Six years ago today I bordered a Maritime Bus in Halifax and arrived at my destination in Sydney Cape Breton. A member of the church I served in the suburbs of Halifax called me in late December to share the sad news that her mother had died. The church her mother had given her life to was now merged and no one in leadership at the new merged church would know her. This leader in the church I was serving was very upset and seemed quite unsure how to move forward. I offered to go to Cape Breton, since I knew the family, and preside at the funeral. The offer was received with gratitude and then dismissed out of hand. It would be “too much”. I countered that there was little going on in the week leading up to New Year’s Day. We hung up with the assurance I would keep this woman and her family in my prayers.
The next day I received an email, “about that offer…” this church leader wanted to know if I was serious and indeed had the time. I countered that I never offered unless I was serious and prepared to follow through. Within an hour my phone rang and it was explained that this woman and her husband would be driving up to the island immediately, I would need to find a way to get there on my own. I explained that I loved the bus and would be eager to take the voyage. My offer was accepted.
When I got off the bus I was greeted by the church leader and her husband, also a church leader. They immediately drove me to the home of her brother who lived in New Waterford. I had never met this man or his partner. But we immediately hit it off, especially when I agreed to join him on his late evening walk with the dog. Wandering the streets of New Waterford late into the evening and carrying on a conversation was most interesting and enlightening as I was gathering information for the funeral.
Over the course of the next 36 hours I took a lot of mental and paper notes, all about the woman we would be celebrating at the local funeral home. I worked on a bulletin that I sent to the funeral director and from this creative and Spirit-filled enterprise something organic and life-giving began to emerge. What a gift it was to be present to this family and this sacred moment. I was blessed!
Life is truly filled with adventure. If we are open to the curve balls the Spirit throws us we can expect to participate in some holy experiences, with some holy people. After the funeral I drove home with the couple. An unexpected treat was sharing a coffee at a great café, the Wentworth Perk Coffee House (now closed sadly). The drive home was filled with great conversation and deeper connections. Again a great blessing. I remember the trip with fondness and gratitude. Thank you Jean and Charlie!