush.

Today’s news unveiled a photo of  former President George H.W. Bush seated in front of three past Presidents with spouses and First Lady Melania Trump,  a coming together to honor  George’s “Bar”, also sometimes called, “the nation’s grandmother.”

Just a hunch, but more than Barbara would’ve been pleased.

Grace beats grudges.

Many who lined up to pay respects and some attending the funeral wore pearls to honor a woman known for her triple strand fake pearls.

She claimed, “I wear them to hide my wrinkles.”   Upon seeing a photo of herself remarked “Looks like I forgot to iron my face this morning.”

In a culture too smitten by image, she refreshed us with candor,  un-tinted hair,  disregard for truthiness.  She  honored marriage, family and faith, while serving the common good through a focus on literacy, reading to children and refusing to complain or treat those who served as “the help.”

When asked about all the different places they lived commented,”George may not be able to keep a job but he’s not boring.”

Humor tempers hubris.

To any who wish to leap over Barbara to politics, I suggest, “Linger and listen.”

The service instructed through great hymns and theology.

Opening hymn,  Praise to the Lord, reminded us to ponder anew what the Almighty can do, then sent us forth  with significant words from Joyful, Joyful: “Always giving and forgiving, Ever blessing, ever blessed…Teach us how to love each other…”

Tom Brokaw, knew the Bush family and the  contributions of The Greatest Generation, which George and Barbara exemplified in how they chose to live their lives.  As Brokaw reflected on the thousands who came or sent condolences, people from different social standings and political leanings, the former news anchor concluded, “American needed this reminder, these moments.   There’s a better way.  Its a call for Grace and humble service.”

Barbara’s granddaughters read from Proverbs 31, ” Her children stand and bless her.  Her husband praises her…Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.” (NLT)

Real Pearls.




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  • Reply Dale Lefever April 24, 2018 at 12:00 am

    Thanks Jan,

    A good summary and a wonderful reminder of how we are both saved and called to live by grace.

    Blessings, Dale

  • Reply Marty Lefever April 24, 2018 at 12:15 am

    So blessed by the memorial service AND your wonderful reflections…more real pearls! ❤️

  • Reply Dan April 24, 2018 at 12:52 am

    Takes a great First Lady to deeply appreciate the grace and character of another First Lady.

  • Reply wendy lane April 24, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    I didn’t get to watch the service, so thank you for this beautiful review!

  • Reply Valerie McCoy April 24, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    Such beauty and dignity at Mrs. Bush’s funeral celebration. My favorite testimony was her close friend reiterating “Barbara was the secret sauce that held family and friends together.” Such a simple comment that says so much about a woman’s character. I’m gonna add this right alongside the power of Proverbs.

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