Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Prayers and awareness

A catharsis.

I went to a dinner night at a local area church. A church that cares for homeless and needy and has a food bank and gives showers to the man on the street. I sat down to eat with people I had looked at and overlooked for years. The woman that talked as she walks. I mean, she walks, and walks, and walks. You see her walking all over the neighborhood, always moving. talking, cussing up a storm. She was quiet and seated tonight. I ate dinner with 8 people all in need. All in worse situations then myself. And all there with hope and sharing.

After dinner came prayers. There were sheets passed around with prayers written and all I could think of was Jim. Jim said prayers every night. I failed him in one way when we had his memorial service. He had written that he would like a small service at a church. We didn't find the will that told us this till a week afterwards. I wish I had known. We didn't belong to a particular faith but he had his faith. His faith in God was strong and he prayed each night for strength, for others in need and for family members.

Hearing Pastor Alice read the prayers broke me down. From the first words I thought of Jim and his faith and his love. I don't think I even heard the words but just thought of him. I could feel the tears rolling down my face as they prayed for the homeless man that had been murdered last week. He had been friends with several of the people here. He was that man with one leg that had the sign "homeless vet need food" and stood on the corner. Usually you drive by these guys and say 'unh hunh, I bet'. I learned that he was a homeless vet. Well, I also learned that some of these people knew Jim because he did stop. He did give them change. They knew Jim from the big red truck and the quarters he gave them.

I cried because there are others more in need then I am. Because these are people that are in my neighborhood and I have done nothing to help them. A bag of canned food, a crockpot full of meatballs or chili - ten dollars for me and a meal for 10 people in need.

Crying while others prayed. I found that I couldn't stay in the room. It was a room full of strangers. I had broken bread with them but didn't know any of them. I stepped outside and let it all out. And suddenly I was not alone. A lady named Joan came out and sat down next to me, rubbing my back and asking if I was okay. I told I missed Jim. She told me she missed her husband, gone 4 years now. We talked about the loneliness and the unfinished feeling. The 'wait, I'm not done with him yet'. I told her of Jim's prayers and she told me how though she prayed, she also yelled at God for the the load he gave her to carry. We both agreed, as tough as it is, we are not given a load that we can't handle and what it then becomes is a strength to continue.

I walked home thinking of how a little bit can go a long way.

And I wish. Well, I wish that 17 years didn't seem like such a little bit of time with Jim. To me, it is. A little bit and not enough. I am hungry for more, but now find that I must make what I had been given go a long way. Others have less.


Anonymous said...

I know we only met at the dal picnic this past summer, but I always liked hearing the news about Tigger and how she was rescued and also, Merc.... I've been reading your blog about Jim almost everyday and I know how much love you shared. This most recent blog made me realize that sometimes it really isn't too late to follow our loved ones wishes. Jim wanted a small church service. I can't help with that, but I am having a mass said for Jim on November 30, 2007 at St. Gertrude church (West Conshohocken, PA...) where I work. God bless you on your journey and know that Jim is watching over you.

Chery (fightin049 - dalpals)

CarolChretien said...

Betsy, about every three days I seem to catch up here...I feel your pain but I also feel how you are taking a step at a time...healing. Maybe it feels like marching in place or backwards but as Ihave learned with lost loved ones very dear to me you can't do anything but live the experience of grief as YOU will. you are doing your best and time softens the knife edge a bit. Never forgotten just not as sharp a pain.
sending hugs

gd said...

You haven't failed Jim for not doing what you weren't aware of at the time. You can have a small church service anytime for him. Make a promise to do it one day and regain peace on this thought.