Friday, July 12, 2013

Joy at a memorial service

Years ago a colleague said to me, “I don’t do funerals,” when a designer we had worked closely with died. I was indignant, because sometimes you do funerals out of respect for the one who’s gone on and for family and friends. But in a lot of cases, I don’t do funerals either. Today I attended one because I really wanted to. It turned out to be the most uplifting and faith affirming memorial service that I think I’ve ever been to. Faith is a very personal thing, and I usually don’t write about it, but here I go.

The service was for Leah Flowers, a longtime major lay figure at University Christian Church and wife of a minister who taught for years in the Department of Religion at TCU. I saw his fine hand in the scripture readings—all affirming God’s love for us, all looking forward, never backward. The homily was given by Associate Minister Cyndy Twedell, and she had us thoughtful one minute, a bit teary-eyed another (the vision of Leah learning to break dance with a young son was touching) and laughing the next. It was a wonderful tribute to a woman who loved her husband, her family, and her church, and was always ready to welcome newcomers with a smile and a handshake or a hug.

Leah loved to sing in the choir and the choir sang today in her memory—“When I Survey That Wondrous Cross” and “How Lovely Are Thy Dwellings.” The first one had my friend Betty in tears—she had directed the choir as they sang that all across Europe and she was close to Leah.

I’m struck by the impact the service had on me. I came away uplifted, so grateful for my faith that sustains me, so grateful for the loving church community of which I am a part. What a blessing Leah was to the world, and what a gift the service was to me. Praise be to God.


Susan Swaim said...

Nice. I remember that name and I'm sure my mother knew them. It sounds like you experienced a very fine moment celebrating a very fine life.

Judy Alter said...

Susie, they may have kids your age you knew in school. Yes, your mom would know them. Leah worked in the psych dept. for years. I didn't say it but I sat behind a professor whose coat collar needed straightening, and it was all I could do to keep my hands off it. But I'd never met his wife and thought she'd think me forward.